To Democrats, being 'bipartisan' means Republicans caving in to their demands.
So in a sense, Barack Obama can be forgiven for claiming he will 'bring people together' in some sort of post-partisan paradise - after all, he does not really understand what 'bipartisan' is supposed to mean in an objective, non-Dem fashion. Nor does bipartisan mean merely joining in sponsoring or voting for legislation along with Republicans. All senators do this. No bill can pass without help from both parties.
There is scant evidence that Obama really understands what significant bipartisan-ism is, as Joe Lieberman (who knows a thing or two about this) explains:
"If there's one public official who has consistently put his country ahead of his party, working across party lines to get things done in Washington, it is John McCain," Lieberman said in an interview with ABC News. "It's not Barack Obama, with all respect."
Lieberman scoffed at the formation today of Republicans for Obama by former Iowa Rep. Jim Leach and former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee, saying it was McCain who had spent a career working with people on both sides -- often at some cost within his own party.
"Sen. Obama has no record that I can see of taking on positions that are held by a lot of people within his own party," Lieberman said. "John McCain does that all the time. It's part of the reason it took some while for a lot of Republicans to come to his side. Sen. McCain has worked across party lines on the big issues of our time because he knows, he has no patience for partisan politics and all those games."
Now we can argue whether McCain's bipartisanship is a good thing, or a bad thing. Personally, McCain seems to be all too eager to woo the press and win political plaudits by caving to and even sponsoring Democrats' pet issues. It makes one wonder what his core values even are.
But to those in the mushy middle who think bipartisanship is the be all and end all of political aspirations, McCain can claim something Obama cannot: he actually is bipartisan.
For better or worse, that is what the record shows.