A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Second Verse Same as the First

In the campaign running up to the November elections, Democrats promised that if they were given power, bi-partisanship would be their mode of operation and they would not shut out the Republican party in the way they had been shut out when the Republicans were in the majority. Soon-to-be Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi also echoed the promise of bi-partisanship the day after the election.

But in an all too familiar refrain heard from both sides throughout the years, House Democrats now plan to shut out House Republicans, at least in the initial days of legislating. (I would be willing to bet it goes beyond that.) Once again the promise of bi-partisanship is nothing more than talking points uttered to get elected.

Some of the legislation the Democrats want to put forward I support, (e.g. stricter ethics rules for Representatives and cutting the interest rates on student loans); other I oppose (e.g. raising the minimum wage, and federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research). But the point of this post does not concern the legislation itself; rather it concerns the all too familiar and willful failure to keep a promise.

I understand that the workings of the House of Representatives gives very little power to the minority party and it works that way regardless of who is in control. I take no issue with that. The Republicans basically kept the Democrats “out of the loop” when they were in charge, and now one is certainly justified in saying that turn about is fair play.

But that was not what was promised. “Bi-partisanship” was the word in the pre and post election campaign. It was certainly difficult for the Republicans to campaign on such a notion, since they clearly hadn’t practiced what they had preached. That left it to the Democrats to take full advantage of an American electorate that continues, election after election, to hang on to the fantasy that when candidates say they will work in bi-partisan fashion, they actually mean it. As I have said in previous posts, when either party uses the word “bi-partisan” it is a cover word for, “The other party better do it our way, or they will be the partisans.”

So what do I want? Do I want Republicans and Democrats to work in a bi-partisan manner? Not really. Actually, I prefer arguing, bickering, and gridlock so that government gets very little done. Since government seems unable to willfully limit itself, a divided government is the only recourse, even though it is more unpleasant.

All I want are two things: First, I want politicians to throw the word “bi-partisan” out of their vernacular and to simply be honest with the American people that if they win the election, they will lord it over the minority party. At least, they will have spoken with integrity. Second, I wish the electorate in America would quit taking seriously the supposed “sincere” talk of bi-partisanship; for it is nothing more than an empty campaign promise in which to get elected.

In other words, all I’m asking for on the part of politicians is honesty, and all I’m asking for on the part of the voters is realism.

And so it continues… second verse same as the first, or… SSDP (Same Stuff, Different Party).

Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Allan, I hear you on this. Of course we live in Grand Rapids, so Gerald Ford and his life is at the forefront for many here, right now. He seems to have been one who clearly was an example of integrity. And getting along well with his opponents (whom he vetoed numerous times).

Though they are in gridlock, yet they manage to "blow", I say, alot of our money. And repeatedly overspend. So I'm not sure what's best, grid-lock or actually working together to get some things passed. Maybe a little of both(?).

Brian Vinson said...

You've hit the nail on the head with this, Allan.

Anonymous said...


President Ford's death is a timely reminder of what seems to be absent in both parties. It is certainly possible to have strong convictions either as a Republican or as a Democrat, and yet be able to work together. Unfortunately what we have today is a kind of scorched earth partisanship.

You are correct about too much money being spent even in gridlock. I find, however, that usually legislation gets passed in bi-partisan fashion only when the legislation is no-brainer kind of stuff, or when both parties realize it is politically expedient for them to do so.

I suppose given the way things currently are, I lean toward gridlock. In addition, I think the only politicians interested in bi-partisanship are the one's whose party is in the minority. Notice how they are the only ones who speak about it?

Anonymous said...



Ted M. Gossard said...

Allan, Good point. But honorable compromise is a part of good politics, in my mind. That is where I lean. For example, President Reagan signed a bill to cut down on the number of abortions, though it didn't go as far as he wanted. He didn't agree with it in total, but thought it best to get it into law, since he saw it moving in the right direction. I think one can do that, as long as their goal remains the same.

Not only the church, but governments and nation-states have their place as to how people, and specifically the poor and oppressed, are treated. This is evident in the Old Testament prophets speaking not only against theocratic Israel, but against other nations and their treatment of their people and others.

The truncated view of government I was raised up on from "fundamentalism" just doesn't cut it, in my view.

However I do think gridlock is often a blessing. I dislike most of what I see in the extremes of the two parties. And this is part of the checks and balances built into our system by our founding fathers, I believe.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Good points. No argument from me.