Wednesday, February 20, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 97


 
 









 

Senate Democrats agree to disagree

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 each other.

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 chilled mug.

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 in between.

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.

Caster, a senior chemical 
engineering major, can be reached at patrioticcatmaster@yahoo.com.


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