Sunday, September 07, 2008

Short Post: Bipartisanship Dead?

For some reason, I've lately been thinking of bipartisan legislation (the original No Child Left Behind on the national level, for example, or environmental legislation here in New Jersey on the state level) and whether the country has become too polarized to make bipartisan legislation a reality. I'm thinking of this partly because the tenor and tone of the presidential contest is not at the high level I think it should be -- and I do, fairly or unfairly, blame conservatives for much of that negative tone.

Surely, the media's "frame narrative" that is told about bipartisanship (more ideological partisanship than ever before) needs unpacking, however accurate such a narrative may partly be. But have the dual poles of progressivism and conservatism become too distinct, too completely different to result in legislation in Washington that is, collectively speaking, for the good of the country? If, for example, comprehensive energy legislation that invested in alternative and renewable energy was also couple with something I vehemently oppose, new oil drilling in environmentally-safe (as safe as possible) sites, came up, I would support it. One reason that one commentator applauded Joe Biden as Obama's vp pick was because of bipartisanship purposes; Biden originally arrived in the senate at the time of less partisanship rankling and polarization.

Legislation must move forward when it meets certain qualitative and quantitative criteria of approval, and I would hope that the new administration and congress, come 2009, invoke a genuine spirit of bipartisanship, though I imagine that's an ideal that may not come to fruition.

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