Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Why Bipartisanship Is Bad

The other day in a moment of incredible boredom I skimmed an article by David Broder to see if he had anything new to say since the last time I read a piece by him 20 years ago. It turns out that he is now talking about how great it was 20 years ago. In a piece called "When Compassion Ruled Over Partisanship" he recounts how when President Reagan was shot, Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill visited him in the hospital. He sees this as a symbol of the bipartisanship that flourished during this time. At the end of the piece he concludes that if Bush were in the hospital Democrats probably wouldn't go visit him. I had no idea things had gotten this bad with the Democrats.

But then I thought: Is bipartisanship really such a great thing? Aren't bipartisans a little like bisexuals--people afraid to make a commitment? I suppose it's better than President Clinton's "triangulation," which I believe is a translation of the French word menage a trois. Maybe such things work in France, but I don't think they work here. During the Clinton and Reagan administrations we had divided government, which I think was very confusing for people. Lobbyists had no idea who to give campaign contributions to and they sometimes had to split their limited resources between two parties.

While I can understand why Mr. Broder would be nostalgic for the Reagan era when everyone universally loved the President and no one had a bad word to say about him, he forgets that President Reagan was not able to do everything he wanted. We live in a different time now and I'm afraid I disagree with Mr. Broder when he says we need more bipartisanship. We need everyone to get behind the President so that we can speak with one voice in the War on Terror. People who disagree with the President are only helping our enemies.

Of course, we know who is to blame for the conflicting signals our government is sending now to those abroad. After September 11, President Bush offered the hand of friendship to Democrats and gave them the opportunity to rubber stamp whatever he did without questioning it. For a while Democrats went along. But over time the Democrats' lust for political power made them forget the best interests of the country and now they question what the President does on everything from the Patriot Act to Hurricane Katrina to the Supreme Court. Although President Bush won a mandate in the last election and Republicans have made some strides by consolidating power in Congress, the Executive branch, the Judiciary and the media, some Democrats still persist in putting roadblocks in front of the President's agenda. If we are going to defeat the terrorists, it's not more bipartisanship we need. What we need is unipartisanship.

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Patricia said...

If we just declared him emperor it would make things a lot easier. Or..maybe that's the surprise in tonight's SOTU.

Anonymous said...

HAHA. I read your column occasionally. Very nice. Today's reminds me of a Washington Post sketch I saw with Bush dressed up as a old school king saying "the state of the union is now complete".

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Swift:

In my childhood I was fond of your brother Tom, but you do no credit to his memoirs and adventures with your ignorant sallies and low jests. You clearly do not understand that the word "bipartisan" is a corruption of "buy partisan." An example of this "buy-partisanship" would be selling your vote to Jack Abramoff, or perhaps trading it for a round of golf.

If you choose to continue to infest the internet and sully this fine provider of porn and adult-friend-finders, get your facts correct.

Dr. Frederick Rossiter,
"Dentist to the Stars"
Blytheville, Arkansas

kamakula said...

I don't know Jon, unipartisanship sounds a lot like homopartisanship to me.

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