Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Myth of Bipartisanism

President Obama seems to be catching a lot of flack recently for failing to unite Congress and pass a stimulus bill with bipartisan support. Pledging to put bipartisan bickering aside in Washington and get Congress working together always sounds good on the campaign trail, no matter which party is spouting it, but even if it weren’t fundamentally impossible, it would be highly dangerous.

Members of different political parties can only agree on so much before the fundamental differences in ideology between the parties gets in the way. By definition, they can’t agree on everything or else they’d be in the same party (and even then they’d probably disagree.) It’s no more realistic to expect Republicans to suddenly embrace a large government spending bill than it is for Democrats to suddenly say “You know what? Let’s just stick with the tax cuts the Bush Administration tried. They seem to be working so well.”

Bickering is a natural and inevitable side-effect of two sides having irreconcilable differences. If you’re not able to convince someone their opinion is wrong or your opinion is right (and the fundamental ideologies of Congressman are likely firmly set and beyond changing which is why you have to vote out incumbents to affect change which is why we as a nation did just that last fall) the debate pretty much has no where else to go but down into the land of calling each other “stupid-heads.”

The country narrowly voted to go in this direction in November (and yes Barack Obama winning with just 52.9% of the popular vote is still mathematically “narrowly” winning), and thus the stimulus package narrowly passed.

What’s more, that’s how it should be. Personally, I want a bitter and divided congress struggling to find middle ground. The harder it is to get bills past, the less likely they are to pass stupid bills. I once heard that the worst thing that ever happened to this country was the installation of air-conditioning in the Capitol. Previous to that the Congress had to take the whole summer off from the swampy DC heat, which meant less time to pass bills to mess up the country.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.