Our View: Dems Still Unclear on Meaning of Bipartisanship

January 23, 2014
'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.'

‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.’

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, we don’t think bipartisanship means what Colorado Democrats think it means.

For example, we’re reasonably confident that bipartisanship doesn’t mean defeating a school-choice bill, as Senate Democrats did Wednesday, then flinging mud at the Republicans who dared support it.

And anyone who cherishes political harmony as much as Democrats say they do probably wouldn’t issue the following press release: “The contrast is clear:  Democratic Senators for K-12 education; Republican Senators for slashing the budgets of public schools.”

To set the record straight, Republican senators aren’t for “slashing the budgets of public schools.” On the contrary, the bill in question, SB 14-033, which offered tax credits for families who choose home school or private school, would have saved the state millions.

As state Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) explained, it costs about $10,000 per year to educate a child in public schools. Providing financial incentives to parents to send their children to private schools or teach them at home would reduce the burden on the cash-strapped public education system.

Lundberg, the bill’s sponsor, cited estimates showing that the measure could save the state more than $500 million by Fiscal Year 2027. That’s something that should have appealed to Democrats, given their support for Amendment 66, the $1 billion tax hike for K-12 education that went down in flames in November.

Of course, everyone knew SB 14-033 had no shot even before Wednesday’s hearing, given that (1) the Colorado Education Association, the state’s biggest teachers’ union, opposed it, and (2) the Democratic leadership assigned the bill to the notorious Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, also known as the “kill committee.”

“I find it curious that I’m speaking to State, Veterans and Military Affairs on this subject,” said an annoyed Lundberg at the hearing.

He asked the committee to send the bill to the Senate Education Committee, a perfectly reasonable suggestion that had zero chance of happening under the current Democratic regime.

Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) enjoys calling for “bipartisanship,” but she’s already stoked a floor protest from Senate Republicans for sending stacks of GOP-sponsored bills to die in the committee of no return.

Carroll seems to think that when Republicans join Democrats in voting for uncontroversial bills on issues like flood recovery and bridge repair, it shows that Democrats are working across the aisle in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.

On the other hand, when Democrats scuttle Republican bills by defeating them on party-line votes or tossing them to the kill committee, it shows that Republicans are somehow being unreasonable.

That’s not bipartisanship. That’s partisanship. But Carroll and her fellow Democrats don’t seem to know the difference.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

5 Responses to Our View: Dems Still Unclear on Meaning of Bipartisanship

  1. Dr Nick R.
    January 24, 2014 at 6:29 am

    I wish Republicans had governed like Gimmedats when they were in power. This country would be a lot better off.

    The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights was a compromise of our Liberty. Forces of Liberty have been compromising ever since. We now resemble the East German Republic, except we have open borders and more debt.

  2. Brian McFarlane
    January 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Dems/progs will continue to say what things they think are popular in public and while in truth/privately have no intentions to actually do it. They will also accuse the other side of doing exactly what they are doing… if they haven’t yet, they will accuse Republicans of being partisan because they oppose some bill the dems like.

    Maybe they think bi-partisan has something to do with bringing up bills that have to do with people’s sexual orientation?

  3. D.C.J.
    January 26, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    The DemoCrips always twist the truth into lies that they love to hear with their own ears. They have the newspaper(s), and stations bullied into the pulpit of piety.

  4. February 28, 2014 at 7:43 am

    As a Democrat, the new Senate leadership is a huge disappointment for me.

    I expected significant improvements in the attitude and tactics of the majority that my party benefits from. I know how bipartisanship as well as non-partisanship works. I have participated full as a partisan grassroots Democrat. I’ve easily communicated with members of both parties as an unpaid citizen lobbyist for years. And I have watched the Democrats under Senate President John Morse last year wield power in ways that made attempts at debate pointless.

    Since the recalls, I’ve seen President Morgan Carroll operating the Senate in the same manner. I am shocked because I expected something different from her. Partisanship should be a way to achieve structure in a debate that leads to constructive policy. It is misused when it enables repeated power plays that yield poorly designed public policy.

    The State Veterans and Military Affairs Committees in both House and Senate are glaring venues for poor process. These are the “kill committees.” The nine hours of apples vs. oranges non-debate on the Senate floor on House Bill 1164 was an example of procedural failure that lead to mindless party line votes and barely allowed any improvement. HB 1164 was crudely crafted for the convenience of special districts but all Republicans and not a single Democrat woke up to its weaknesses.

    HB 1164 is a smoking gun for this misuse of partisan majority power and shocking when such a bill makes dramatic changes to major portions of election code under the pretense of remaining the same. Future citizen activists will be assured that these codes are heavily scrutinized and vetted and debated before passage. There will be no record of how much of this process is a farce- theater to create a semblance of credibility.

    Now is the time for citizens to help Republicans learn what needs to change to make the process more sensible and fair and less purely political- and we must ask them to promise to make systematic reforms that favor more open debate and real citizen involvement at the legislature when they take power. We Democrats have failed to do this even with some of our best people in leadership.

    Only the citizens can make this happen but it will take more than votes in the next election. It is time to head to the Capitol now to tell our legislators what we think.

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