September 21, 1994 |
The last few months haven't been the best for Congress. The hours have been long, the debates contentious. And the American people seem to respect the Congress and its members less and less. Now some people are suggesting that if Congress could just exercise a little more "bipartisanship," America would be better served and the public would hold us in higher regard. I disagree. When principles coincide, bipartisanship should prevail. But sacrificing principles will neither be good for America nor good for our government.
November 30, 2011
By Ben Dworkin With the latest fight over the federal budget having ended without an agreement, some pundits and commentators are insisting that only the 2012 elections will determine the answer to the question at the heart of our disagreements: What is the proper role of government in our lives? But there is a more fundamental question at the center of our current debates: How do we understand politics? The failure of the congressional supercommittee revealed a deep divide. On one side are the traditionalists, who believe that politics is at its core about bargaining, negotiation, and compromise, all of which are needed to arrive at a majority and pass something.
February 7, 1997 |
"The American people returned to office a president of one party and a Congress of another. Surely they did not do this to advance the politics of petty bickering and extreme partisanship . . . No, they call all of us instead to be repairers of the breach. " - President Clinton, 1997 "The meekness of Quakerism will do in religion, but not in politics. " - De Witt Clinton, 1803 President Clinton has a touch of the preacher in him, and the thought of binding our wounds with malice toward none was probably harder to resist than a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
December 19, 2000 |
The word "bipartisanship" and the phrase "govern from the political center" are being used so promiscuously in this post-election holiday season that they carry all the meaning and sincerity of those old "Have a Nice Day" bumper stickers. No, there's nothing inherently wrong with bipartisanship. Governing from the center can be an excellent way to go, depending on who gets to define where the center is. That's the trouble. George W. Bush prepared for his presidency with a visit to the Capitol on yesterday in the midst of a lot of forced happy talk.
March 9, 2001 |
George W. Bush has given three major speeches since his election was assured. On each occasion, he's stressed his desire to change the tone in Washington and foster bipartisan cooperation. It turns out that those two goals - the new tone and enhanced bipartisanship - aren't one and the same, at least not in his mind. He's delivering on the one but not the other. The President has done a skillful job of making the nation's capital seem less rancorous, what with his willingness to meet with all comers and his eagerness to bestow endearing nicknames on friend and foe alike.
July 11, 2001 |
Who says bipartisanship is dead? Over the next week or so, a bipartisan coalition will decide the fate of a bill to begin fixing our wretched campaign money system. But because both the pro-reform and the anti-reform forces are bipartisan, the question is: Which coalition? Bipartisanship is supposed to mean peace, comity, civility. But this issue shows that bipartisan and intrapartisan attacks can be at least as nasty as the partisan kind. Just ask Sen. John McCain, the maverick pro-reform Republican from Arizona.
October 28, 2002
What do you know, Joe? Joe, as in U.S. Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel, knows how to wage and win a tough fight. Better still, he knows how to be a solid congressman. Voters in the 13th Congressional District in Pennsylvania, which covers Northeast Philadelphia and parts of Montgomery County, should reelect JOE HOEFFEL. Mr. Hoeffel knows education and health care are two of the most important issues Congress needs to address in the coming session. He knows bipartisanship can produce good results.
January 21, 2010
Professions of warm bipartisanship filled last week's swearing-in of New Jersey's 214th Legislature. But you didn't have to be a cynic to have doubts. You just had to wait a few hours. The august body hadn't even completed its first day of business before the bonhomie broke down. Harsh words were exchanged, motives were questioned, and business was postponed - all over a technicality. The Legislature's first minutes were auspicious enough. The new state Senate president, Democrat Stephen Sweeney of Gloucester County, vowed to work with the leader of the Republican minority, his "good friend" Tom Kean Jr., and the incoming Republican governor, Christopher J. Christie.
February 22, 2009 |
He invited them over to watch the Super Bowl, visited them in their caucus rooms on Capitol Hill, and even flew a couple of them on Air Force One. But for all the wooing, President Obama got zero Republican votes in the House and just three in the Senate for passage of his economic-stimulus legislation. Now, as he prepares to make his nationally televised first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, to lay out a 2010 budget proposal expected to include a down payment on changes in the health-care system, aides say Obama will rely more on his persuasion skills to build public pressure on lawmakers than on the inside game in coming battles.
September 19, 1990 |
When NBC's Meet the Press teamed Bob Dole and Thomas S. Foley as guests, the producers must have assumed that their audience knew, without being told, that Dole is the Senate Republican leader and Foley is the Democratic speaker of the House. But nothing they said would have given you a clue to their partisanship. They agreed on everything: that President Bush is handling the Persian Gulf crisis just right; that America's allies should bear more of the costs of the mobilization against Iraq; that the United States should sell a huge amount of arms to Saudi Arabia; that Egypt's (and eventually Israel's)