In Praise Of Political Partisanship

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Politics: In his swan song to the Senate, Chris Dodd decried Washington's "intense partisan polarization" and called Congress "completely dysfunctional." Sorry, senator, but partisanship just might save this great nation.

Funny how Democrats and their toadies in the mainstream media rediscover "partisanship" every time their candidates suffer a major electoral defeat. And here we go again.

Major newspapers, National Public Radio and network TV news outlets have all bemoaned the "new tone" of partisanship and rancor that's made Washington unbearable for civilized politicians such as Dodd, the retiring five-term senator from Connecticut. Partisanship has "never been this bad," we're told.

Which is pure bunkum.

We have a two-party system in which partisanship is not only desirable, but necessary for our system to function. For the two parties to march hand-in-hand off a political cliff benefits no one — certainly not average Americans.

For too long, Congress has been a kind of ultra-exclusive country club, where the only real question is one Rodney King asked: "Can't we all just get along?" Well, the answer is no. We can't. This is why we're in this mess.

It's strange that Dodd, of all people, should speak up for more bipartisanship. Did he seek it last year in helping to ram a federal takeover of U.S. health care through Congress without any Republican support at all? How about his signature accomplishment, the Wall Street reform bill, which also was bereft of significant GOP input?

Fact is, Dodd and his party consider "bipartisanship" to be another word for "Republican capitulation."

As he left his "Slurpee Summit" with Republicans on Tuesday, President Obama had this to say: "The American people did not vote for gridlock. They didn't vote for unyielding partisanship. They're demanding cooperation, and they're demanding progress."

This in a nutshell explains Obama's problems. In fact, Americans voted Nov. 2 for very specific things — things that, if bipartisanship reigns, Obama would deny them. Disappointed voters believed Republicans could get these things done. That's why they won.

Remember this as the Democrats and GOP niggle over the details of extending the Bush tax cuts. All the "compromise" will be sought from the Republicans, who'll be expected to give in on the Democrats' demand for a massive tax hike on people with incomes over $200,000 — all in the interest of bipartisanship, of course.

As our IBD/TIPP Poll taken in early November shows, more than half of Americans want all the tax cuts made permanent or extended — not just those for Democratic constituents.

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