My dad was a cool guy in an old fashioned sort of way.  A moderate Republican (do they even exist anymore?), he often commented on political matters of the day with some cute little phrase. One of his favorites was, “Why that’s enough to make a preacher cuss.”  I always got a chuckle out of it because I knew my pastors would never cuss, no sir, not those guys.

Ironically, I grew up to be a preacher which has altered my view of what preachers will and won’t do.  To be perfectly honest, we’re as human as the next guy with all of the faults and hiccups to boot.  But my dad, much more astute than I can ever hope to be, probably wouldn’t have been surprised at the expletive floating around in my brain as I read Sunday’s Lincoln Journal Star article about Senator Mike Johanns’ comments on “bipartisanship.”

His claim is that gains by the Republican Party in the mid-term elections would lead to more bipartisanship.  C’mon really?  Does he really believe that or is it just another Republican ploy to manipulate the electorate?  Whatever it is, it’s enough to make a preacher cuss.

Webster’s Online defines “bipartisan” as:  “of, relating to, or involving members of two parties; specifically:  marked by or involving cooperation, agreement, and compromise between two major political parties.”)

Let’s look at the good Senator’s record of cooperation, agreement, and compromise on proposals by the President so far (the conversations below are a mix of actual and fictional conversations — they do, however, in my opinion accurately reflect the positions posited by Senator Johanns):

  1. Health Care Reform:  “No, no, no, no…” Constituent: “Senator, your principles for Health Care Reform are quite similar to the House Bill since the addition of the Stupak Amendment, why aren’t you joining Republicans like Senator Collins in trying to work out a compromise?”  Senator Johanns:  “The Democratic leadership won’t let us.”  Constituent:  “But Senator Collins is –” Senator Johanns:  “I told you it’s the Democratic leadership’s fault.  Now take the microphone away from that guy.”
  2. Wall Street Reform:  “No, no, no, no… Control of the derivatives market will hurt Nebraska Farmers.”  Nebraska Farmers Union: “Legitimate end-users of commodities like farmers, ranchers, and business owners who actually use commodities are exempt… the Financial Reform Legislation imposes common sense aggregate position limits on traders in order to limit their ability to distort and manipulate markets… the reforms eliminate a majority of the loopholes that have allowed Over the Counter… In other words, Senator, this is good for Nebraska farmers.”  Senator Johanns: “Excuse me, I know what’s best for Nebraska farmers.  After all I was Secretary of Agriculture under George W. Bush.  Besides it will raise taxes on multinational corporations like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp so the answer is no, no, no, no.
  3. Saving Teachers’ Jobs:  “No, no, no, no… we can’t continue unfunded mandates… (staff whispers in his ear) oh, I mean this makes states dependent on the Federal Government.  States have to make tough choices.  If students and teachers have to suffer, tough.”  

Since President Obama’s election, it seems the sole priority of the Republican Party has been to defeat the President’s agenda.  We’ve heard Rush Limbaugh declare:  “I hope Obama fails.”  We’ve seen the memo:  “let’s make people afraid, then those poor saps will vote for us.”  We’ve heard the lies, “Obama was not born in America; Obama is a Muslim; Obama is a socialist; Obama cancelled the National Day of Prayer.” Unfortunately, Senator Johanns appears to be more committed to the Republican Party and its unethical tactics than he is to the well-being of Nebraskans.

So Senator, your laughable diatribe about yearning for bipartisanship when you’ve done nothing but run from it for two years is… well… it’s enough to make a preacher cuss.