REPUBLICANS DEFINE ‘BIPARTISANSHIP’…. Congressional Republicans, with their smallest House caucus in nearly two decades, and their smallest Senate caucus in nearly three decades, are outraged that they aren’t able to shape the economic stimulus bill to their liking. GOP leaders are accusing Democrats of acting like they won sweeping election victories three months ago, when they should be acting in a “bipartisan” fashion.

And what, pray tell, would a “bipartisan” approach to governing look like? Yesterday, Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Ensign, the fourth-ranking Republican in the chamber, held up Bush’s push for tax cuts in 2001 as the example Obama and Democrats should be following.

“There was very much Democrat, leading up to, it was working together. It got partisan as the process went along, but it was very much bipartisan going into it. And that’s what we need to do — at least start in a bipartisan fashion.”

He wasn’t kidding.

Likewise, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also offered a prime example of “bipartisanship” for Democrats to follow.

“President Bush, newly re-elected and with expanded Republican majorities in Congress, had the courage to put Social Security reform on the agenda. When he asked for bipartisan help, not one Democrat in Congress stepped forward. Every single one of them turned his or her back, reflexively choosing politics over governing — and the nation lost out on an opportunity to fix a crucial program in desperate need of reform.”

So, as far as Republican leaders are concerned, the country not only needs more of Bush’s economic policies, we also need more of Bush’s style of bipartisan lawmaking.

This is, of course, delusional. But if folks like McConnell and Ensign are serious, and they think Democrats should pursue policy goals the way Bush did, the White House should pretty much stop returning Republicans’ phone calls and start pretending the minority party doesn’t exist.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.