Partisanship, Who Needs It?

Partisanship, Who Needs It?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Road Less Traveled

The NYT reports on the failure of the Senate GOP to have a time line for withdraw attached the the war funding bill

Senate Backs a Pullout Date in Iraq War Bill

A few observations:

The votes of Chuck Hagel and Gordon Smith crossing over to the Democratic Party side more than mitigated the departure of Joe Lieberman's crossing to the right side of the aisle. After the election in 2006 many saw Lieberman as being in the driver's seat and playing the role of Kingmaker for legislation. This it turns out is not really the case. His vote on many issues still may well be the pivotal one, but he doesn't occupy that seat alone sharing it for the moment with the two aforementioned GOP senators and Democrat Ben Nelson who had voted against the withdrawal just two weeks ago.

It will be interesting to see if Chuck Hagel is afforded the same warmth from the left that Lieberman has received from the right. Conservatives will surely pile on their criticisms of Hagel, just as Liberals had demonized Lieberman prior to the 2006 election for his stance on the War in Iraq. Additionally it will be interesting to see if right-wing supporters will propose giving Hagel whatever he wants like they claimed the left would have to do for Lieberman's vote.

Finally, will there be a recognition that there is a viable center position that desires a compromise and doesn't see the issue in black and white that most have tried to portray it as and has led to this legislation. If the administration had put in place a little more performance standards for continued funding of some projects, had been less resistant to oversight, or had been a little more up front about the situation from the beginning perhaps that may have been recognized, but now that it has come down to such bitter confrontation will any be able to look past and see the middle course and realize that it is not always a medicine that is reluctantly taken, but the better cure.

The President will most certainly veto any time line bill that reaches his desk, the response of Congress to this will be a lot of finger pointing and accusations, but after that it is uncertain what will occur. Will the White house be willing to compromise to the middle ground, reaching out to the opposition and offering some concessions? Will the Congress offer to remove the time line in exchange for some other concession? I doubt it, but there is always hope.

Robert Frost wrote of the road less traveled:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference
The two roads that lie before us are not that of "Stay the Course" and "Cut and Run" they are the roads of "Partisanship" and "Cooperation", and should the one less traveled by be taken, it may well make all the difference.

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