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Posts Tagged ‘partisanship’

Before 2001 I had very few views on anything.  9/11 did not change that… getting out of college and working full-time did.  I was daily interacting with older people, and was working for a very smart and politically-minded writer, who’s legal scripts left me searching for what on earth he was talking about.  It was then that I started paying attention to current events, and reading about economics, business, history, education and so forth.  And the more I read and studied and discussed, the more I started to become opinionated and attached to certain philosophies.  It was then I also realized that, with few extreme exceptions, most political philosophies and theories are never enacted completely and freely to see if they work.  One word stands in their way… bipartisanship.

That hallowed word of camaraderie; working together under forced compromise.  Crossing the aisle.  Meeting in the middle.  Whatever you wished to call it, politics is all about it, and I think it causes is something that is less than it’s combined parts.  Or worse-

Health Care Reform's Ultimate End?

I am not against compromise.  It has strong value and is an incredible trait to be able to exercise… especially with spouses.  But I am more of a fan of ideas, and ideas need to be able to run their course to see if they are good or bad.  We would never have known that pure country music is so bad, except that it was released in it’s original form, instead of the more digestible alt-country format of Wilco, Band of Horses, and others.  All kidding aside, I do think that we stand a better chance of needed change and reform (if it is in fact needed) if we allow ideas to work.  And I’m not for it, just out of boredom.

Washington, D.C. is supposed to house our leaders.  But we have lost our leaders because they are all bent on reelection and must watch lest they try something and it fails.  Better to form a bipartisan coalition and we can all blame the other side if it backfires.  Well guess what?  I am willing to give your idea an unobstructed chance at health care, if you let my idea for social security go untouched.  You can have agriculture if you give me education.  We’ll check back in at the pre-appointed time to see the results.  If your idea has been a success then we all benefit.  If it hasn’t, then we try the other one… and so on, and so forth.  Done!

Problem is that there are still too many ancillary arguments to be made.  “My education idea didn’t work because it needs to be combined with an elimination of social welfare benefits and that’s your area”.  “Your farm subsidies are messing up my commerce plans!”  Plus there is the always relied upon threat of our nation’s demise.  “The Stimulus Bill is going to bankrupt the nation and we’ll never recover!”  “Allowing School Vouchers would immediately disenfranchise children all across the world!!!”  Also, how do we determine what results are considered a success?  That’s a political nightmare in itself.

But the same excuses are made within bipartisanship, so at least here we would have some more information to work with… again, theoretically.  This is all semantic arguing… neither party is likely to let the other run hog-wild with an unfettered agenda.  What if, heaven forbid, it works and voters switch allegiances?  Well, I guess that’s where the rubber meets the road.  If you think your ideas truly are the best, then you need to let them be tested.  And if you think the other guys ideas are the worst, let them be tested to prove it.  It’s what happens in laboratories, writers’ rooms, jam sessions, and anywhere else ideas are floated.  Except it seems in our state and national capitals.

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Just yesterday (or today in America), Democratic Senator Evan Bayh announced his retirement from the Senate. His reason?  Bayh argues that “Congress is not operating as it should,” citing a lack of bipartisanship causing a legislative gridlock.  Bayh has made it a point to note that he is not fed up with public service as a whole, but specifically with the current state of Congress.  According to political analyst Jennifer Donahue, the left-wing members of the Democratic Party in the executive branch and in Congress are putting a large strain on the Democratic centrists.

Similar criticisms of centrism are facing the Republican Party, with former Arizona congressman J. D. Hayworth challenging John McCain for his Senate seat, claiming, “You could say they are two John McCains.  The one who campaigns like a conservative and the one who legislates like a liberal.”

From the perspective of this European correspondent (tongue-in-cheek), American politics is largely a centrist playing field.  In the UK, for instance, the ‘centre’ is much farther left than in the US, but there does exist a sizable neo-Fascist party (BNP), something nearly unthinkably right-wingéd in the United States.  From this perspective, the ‘far-right’ and the ‘far-left’ Americans are actually not as far apart as we might immediately suppose.  Though Barack Obama has been accused of being a socialist, it would be difficult to find a Labour Party member who would consider him such.

Still, in the heat of American partisanship fueled by the fierce rhetoric of newscasters and politicians (and those posing as politicians), the center is no man’s land.

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