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Another Bushie Denounces Partisanship

Former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino calls Barack Obama  "The Partisan President":

In an interview Sunday, President Obama said the following, as reported by the New York Times:

Mr. Obama had few words of comfort for those who may have taken a political risk by voting for the House climate change bill, and no threats for the 44 House Democrats who defied their leadership to oppose it.

“I think those 44 Democrats are sensitive to the immediate political climate of uncertainty around this issue,” Mr. Obama said. “They’ve got to run every two years, and I completely understand that.” Many of them represent districts that rely heavily on coal for power generation or that are home to industries vulnerable to international competition. Mr. Obama said the House bill contained transitional assistance for these regions.

But he expressed scorn for the Republicans who fought the bill. He noted that some of them were predicting political doom for those who voted for it, recalling the 1993 battle over an energy tax that failed and helped Republicans gain control of the House a year later.

Those Republicans, he said, “are 16 years behind the times,” comparing their position to that of their party’s leaders in the energy and health care debates of the early Clinton years.

“They’re not fighting the last war,” he said. “They’re fighting three wars ago.”

Help me get this straight: If you're a Democrat and voted against the bill, you're a smart politician and to be forgiven. If you're a Republican and voted against the bill, you're a Neanderthal and to be ridiculed.

This strikes me as unfair. Will the reporters covering the comments notice?

Republicans are treating a bill that takes the first steps to alleviate the effects of a global emergency as a political opportunity to attack any members of Congress who vote to impose even meager sacrifice. In response to this demagoguery, some Democrats are self-protectively distancing themselves from the effort (though many no doubt would have voted yes if their vote was decisive.) Can Perino really not understand the difference between these two kinds of behavior? Suppose all the Republicans decided to support the House bill (which, incidentally, would have made the concessions to energy interests unnecessary). Would 44 Democrats have voted against it then? Obviously not.

--Jonathan Chait