This quote from Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell about why Democrats and Republicans should seek a “grand bargain” is one of the most honest and revealing statements about the problem with our political system. Via David Weigel:
This was the year after the bipartisan agreement between Reagan and O’Neill raised the retirement age for Social Security. I do not exaggerate when I say I was not asked about it a single solitary time. Not once in the course of a whole race. And the reason was that they did it together. When you do something together, the result is that it’s not usable in the election. I think there’s an understanding that if there’s a grand bargain, none of it will be usable in next year’s election.
Here you have McConnell openly admitting the reason there is a bipartisan fetish among the elites in Washington is that it totally destroys democratic accountability.
McConnell wants a bipartisan “grand bargain” because that allows politicians to take unpopular actions that are in direct opposition to the will of the electorate. Since the two parties have rigged the system to stop other parties from being viable, as long as Democrats and Republicans do these terrible things together, they will pay no political price.
It is no wonder so many Americans are cynical about politics. You have our political leaders openly admit the reason the two parties should work together is so they can get away with conspiring against the will of the people, and most of the pundits clap loudly, calling this strategy for undermining the principles of democracy “courageous.”