Diana Butler Bass explains the difference between “postpartisan” and “bipartisan.”
President Obama campaigned as a postpartisan candidate. Postpartisan means that politics must move beyond the current party structure. A postpartisan vision recognizes that there are many voices in the larger body politic–and that a good number of those voices have never been heard in the American process. Thus, postpartisan, a sort of generational mantra for those under 40, is an attempt to create new relationships, draw diverse people and perspectives to a table, and develop innovative possibilities to address social and political issues.
In case no one in Washington has noticed, postpartisan does not mean bipartisan. Yes, the root word–partisan–is the same, but the prefix is different. “Post” means “after, beyond, or subsequent to;” “bi” means “two.”