Sorry to be cynical, but right now “bipartisan” is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans — all of them with close ties to the wealthy, and many who are wealthy themselves — and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution.
This would be a corrupt, undemocratic way to make decisions about the shape of our society even if those involved really were wise men with a deep grasp of the issues. It’s much worse when many of those at the table are the sort of people who solicit and believe the kind of policy analyses that the Heritage Foundation supplies.
So let’s not be civil. Instead, let’s have a frank discussion of our differences. In particular, if Democrats believe that Republicans are talking cruel nonsense, they should say so — and take their case to the voters.
Notice that the first thing the Republicans got upset about over President Obama’s spirited speech last week wasn’t the numbers or the plan to raise taxes on the rich; it was how Mr. Obama was so rude to lay out his plan in the presence of the man who came up with the plan. “How can we deal with such a bully?” the GOP whined.
Of course, this was from the crowd that raised bullying to a high art, especially when they go after the ones in our society such as the poor and the elderly. But as soon as they’re called out on it, they’re the victims, and the only way they can defend the Ryan plan is by complaining about people being mean to them.