Raw Story: President Joe Biden needs to stop seeking bipartisanship with Republicans as the GOP abandons democracy, historian Thomas Zimmer wrote in The Guardian on Tuesday.
Zimmer noted Biden referred to GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a “man of honor” during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.
“Biden’s publicly professed affinity is weirdly at odds with the political situation. Going back to the Obama era, McConnell has led the Republican Party in a strategy of near-total obstruction which he has pursued with ruthless cynicism,” he wrote.
“The distinct asymmetry in the way the two sides treat each other extends well beyond Biden and McConnell. Republicans immediately derided Biden’s pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court – while Democratic leaders are hoping for bipartisan support; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists the nation needs a strong Republican party – meanwhile radicals like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, who fantasize about committing acts of violence against Democrats, are embraced by fellow Republicans, proving they are not just an extremist fringe that has ‘hijacked’ the Party, as Pelosi suggested.”
Zimmer worried about the response to GOP anti-majoritarian rule by establishment Democrats.
“Republicans could not be clearer about the fact that they consider Democratic governance fundamentally illegitimate, yet some establishment Democrats act as if politics, as usual, is still an option and a return to ‘normalcy’ imminent,” he wrote.
He noted Biden recently said, “I actually like Mitch McConnell.”
Zimmer wrote the statement provided a window into how Biden sees Republicans.
From the Guardian:
The constant attempts to normalize a radicalizing Republican Party also have a lot to do with two foundational myths that shape the collective imaginary: the myth of American exceptionalism and the myth of white innocence. We may be decades removed from the heyday of the so-called “liberal consensus” of the postwar era, but much of the country’s Democratic elite still subscribe to an exceptionalist understanding that America is fundamentally good and the US inexorably on its way to overcoming whatever vestigial problems there might still be. This often goes hand in hand with a mythical tale of America’s past, describing democracy as being exceptionally stable. Never mind that genuine multiracial democracy has actually existed for less than 60 years in this country. What could possibly threaten America’s supposedly “old, consolidated” democracy? Acknowledging what the Republican party has become goes against the pillars of that worldview.
Finally, the American political discourse is still significantly shaped by the paradigm of white innocence. Economic anxiety, anti-elite backlash, or just liberals being mean – whatever animates white people’s extremism, it must not be racism, and they cannot be blamed for their actions. The dogma of white innocence leads to elite opinion instinctively sanitizing the reasons behind the rise of rightwing demagogues, a common tendency in the commentary surrounding the success of George Wallace in the late 1960s, David Duke in the early 1990s, or Donald Trump in 2016. The idea of white innocence also clouds Democratic elites’ perspective on Republican elites: Since they cannot possibly be animated by reactionary white nationalism, they must be motivated by more benign forces, fear of the Trumpian base perhaps, or maybe they are being seduced by the dangerous demagogue.