The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should test the air in the Beltway. There has to be trace amounts of a toxin that snuffs out the idealistic fire many newcomers bring to its environs. This would explain the presence of a dysfunctional center, that sodden lump that drags down the middle of the political spectrum until it reaches a state of paralytic equilibrium.
The center is a middling swamp, born of a middle class on steroids, where creative thinking becomes mired in the quicksand of habit. (Habit differs from tradition in that tradition evolves; habit doesn’t.)
Obama started inhaling this toxin the moment he was sworn in. Right away, he started exhaling the fetid breath of bipartisanship. He’s making the same mistake Clinton made: believing that if he plays nice with the Republicans, they’ll play nice with him. It’s kind of like playing nice with a serial killer in the hope he’ll spare your life. The killer, like the Republicans, can help being what he is. Any attempt to play to the center ends up drifting to the right, because the right has the loudest mouth.
The Congressional center plods because it is an exclusive club where old men slumber in overstuffed leather chairs while the country self-destructs. The only requirement for membership is that you be a loyal corporate employee.
Bipartisanship is the stake that is driven through the heard of democracy. The Nazi Reichstag was a study in pure bipartisanship.
As school children we learned that good citizenship meant "getting along with others," which requires us to smile politely and nod in approval. Good citizens don't rock the boat, and they are never, never "uncooperative".
I’m glad to see that Obama is keeping this tradition alive.