A note to Nick Ochsner.
Party politics are an ephemeral idea. The sole purpose of a political party is to ensure democracy, to allow for groups that debate and battle until a consensus that is most likely the right one—the most middle ground solution—can be compromised on.
Here’s my issue with the Republican party’s reaction to their minimal numbers in the 111th Congress: they are using the role as the minority group too offensively, and it ends up splitting opinions and halting progress, rather than adding to the debate constructively.
It’s true that Democrats have been guilty of this. If they hadn’t been to some degree, they wouldn’t have won so many seats in 2006. However, they also had the weight of six years of a disliked presidency to back them up. Obama’s slow start doesn’t equal that (it is in large part due to the shape of the nation when he came into office).
Your article in The Pendulum a couple weeks ago suggested that I had the definitions of obstructionist and bipartisan wrong. Here was what I said to you in an email response to you:
“Also, the idea behind obstructionism is to deliberately interfere with legislation. Although they knew they would not have enough votes, this is what the House Republicans did. Also, yes, I was making the point that the GOP is promoting partisanship in a time when that is the least effective practice. I’ll include what was in my opinion the most important sentence in my article, though it was taken out:
“‘The greatest achievements of the U.S. Federal government, from the writing of the Constitution to the ending of the Civil War to the New Deal that saved the country from the Depression, have all been cooperative efforts that prevailed out of unity. If there’s ever been a time where Americans need to embody this idea again, it is now.’
“I think the one thing that made me more upset about this was the GOP response to Collins, Snowe, and Specter aiding in the writing of the bill. They did, in fact, cut it back by about $200 billion. And they were the only ones who took part in the actual negotiation of it, rather than just generic criticism.”
Only recently has this been acknowledged, with Cantor and the GOP’s budget proposal. The best way to improve a bill is to aid in its writing. Simple as that. I made this point in my email over a month ago.
I’d love to get a response from you sometime.
So the question here is what the role of the two parties play with each other. When do Republicans and Democrats need to be forceful to keep each other in line? And when do they need to put aside egos, acknowledge their role as representation, and carve out progress together?
The line between these two is one of the largest grey areas in politics—and there are a lot. But, as it goes, nothing easy was ever worth doing, and the biggest accomplishments of the U.S. have come out of cooperation and sacrifice.