Nothing new to report from the home front, really. Cassidy told me to tell you guys that she says hi. She would have done so herself, but she has paws instead of hands and has a difficult time typing.
There was kind of an interesting editorial today in the New York Times by Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional lawyer and a columnist for Salon.com, about the concept of bipartisanship and whether it's really a goal that's worth pursuing (it was actually one of five editorials on the subject, but I found Greenwald's the most interesting).
Greenwald's main point was that although Americans are drawn to the abstract idea of "bipartisanship" (we like to think that our greatest conquests are to be gained through compromise and cooperation rather than through a ruthless battle of ideas), he goes on to point out that, in practice, historically recent legislative efforts which have been hailed as "bipartisan" successes have been on issues that appeal to the Republican base of the party and to just enough Democrats to create a majority. Greenwald maintains that most "bipartisan" efforts of the last decade have actually supported Republican policies, and that especially during the years of the Bush administration, bipartisanship was, in actuality, little more than a way to reinforce Republican ideals and a method by which Republicans attempted to maintain control over Democrats, even when the Democrats were in a position of power. Greenwald goes on to state that voters in 2006 and 2008 seem to have overwhelmingly voted in support of Democratic ideals, and he argues that the Democrats would be betraying a sort of trust placed in them by the voters if they proved too willing to adopt Republican policies or ideology in the name of "bipartisanship" (the Democrats ran on a platform that promised change from the governing style of the Republicans, Greenwald asserts- therefore, bending too far to the right or watering down Democratic ideals by way of accomodation is something of a betrayal).
Perhaps more convincingly, Greenwald argues that the Republicans have already clearly taken to casting themselves in the role of an opposition party- painting themselves as honor-bound in their quest to lend voice to the millions of Americans who oppose the Democrats and their policies (thus the vote on the stimulus package which received not a single Republican vote in the House and only 3 Republican votes in the Senate). The Republicans have no interest in mitigating any possible blame that Democrats might receive if their policies fail or any interest in helping to ease the job of Democrats as they try to win over support for legislation and various programs. The Republicans seem to be glad to take over the role of opposition party, and they seem intent on laying traps and gathering ammunition against the Democrats (for use in future campaigns) wherever possible.
So Greenwald has me rethinking this bipartisanship business a bit. Like many people, I like the idea of cooperation and of people accomplishing great things by getting along. On the other hand, I hate the feeling of being played for a sucker. If the only real interest that Republicans have in bipartisanship is to cry crocodile tears and disingenuously bandy the term about whenever the Democrats trudge through and make progress without them (while the Republicans simultaneously focus the rest of their efforts on fighting to obstruct the Democrats every step of the way on every single thing that they try to do) then maybe "bipartisanship" isn't really all it's been cracked up to be.
Anyway, it would be great to have our leaders cooperate, get along, and to accomplish great things through compromise and fair negotiation. On the other hand, only a fool would continue bargaining with a man who keeps crying that he is being treated unfairly but who, meanwhile, is unwilling to engage in fair negotiation for his own part (especially if the first person was in a much stronger negotiating position than the second). I guess I'm a fan of the ideal of bipartisanship, but I'm not so idealistic that I would let that ideal be used against me- especially to the point where it began to compromise my other principles.
Well, gotta run.