Ben Smith points to the first real bipartisanship we’ve seen for quite some time:
Bipartisanship is a rare thing in Washington, but the Senate just 96-0 to pass a bill to "Audit the Fed," a version of legislation championed by Ron Paul for decades and supported by Michelle Bachmann and other Republicans, but also backed this time by Democrats led by Rep. Alan Grayson and Senator Bernie Sanders.
The latest push started in last year, with a push from labor leaders Andy Stern and Rich Trumka and a coalition of groups on left and right organized by liberal blogger Jane Hamsher and Michael Ostrolenk of the Liberty Coalition. Its members ranged from progressive fixtures like Robert Borosage and Dean Baker to old-line conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Grover Norquist.
Hamsher’s view just now on why the legislation passed: "It didn’t leave any room for someone to play the Joe Lieberman role. Nobody could say they were being ‘principled’ in opposition and take refuge in partisan politics — it was clear that they would just be covering for the banks."
So, let me just say that I think Mark was right – or at least so far he’s been right – about the possibility of a populist left/tea party alliance. Then again, I think my critique of Mark’s thesis is still valid. I wrote that I could see how such an alliance
could seem appealing as a movement against something (the no-good politicians in Congress and their corporate special-interest shenanigans). But I can’t see how it could be a movement for anything. Progressives want more government, and tea-partiers want less. On a very fundamental level they can’t make those two goal work together. They will only ever be together in what they are against, and even then it’s more of a vague, boogey-man sort of villain. It’s the process, really, that both these groups despise. But their real long-term goals are so far apart that no coalition of any import will ever form between them.
Still, I think this is a good project. I think think Mark is certainly correct that the future of libertarianism lies with the left not the right, and that liberal-tarianism is not a pipe dream. Civil liberties, free markets, and strong safety nets – all coupled with a non-interventionist foreign policy. If progressives can get a little closer to the libertarians on the economics, and libertarians can work toward more reasonable safety net solutions and a better stance on the environment, I can imagine plenty of common ground being staked out. Of course, these are not minor areas of contention, so the path forward is quite likely very steep.