Why do Republicans constantly talk about compromise and bipartisanship
when Democrats almost never do and when they do, don't mean it?
Democrats rarely compromise when they are in the majority.
While John McCain
promised those gathered at the Republican National Convention in St.
Paul that he would "reach across the aisle" and put Democrats and
Independents in a McCain administration, Democrats are busy sending out
fund-raising letters asking for donations so they can win a
"gridlock-proof Senate majority" and won't have to compromise with
Where are principles in this? Why aren't conservatives arguing in
favor of the superiority of their ideas rather than attempting to win
"Miss Congeniality" awards from liberals?
Republicans who practice politics of conciliation too often get
their heads handed to them. Recall President George H.W. Bush who
reached out to then-Speaker of the House Jim Wright at Mr. Bush's
Inauguration in 1989, promising unity, harmony and compromise.
Mr. Wright's smile revealed he knew Mr. Bush could be had and that
Mr. "Read My Lips, No New Taxes" seemed more intent on keeping his
promise to be a nice guy than in keeping his promise not to increase
taxes. When Mr. Bush compromised with Democrats and signed off on a tax
increase, it doomed his re-election chances.
Bipartisanship should not be an end, but a means. Instead of talking
about populating his administration with Democrats and Independents,
John McCain should list the problems he intends to solve and how he
intends to solve them. Only then should he recruit Democrats and
Independents who agree on the problems and his proposed resolutions.
A national telephone survey by Rasmussen Reports
(www.rasmussenreports.com), posted Aug. 27, finds just 9 percent of
likely voters gave Congress positive ratings, while 51 percent said
it's doing a poor job. This is an issue Mr. McCain should embrace.
Harry Truman made the Republican "do-nothing Congress" an effective
campaign issue in 1948. While lightning rarely strikes twice in
politics, Mr. McCain might consider a similar tactic.
Rather than just pledge to invite Democrats and Independents to
serve in his administration, he should promise to seek out those
Democrats and Independents who agree with him on six big issues. Each
one wouldn't have to agree on all six, but each could be placed in
positions where he or she could work in concert with, instead of
against, a McCain administration. Such a strategy could divide the more
conservative Democrats from their liberal congressional leadership.
Democrats managed to gain their congressional majority in 2006 by
running more moderate and conservative candidates than liberals. If new
members want to keep their seats, they would support Mr. McCain on the
Those six big issues should be:
(1) Defense/Terrorism (Sen. Joe Lieberman, who understands both would be a fine secretary of defense).
(2) Immigration. Let's effectively seal the border, make
English-speaking Americans of those who are here illegally and then get
about the business of legally admitting more highly-skilled and
educated immigrants who could do more than slap up wallboard and mow
(3) Education. We wouldn't need to import so many highly skilled
workers if we produced more of them in America. School choice, which
emphasizes the student instead of teachers' unions, is the place to
start. Feature testimonies from the parents of poor minority students
to shame Congress into "letting our people go" from failed monopolistic
(4) Health insurance. Make it national instead of parochial. Why can
you buy car insurance and it's good in any state, but health insurance
is good only in the state in which you buy it? Competition would lower
costs, making it available to more people.
(5) Energy independence. Both parties know we need to be free of
most foreign oil. Let's get a man-on-the-moon project going and do it.
(6) Social Security and Medicare reform. Mr. McCain can start by
using the 1997 Bill Clinton-Newt Gingrich agreement, which, according
to U.S.News & World Report (www.usnews.com), was never implemented
due to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
I am sure Mr. McCain can find Democrats and Independents who believe
in one, or more (or all) of these six big issues and can work alongside
Republicans to solve them, instead of indulging in the constant
bickering and political partisanship that does little to promote the
general welfare, but promotes instead the welfare of partisans.