The Media

The Bipartisanship Pledge that Never Existed

Scarborough this morning was hitting the president again for going back on his so-called "bipartisanship" pledge.

Of course President Obama never pledged any such thing. He called for a change in the tone of the Washington discourse -- to "disagree without being disagreeable." Naturally, though, the Republicans and the establishment media have twisted that into some sort of pledge for legislative compromise, and anything short of centrist legislation is considered by these factions as a violation of a nonexistent campaign pledge.

Nate Silver:

...bipartisanship, as Obama intended the term, should not necessarily be confused for "compromise". Rather, it implied behaving in good-faith -- hearing out opinions from different sides of the aisle and identifying the best ideas regardless of their partisan origin. Bipartisanship, to Obama, was a process rather than an outcome. He could plausibly have been acting in a bipartisan manner, even if he hadn't gotten many Republicans to go along with his agenda.

By way of a reminder, back in February when this false standard first came up, I searched some of the president's biggest speeches and discovered that the words "bipartisan" and "bipartisanship" don't appear in any of them.