Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What's The Opposite of "Partisan"?

One of Paul Ryan's constituents, a local Rabbi, asked him if he'd support a resolution censuring President Trump for his grotesque "both sides" response to White supremacist violence in Charlottesville. Ryan declined, saying that the resolution would be "partisan".

Obviously that's a tremendously cowardly response, and if that was all to say on the matter it might not be worth remarking on. Paul Ryan is nothing if not a political coward.

No, what's more striking about it is that it's obvious nonsense. Allow me to break it down simply:

Democrats introduced a resolution censuring Donald Trump. If Paul Ryan, a Republican, supported that resolution, it wouldn't be "partisan". It'd be bipartisan. That's the opposite of partisan!

What Ryan means, I suspect, is that Democrats would benefit more politically than Republicans would from passing this resolution, even if it had supporters on both sides of the aisle. And that may well be true. But let's be clear: that's the partisan reasoning here. Sometimes doing the right thing in politics means doing when it's hard, or when it's uncomfortable, or when it helps the other side more than it helps you. If you're not willing to issue a clear denunciation of white supremacy and its apologists because you're worried about the electoral fallout, you're a coward, but you're an obvious partisan coward as well.

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