I’m the Operator With the Pocket Calculator
RedState.com uses scare quotes to refer to the “bipartisanship” that would result if merely two Republicans vote for the stimulus package. True: if only two of the Senate’s 40 voting Republicans support the stimulus (Sen. Judd Gregg, who Obama has nominated for commerce secretary, is recusing himself), it would mean only five percent of the party broke for the Democrats. But all week, Republicans have referred to the 11 Democratic votes against the House’s stimulus bill as proof of “bipartisan opposition.” Those Democrats made up only 4.3 percent of their party in the lower chamber.
The point isn’t just that Republicans are playing silly word games, but that “bipartisanship” is going to be harder and harder to come by in the most ideologically divided Congress since, perhaps, the early 1800s. There are not really any moderate Republicans left in the House, and perhaps two left in the Senate; there are few Democrats in either chamber as conservative as the most right-leaning members of the party in 1994, the last time the party held Congress and the White House.