February 02, 2010

The Trouble With Bipartisanship

A James Fallows correspondent has it right:

"GOP member: 'I'd like this in the bill.'

"Dem member response: 'If we put it in, will you vote for the bill?'

"GOP member:  'You know I can't vote for the bill.'

"Dem member:  'Then why should we put it in the bill?'

And there's more:
"Bipartisanship in the American sense means compromising on legislation so that a sufficient number of members of Congress from BOTH parties will support it, even if (as is typically the case) a few majority party members defect and most minority party members don't join.  Bipartisanship consists of getting ENOUGH members of the minority party to join the (incomplete) majority in voting for major legislation.  It can't happen if the minority party members vote as a block against major legislation.  And that can happen only if the minority party has the ability to discipline its ranks so that none join the majority, which is the unprecedented situation we've got in Congress today.
Far too many define "bipartisanship" as "everyone in the opposite party going along with everything I want anyway."

Posted by Stephen Silver at February 2, 2010 09:57 PM
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