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Bipartisanship requires work and will


Sat, Mar 20th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

After seven hours together at their recent health-care forum, President Obama, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans emerged no closer to an agreement than when they started. It was as fine a tutorial as you could want on why true bipartisanship is so elusive.

There's no question that some substantive issues stand in the way of a bipartisan consensus on health care. As The New York Times editorialized the following day, "The main lesson...is that differences between Democrats and Republicans are too profound to be bridged." Each side took pains to lay out its thinking, with plenty of details and ideas to back them up. Yet what was missing was the most important detail of all: the political will necessary to overcome partisan differences and strike an accord together. Intense partisanship has become the norm on Capitol Hill.

Partisanship is not all bad. It can drive a healthy search for alternative policy ideas and ensure that a diversity of voices exists in Congress, helping its members represent different constituencies across the land rather than some inside-the-Beltway consensus.

But partisanship can also go too far, degenerating into polarization and gridlock, and undercutting efforts to make meaningful progress on important issues.

The partisanship we see on Capitol Hill these days represents the failure of what I think of as the "Shakespeare Rule": To thine own self be true. Congress is made up of 535 individuals representing an extraordinarily diverse array of constituencies; it's unlikely that hundreds of them all think identically. So, when a party votes unanimously on anything, the only conclusion we can draw is that some of its members are putting party loyalty ahead of their own judgment. Even worse, some have decided to vote the party line even when that vote is repugnant to them.

Congress is not wholly partisan - there have been some recent encouraging signs, such as the willingness of a few Republican senators to join with Democrats in ending debate on a jobs bill - but all too often it looks like the health-care forum: lots of heated discussion, but no will to set aside differences and negotiate seriously.

Pursuing bipartisanship requires far more than simply talking about finding common ground. It means seeking a fundamentally different attitude, asking people to help make the country work rather than trying to score political points.

That is why bipartisanship is oft .....
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Ready, fire, aim

Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

I always knew my political and community outlook was at variance with Mr. Gudmundson but don't remember anything quite as jarring as his last effort ..... 
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One moment, please...

Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

As I witness the usual dichotomy of our state government positioning our local economy in the passenger seat of an on-going, overwhelming financial crisis, I beg the question, "What can we control?"

Whether talking about local government aid ..... 
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One moment, please... Survivor: The Pilot Mound Series

Mon, Mar 1st, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Last week, I took a break from writing anything political. Now, I'm back in the saddle and clopping full speed ahead. I have two subjects to discuss but only enough space in the newspaper for one of them this week. You'll get this one now in today's ..... 
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Enough Is Enough

Fri, Feb 26th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

When President Obama advocated nuclear energy, offshore drilling and research to provide clean coal technology as solutions to our increasing energy problems, I winced. Granted, he also advocated the use of alternative energy resources. When he pred ..... 
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Is it really tea time?

Fri, Feb 19th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

The Tea Party movement has been receiving a great deal of attention of late. The recent Nashville convention featuring keynote speaker Sarah Palin garnered worldwide media coverage. However, there were more reports about the costs of attending the c ..... 
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One Moment Please - What is important?

Fri, Feb 19th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

I'm stepping back from making any political statements this week. Instead I'm sharing my thoughts on what I feel is most important in all of our lives: family.

O ..... 
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How about some common sense

Fri, Feb 12th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Imagine that you've legally parked your car on a city street. When you return, a stack of traffic citations rests on the windshield even though your tires are in the lines and your meter shows time remaining. You have been fined because other parked ..... 
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Pick Your Heroes

Fri, Feb 5th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

l Graham Nash wrote a song in about 1970, and I hope he won't sue me for sharing a few lines:

Teach your children well/Their fathers hell/will slowly go by.

And feed them on your dreams/the one they pick's/the one you'll know by.
< ..... 
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