Crosscut columnist and onetime LBJ aide Ted van Dyk (has van Dyk ever mentioned that he once worked for President Johnson?) has a column in the Wall Street Journal in which he pretty much blames President Obama and his fellow Democrats—exclusively—for partisan gridlock in the other Washington:
Mr. Obama was elected in 2008 on the basis of his persona and his pledge to end political and ideological polarization. His apparent everyone-in-it-together idealism was exactly what the country wanted and needed. On taking office, however, the president adopted a my-way-or-the-highway style of governance. He pursued his stimulus and health-care proposals on a congressional-Democrats-only basis. He rejected proposals of his own bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, which would have provided long-term deficit reduction and stabilized rapidly growing entitlement programs. He opted instead to demonize Republicans for their supposed hostility to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Yeah, whatever. That's pretty much van Dyk's shtick: Trading off his half-century-old stint in the Johnson White House (van Dyk's model of a "modern Democratic president") to justify his past quarter century of bashing Democrats via his well worn "I don't recognize my party" meme. We've heard it all before, for example when van Dyk endorsed Republican Bob Dole (in the Wall Street Journal, of course) against President Bill Clinton in 1996, or when he endorsed Republican Susan Hutchison for King County Executive in 2009, deriding Democrat Dow Constantine for his "low-politics tactics."
Republicans love it. Hence van Dyk's access to the WSJ's op-ed page. But as long as van Dyk is trading off his Johnson-era White House credentials as the basis for his current claimed status as a wise old defender of Democratic Party values, it's only fair to remember what van Dyk did immediately following Richard Nixon's ascension to the White House. Van Dyk went to work as a milk industry lobbyist, where he allegedly became embroiled in the Watergate scandal through a scheme to deliver suitcases full of $100 bills to Nixon:
That's bipartisan cooperation, Ted van Dyk style.
According to Watergate hearing transcripts (yes, van Dyk’s name comes up surprisingly often in the Watergate hearing transcripts), the total amount of money ultimately funneled to the Nixon administration through this milk industry scheme was closer to $900,000, not the $100,000 originally reported in the New York Times article above. And the Articles of Impeachment allege that at least some of this milk money was delivered "expressly for the purpose of paying the costs of [a] 'plumbers' burglary." I suppose that's the sort of principled bipartisanship van Dyk urges President Obama to embrace.
But then, what do I know? I've never earned the bipartisan credibility that can only come from delivering a suitcase full of money to the opposing party. So I fully understand if the serious people choose to take me less seriously than Ted van Dyk.