Current disasters have not awakened American politicians
YankeeJim | February 17, 2010 at 04:44 amby
516 views | 18 Recommendations | 8 comments
Too big and self-important to fail?
The criterion most important to future governance is the ability to achieve progress, to accomplish things cooperatively.
As a part of bringing the parties together, it is time once again to get out the contract – Democrats and Republicans. What do you propose as your contract with America? In the contract, I want to see not only what and when accomplishments will be achieved, but the processes for how things will get done.
The American Truth Detector (ATD) is at work now. It is time to get specific. In the description of how things get done, I want to hear how both parties intend to gain cooperation through collaboration. Without a new contract, Americans don’t know what they are getting.
“Senator Evan Bayh's departure sparks debate about partisanship in Congress
By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Sen. Evan Bayh's surprise decision not to seek reelection touched off a debate Tuesday among strategists and scholars about whether the Indiana senator's depiction of the "brain dead" politics and hyper-partisanship of Congress is accurate or overblown -- and, if accurate, whether walking away was the right decision.
Bayh dealt a triple blow to his Democratic Party and to President Obama with his announcement Monday that he is sick of the partisanship in Washington and will not seek a third term. The decision put his seat -- and, some forecasters said, possibly his party's Senate majority -- in jeopardy, sent a discomforting message to already demoralized Democrats about this year's political climate and reminded voters that Obama has yet to usher in the post-partisan era, a major theme of his 2008 campaign.
But it was as much Bayh's stated reasons for leaving as the consequences that stirred controversy. "If in fact he believed that the Senate was broken and dysfunctional, then he had a responsibility to stand and man the pumps rather than run for the lifeboat," said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University.
During a round of early morning interviews Tuesday, Bayh responded to criticism that he had left his party in the lurch and defended his decision to retire rather than stay and try to fix the system. "If I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months," he said on CBS's "Early Show."
He also sought to squelch talk that he is disenchanted with Obama's agenda or has presidential aspirations, saying Obama is making "a sincere effort" to work with Republicans.
Still, Baker said Bayh's depiction of Congress overstates the case that lawmakers are dealing with something unprecedented in American politics. While acknowledging that there is "an extreme level of partisanship" right now, Baker said there have been other periods of partisanship and venomous politics in the Senate.
"I won't say it's cyclical, but from time to time . . . even the Senate goes berserk," he said. He cited the red-baiting era of the early 1950s, saying, "The McCarthy period was a terrible time, in which reputations were ruined, senators attacked each other and questioned each other's motives."
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