Why is there a lack of bipartisanship? One reason: The Republicans stank in the voters' nostrils after eight years of their inattention to their their common-sense base, with George Bush as their increasingly charmless poster boy. That base was and is not conservative across the board, but it was certainly concerned over deficits, the expansion of government, and corruption in the financial markets -- none of which the Republicans showed much concern about. That Republican base was also alarmed over the primitive communications skills of its leader, and his apparent bafflement over justification for the Iraq war and how to run it. Republicans then chose a weak, old and old-seeming, fake-maverick, Washington-based presidential candidate who in turn chose a lightly-vetted punch line as a running mate. Those two could not make a principled case for more of the same, there being no discernable consistent Republican princples upon which a persuasive case might have been made. Bullet-proof Democratic majorities in both houses were almost inevitable, as was the election of a pretty appealing guy no one really even cared to know too much about, voters and pundits having decided that whatever he was offering had to be better than the shock-and-aw-shucks attitude we saw out of the White House -- and the go-along/get-along Republican leadership.
And by the way: Who expects "bipartisanship" if real honest-to-god principles of American democracy and the nature of "rights" are at issue? Don't give me "bipartisanship" that results in agreement on bad law. If this is truly the polity-destroying development you claim it is, Republicans, and not some run-of-the-mill social tinkering where compromise is desirable and expected, then dammit, don't bleat about "bipartisanship" -- show some fight. Produce some oratory. Lead those rallies, don't wait for the Tea Party people to grab this issue.
No transparency? Yeah, yeah, I know, Obama promised it and it was a fib, and that's not a good thing, but no one much cares about it. "Transparency" is one of those issues, like whether Supreme Court nominees should be vetted for ideology or only for minimal judicial competence, upon which the parties routinely, and accurately, accuse one another of hypocrisy. Lack of transparency is not a persuasive criticism of the health-care bill.
If the Republicans are going to make a comeback, attacking a process they will certainly embrace if and when their day ever returns is simply inept. Any attack on the health-care bill (and immigration reform, and any other hard-left Administration initiatives, of which we can expect to see even more now that this battle is lost), must be based on the merits, for example:
whether universal health insurance and health care is a "right";
the magnitude of the embedded tax incresaes on earners Obama promised would not see one;
whether the deficit-reduction math works in the current bill;
whether health-care rationing and government interference in health-care decisionmaking is inevitable;
and many more. Do the Republicans have anyone who can do that? Apparently not -- we heard some scattered voices in princpled opposition, but they never came together. Where was Mitt Romney? Fearful of peaking too early? Compromised by the health-care program he championed in Massachusetts when he was governor which is rapidly failing? Did Tim Pawlenty grab you? Has Bobby Jindal hired a necktie consultant?
Love health-care reform or hate it, you may identify among its founders a compromised and sparsely-talented Republican Party.