One of the most deceitful myths in Washington is that the two parties agree on almost nothing. The opposite is true.
One of the most glaring myths propagated by Washington — especially the two parties’ media loyalists — is that bipartisanship is basically impossible, that the two parties agree on so little, that they are constantly at each other’s throats over everything. As is so often the case for Washington partisan propaganda, the reality is exactly the opposite: from trade deals to Wall Street bailouts to a massive National Security and Penal State, the two parties are in full agreement on the bulk of the most significant D.C. policies (which is why the leading candidates of the two parties (from America’s two ruling royal families) will have the same funding base). But because policies that command the agreement of the two parties’ establishments are largely ignored by the D.C. press in favor of the issues where they have some disagreements, the illusion is created that they agree on nothing.
To illustrate how true this all is, consider the comments today of leading GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush. He appeared on Michael Medved’s conservative talk radio program, and was asked by the host what his favorite part of the Obama administration has been. His answer? As McClatchy’s Lesley Clark noted on Twitter, Bush hailed “Obama’s enhancement of NSA.” The audio was first posted by Ian Hanchett and is embedded below; here is the full transcript of the exchange:
Medved: If you were to look back at the last seven years, almost, what has been the best part of the Obama administration?
Jeb Bush: I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced. Advancing this — even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation, I think of our national government is to keep us safe. And the technologies that now can be applied to make that so, while protecting civil liberties are there. And he’s not abandoned them, even though there was some indication that he might.
It’s hardly unusual for even the most extremist right-wing Republicans to praise Obama’s foreign policy. GOP Congressman Peter King has repeatedly done just that, hailing Obama’s use of drones, assassination of a U.S. citizen with no due process, his upholding of indefinite detention powers, and the truncating of Miranda rights in terrorism cases. Just this week, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham — who has advocated bombing almost more Muslim countries in the last decade than he has fingers — said that he prefers Obama’s foreign policy over Rand Paul’s. A bipartisan coalition of Congressional outsiders tried in late 2013 to defund the NSA domestic spying program and almost succeeded, but the union of the parties’ establishments — the Obama White House, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi — whipped just enough votes to protect the program.
The cause of NSA mass surveillance has been particularly embraced by many Democrats because it was Obama doing it (as I’ve said before, if Edward Snowden had leaked this information when a Republican was in the Oval Office, there would be a massive statue erected of him outside of the MSNBC studios, where he is now often vilified). And now, Jeb Bush (in contrast to Rand Paul, who vowed to end NSA spying “on Day One”) has declared himself fully in support of that cause, hailing Obama for expanding these capabilities.
Photo: Bush: Scott Olson/Getty; Obama: Win McNamee/Getty