Romney is to bipartisanship as herpes is to good sex: It happened at least once, but with 20/20 hindsight all the gory details didn’t turn out so well.
Romney has some sort of polling number or finger in the wind finding that he will get more votes by promising a bipartisan approach to the issues if he is elected president, so that has become standard fare in his campaign. As “proof” of his willingness to reach across the aisle he points to his actions as governor of Massachusetts. Per Romney’s track record of late, his “proof” is substantially lacking when held up to scrutiny
Romney is fond of saying that he had to work with a legislature that was 85% Democratic. Or as Romney says: with an 85% “Democrat” legislature. The use of the word “Democrat” in place of the proper “Democratic” is the first give away as to Romney’s bipartisan approach. That is tried and true wordplay which invariably signals that the speaker is trying their best to needle members of the Democratic party and really has no interest in being anything other than a partisan Republican ying yang as far as the other side is concerned
To be sure, there is one sterling example of bipartisan outreach Governor Romney can accept credit for: The health care reform he passed was wildly popular with Democrats. In fact Ted Kennedy was effusive in his praise of Romney over this particular law and it passed with overwhelming support from the Democratic legislature.
However that one example of bipartisanship sticks out like a blister on the naughty parts of a herpes sufferer. The rest of Romney’s term was a singular example of partisan warfare with Romney and the legislature in a constant state of conflict. Which conflict should be noted was usually resolved in the legislatures favor after over riding Romney’s veto over 800 times, many times unanimously. Having every Republican vote with every Democrat to over ride Romney’s veto is the definition of bipartisanship, but not in a way that favors Romney.
In fact, back in the halcyon days of yore, lo many many years ago, all the way back in the mists of ancient recorded time (2008 to be exact) Romney bragged about his proficiency with the veto pen in a campaign ad: ”I like vetoes; I vetoed hundreds of spending appropriations as governor”.
I suppose in a way Romney was bipartisan, because he was a jerk to both Republicans and Democrats as governor. He had an office at the state house but forbade members of Congress from using the bank of elevators outside his office. Members of the Republican caucus complained about Romney not knowing their names.
Quite simply Romney was a creature of the executive board culture and he had a hard time dealing with the little people elected by the unwashed masses to represent them in Boston. As one Republican congressman put it: ”It took him a little bit to get used to dealing with elected officials, let’s put it that way”. When Romney’s effort to elect more Republicans in the mid term elections failed he told the Boston Globe ”From now on, it’s me-me-me.” Actually from then on for Romney it was lose lose lose as veto after veto was over ridden by the state house he was at war with.
Romney left office 2 years later with an approval rating hovering in the mid-30′s. He will lose the popular vote in the state of Massachusetts to President Obama by a double digit margin.
I guess we have to admit that Romney was good for bipartisanship in Massachusetts. Democrats and Republicans think he was a horrible governor, with the notable exception of health care reform which he promises to undo for the entire nation.