A New Era in Bipartisanship in the Offing?

In today's issue of the Los Angeles Times, Ron Brownstein takes a look at the current political climate and surmises that the path to victory in 2008 will be bipartisanship and independence.

As campaign 2006 heats up, the first important new theme of the 2008 presidential election may be emerging.

From Washington state to Maryland, candidates in both parties are running against the relentless partisan conflict that now defines life in the nation's capital. In an era when party-line voting in Congress has reached the highest level, by some measures, since the 1890s, a growing number of office-seekers are pledging to operate as an independent voice and a bridge between the parties if voters give them a ticket to Capitol Hill. In the process, they are honing arguments likely to be common in the race to succeed President Bush.

For evidence supporting his conclusion, Brownstein cites as examples Republican Senate candidates Jim Talent of Missouri, Mark Kennedy of Minnesota, Michael Steele in Maryland and Mike McGavick in Washington. Brownstein acknowledges that their rhetoric does not match their record -- Talent and Kennedy have extremely partisan voting records (which Brownstein mentions) and Steele and McGavick are closet conservatives (which Brownstein doesn't) -- but writes this off by noting that a number of Democratic Senate hopefuls (Jim Pederson in Arizona and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania) as well as Joe Lieberman are also running more bipartisan campaigns.

[T]he candidates pledging more cooperation are tapping into what polls show is public exhaustion with the bruising collisions between the parties that dominated most of President Clinton's term and have consumed almost every day of Bush's presidency.

Whatever happens to McGavick and the others, they are blazing trails presidential contenders from both parties are likely to follow. These '06 campaigns are an early signal that in '08, many Americans may want a president who, as someone once put it, will govern as a "uniter, not a divider.

This seems like an awfully large stretch to me. A handful of candidates, many of whom have a long track record of extreme partisanship, profess their independence and voila, that's going to be the ticket to success in two years? Now perhaps a hardline ideologue who claims to be independent -- a la John McCain, for instance, or George W. Bush in 2000 -- will be able to win his party's nomination (and maybe even the White House) in 2008, but there is no way that a true non-partisan will get anywhere close to winning the general election, let alone the primaries.

Think back to the 2004 Democratic primaries. Joe Lieberman, who at one point was viewed as the heir apparent to the Clinton-Gore lineage and thus on the inside track to the party's nomination, came in a distant fifth in the supposedly deliberative New Hampshire primary. Or look to 1996. Not long after the federal government was shut down, pro-choice "moderate" Arlen Specter made a bid for the Republican presidential nomination. His candidacy failed to get off the ground entirely. I could name you more supposedly moderate and independent candidates who failed to connect with their parties, even in times of extreme partisanship, but I don't think it's worth the space.

Every four years we hear the same Beltway crowd clamoring for presidential candidates above the partisan fray. But until I see any indication that voters are interested in candidates who are actually independent of the normal ideological and partisan template rather than candidates who just claim to be so, I think it's best to just disregard these pundits.

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Independents Rejoice: Ex-Nixon Counsel Calls for Support of Feingold Censure Resolution

Today, A die-hard republican and key member of the Richard Nixon Administration called for his party to support the Feingold Bush Censure resolution..

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/03/31/s enate.censure.ap/index.html

This member of the white house staff is a man named John Dean. Dean was a party to the White House/ Watergate scandal and saw America come apart at the seams over the impeachment proceedings of a president.

His message is simple - he is urging the Senate to support, and act upon a Censure resolution that does, what the original moveon.org censure resolution wanted to do: avert the disruption of an entire country by showing the world that America can recognize bad government, and effectively admonish those responsible.

The conservatives are our friends: they are the ones who are working for more effecient government. What bush has created, is far from a conservative  government - it is a bizarre, evangelical, ultimately - a fascist state-planning commitee whose use of unbridled force in the world has tagged america with a 200 billion dollar a year albatross around her neck; as Colin Powell said - the "Effing crazies are in charge".

Democrats are conservative - they are well aware of Katrina excess, of all the lobbying going on that has resulted in environmental catastrophe and unheard of government ineffeciency so profound the first attack on American soil has been suffered in nearly 170 years of history.  They seek lowest cost solutions to such problems as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda - not only that, they seek better solutions - they are hardly the free spending, evangelicals that are now in power. A bush republican, is not a republican.

Dean Democrats are people who can balance budgets, and fight for what is right.  This is another Dean, one who served his country well - speaking up for what we all know to be true: President George W. Bush deserves Censure, from the American people - his legacy must be marked by some accountability for his actions.

Should he ignore the censure resolution in a signing statement, it would galvanize the entire American spectrum for a radical change in government. Dean knows what he's talking about.

And Dean, the Dem, knows what to do, when America is ready for direct action. Thats what the Russ Feingold supporters are saying: lets stop talking and get something done.

If the person standing next to you claims to be a conservative, and supports bush, then you know you've met the enemy. What you're seeing here, is a great republican - a true conservative finally standing up and saying enough is enough: America needs to stop the wild ride of George W. Bush now, or it will cost us millions later.

Support Dean. Support - .. Dean.

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