January 11, 2013

Another View: Bipartisanship only works if both parties are reasonable

Congressional Democrats shouldn't try to compromise with Republican extremists.


With respect to Michael Cuzzi's Jan. 6 column in the Maine Sunday Telegram ("Washington's partisan dysfunction a cautionary tale for Augusta"),. I have to take issue with the underpinnings of his argument.

If one has to say "We need both sides to compromise and come across the aisle to get work done for the American people," you've already lost.

If we had a Congress composed of "reasonable people," you wouldn't have to ask them to work together across the aisle because they would already be doing it naturally, because they'd be reasonable people. You cannot compromise with a person basing their ideology around fundamentalist religious beliefs mixed with a hatred of government.

The whole concept of bipartisanship is a distraction from the real issues, and lends weight to the unfortunate notion of equality of ideas.

Some ideas for the direction of the country are simply bad, and giving them equivalent weight in the court of public opinion is a disservice to the country.

We don't give equivalence to the arguments of doctors and medical literature versus those from the CEO of Marlboro cigarettes, and we should be equally comfortable in dismissing antiquated ideas for the economy and government spending as well.

Instead of talking about coming together and compromise, we should be discussing what ideas are worth even considering in the first place.

To do otherwise does nothing but aid those who would gum up the works for their own ideology.

The Bachmann wing, for example, has no interest in compromise, and we should be comfortable with realizing that and moving forward without any attempts to court a wing that only has vested interest in our failure.

Alexander Stevens is a resident of Portland.


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