Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Attaching Strings in D.C.

Generosity with strings is not generosity; It is a deal.

--Marya Mannes

(Washington, D.C.)--An interesting concept when considered from deep in the heart of Washington. I have listened to more than my fill of presentations, luncheon addresses, press conferences, and before- and after-dinner speeches this week, and what I have found missing in most of the missives has been substantive posits to replace the ideas and solutions so many on Capitol Hill seem wont to discard.

It started with the Democrat’s rebuttal of President Bush’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. Senator Webb spent 99% of his time simply disagreeing with Mr. Bush’s plan’s and policy proposals, without providing alternative solutions. That’s not leadership; it is myopia compounded by partisan astigmatism.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the National Conference of Mayors Luncheon and applauded President Bush’s call for bi-partisan cooperation in the new Congress.

There is a nuance in the use of “bi-partisan” that allows an escape path, as opposed to the adoption of a spirit of “non-partisan” cooperation.

By definition, bi-partisan means two parts, two view points, two perspectives, and in Washington, two agendas. Often such mindsets result in lots of sound bites and video clips of elected officials thumping their chests and slapping each other on the back, but not much is accomplished on behalf of the constituents who sent them to Washington.

No man can serve two masters, and no politician can abide bi-partisan solutions, because one or the other side of the bifurcated opinion is going to prevail. Give and take, such is the nature of politics.

Most of the people up here are trying to do a good job for the folks back home. It is up to you and me to keep them beholden to the platform planks they walked to get here. Bi-partisan makes me a little nervous, and very suspicious because of the duplicitous nature of the term. Non-partisan is more in line with the final phrases of the Pledge of Allegiance, which captures the essence of America: “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

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