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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bi-Partisanship? A Dream of Whooses.

What is all the angst about our politicians getting along and playing mamby-pamby with the the people's business?  Who is driving this fantasy about bi-partisanship?  Who needs it?

I was wet behind the ears when I first ran for County Supervisor back in 1984.  I was 33, had a young family with a child born not long before the June Primary.  I was unaware that the most important thing I needed to know was the number three.  I was raised as a reasonable person who believed doing the right thing was infectious and all of my proposals were so wonderful that I would be getting them all done quickly and with the love and thoughtfulness we all expected as elected officials.  The number three was there,  right from the beginning though and I learned some hard lessons.  I was able to get things done but I had to learn not everyone would agree, and you had to gather two more votes to get things done.  Well I won some and I lost some.  And there were times I had to eat some crow.

I spent eight years horsetrading for things I wanted as did the others but the important thing was always the number three.  When I ran for State Assembly in 1992, I was reminded again in no uncertain terms that 41 was the magic number.  I remember meeting the Republican minority leader Jones along with the rest of the Republican candidates after the primary.  The leader wanted all six of us to get behind the winner, Bernie Richter, to show solidarity to help him win in November.  I listened to the leader and was shocked.  All he talked about was the number 41.  He really did not care about Mr. Richter and what he stood for, he just cared about the number 41.  I had befriended Berni during the primary (I finished third) and I really respected his agenda and his philosophy.  I said to the leader, "look, Bernie is a person not just a number"!  I was upset that the leader was only concerned about the number.  Was I naive?  Yep.  That bottom line is the number and all political parties that strive for the fallacy of bi-partisanship are being disingenuous.

Sure both sides will have items which all can agree on, but it is the major, and sometimes minor issues which the number is the most important.  Obamacare is the biggest example I can think of currently.  The democrats did not get one Republican vote to pass it and some democrats actually came over and voted with them.  Only democrats voted for it.  Why?  Because they had the votes.  Their number was 218 and they told the world, that is Nancy Pelosi said, she could care less about any Republicans voting for it.  She locked them out of the room as did Harry Reid, the  nan with 51 votes in the Senate.  They could care less because they had the number.  The lamestream media is never concerned about bi-partisanship when the democrats have the number.

  I know people want to get along and get upset about the rancor and lack of civility they observe in our politicians.  But that is a dream.  Most TV viewers tune in to American Idol and watch the British guy demean contestants and don't think twice about playing nice.  How they can then be distressed when the politicians are debating the rights of them to have their own doctor to me pales in the face of that reality.  No, the people have more rancor within their own family at the dinner table. 

Politics had been explained as war without bloodshed.  Republicans and democrats have different world views on many important issues.  Why would we expect them to toss away their beliefs and philosophies for a phony act of bi-partisanship?  We can't.  The people vote to have someone represent them because the person agrees with most of that person's philosophy.  I would expect the people to not elect someone who appeared to be wishy-washy about those beliefs.  We want leaders and to get them we must expect they will fight hard to implement their promises.  The bottom line is the number.

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