Senate Democrats agree
Matthew E. Caster
If 2001 was a year of unity for all Americans,
2002 is a year for division. Indeed, it would seem as though Republicans
and Democrats alike are getting back down to the business of arguing with
In the midst of this cesspool of partisan
bickering, which has made itself apparent even in this very newspaper,
it is important for us to look toward things that members of
both parties agree with. Generally speaking,
both liberals and conservatives agree that flowers are pretty in the springtime.
The two sides also tend to believe 'NSync
is a better "boy band" than the Backstreet Boys. Most Democrats and Republicans
do not acknowledge the existence of
France. And, of course, it is unanimously
agreed upon by both parties that cold beer tastes best when served in a
Sadly, the parallels between the two ideologies
end there. Beyond that, the two sides can only agree to disagree. It is
this partisanship among members of Congress
that inflames us common, everyday folk.
Why? Quite simply, nothing ever seems to get done.
If this were a true democracy and We the
People really did get to make all the decisions for ourselves, would things
be any better? Of course not, simply because the
same kind of partisanship exists between
all of us. The political spectrum transcends all races, religions and social
classes, from far-left radical socialists to far-right
reactionary fascists like me, and everyone
So how do things get done in Washington?
It's called compromise: when the two sides come together to agree on something.
In the month that followed the tragedy
of Sept. 11, compromise came boldly and swiftly through both houses of
Congress as the nation prepared to rebuild and wreak
havoc on the lives of those who carried
out the attacks. Since then, bipartisanship in our nation's capital has
been harder to come by.
In this election year, it comes down to
a battle of wills between leaders of both parties. The primary focal point
of this battle has been the unique confrontations between
Republican President Bush and Democratic
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
Bush and other Republicans have referred
to Daschle as an "obstructionist." That characterization is correct. Here's
why: According to FoxNews.com, in the last two
months Daschle has refused to allow nine
different Republican-sponsored bills to be voted upon in general assembly,
including Bush's economic stimulus package and
his comprehensive energy plan. The reason
boils down to him disagreeing with some of the conservative provisions
in the plans.
Though no votes were ever tallied, Senate
Minority Leader Trent Lott maintained there was sufficient support from
both sides of the aisle to ensure seven of the nine
measures would have passed easily.
On the other hand, Bush has handled brilliantly
the partisan mess Daschle and others have caused. Of course he encourages
legislation he agrees with, just as any
president would. However, if stormy seas
appear on the horizon of a bill he agrees with, he doesn't try to ram it
through, come hell or high water. Doing so would
probably upset conservative Democrats
who agree with the president on some matters.
Instead, Bush accepts the compromise. He
could have easily vetoed the recent Social Security reform bill, which
did not privatize investing for younger workers.
Similarly, he repeatedly voiced opposition
to federalizing airport security screeners, yet he did not kill that bill
either, because he recognized that something was needed
for the good of the country. He was willing
to set aside his personal beliefs because he knew reforms were necessary
in both matters, even if he did not get all the
reforms he thought necessary.
Daschle and other Democrats in the Senate
are posturing for an election year, as are Bush and the Republicans. However,
if there's one thing people like to see in their
elected officials, it is the ability,
the capacity and the character to get things done.
To paraphrase Al Gore, let's count all
the votes. If a bill makes it through the complicated committee system
in the Senate, just send it to the floor. If it passes, it passes,
and if not, oh well. Recent actions by
Daschle and other left-wing Democrats in the Senate are uncalled for, childish
and simply un-American.
The only thing worse than a politician
in Washington is one who refuses to get things done. The nation needs leadership
in these trying times, not only from Bush, but
also from Daschle.
It's time to grow up and do what's right
for the country. Stop stalling and start leading. God bless America.