Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Partisanship At Its Best

Today, President Obama joined Senate Republicans in a closed door meeting on Capitol Hill, the latest attempt by the President to reach across the table in hopes of bipartisanship.

Although there was, and will continue to be a many differences in opinions on various issues, the fact of the matter is that a productive piece of legislation does not pass until it is well understood by both parties and significant effort has been made to make it a cooperative effort. Obama understands this, and therefore, has made attempts to seek his opponents’ advice.

However, there are many GOP leaders who continue to “stick to their guns” and focus on petty politics. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, for example, accused the president during the meeting of taking an excessively partisan approach to critical issues such as financial reform, and then having the "audacity" to come to the Senate GOP conference and use the Republicans as election year "props."

This serves as a problem for several reasons. First, Obama is a Democrat and therefore will hold liberal views on many issues, same as President Bush held many conservative views on many issues, and almost every other political leader to date. What makes the difference, however, is how that person tries to overcome that disparity in opinions to try and reach a conclusive decision. With Obama setting up such meetings, it serves as proof that he is, at the least, trying to understand the others’ point of view, instead of blindly holding his ground.

Second, what exactly does it mean to be “excessively partisan”? Would the “You lie” outburst from Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, at President Obama during his speech to Congress be considered “excessively partisan”? Would the incident when Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, shouted “baby killer” at Democrat Bart Stupak in his debate on the House floor be considered “excessively partisan”? Or how about when Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, and other GOP leaders compare the President to Adolf Hitler? Or when numerous Republican Senators, including Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told people that they were correct to fear that the government would "pull the plug on grandma with the death panels”? By the way, how’s that working out since the passage of Obama’s healthcare bill?

Wouldn’t all those statements be considered “excessively partisan”? I guess not. I guess having a valid difference in opinion in the Republican Party either makes you a liar, a baby killer, or Hitler.

If that’s the case, I prefer to stay excessively partisan.

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