The Art of Bipartisanship Is Not Dead

Posted: Mar 21, 2012 7:57 PM
Sens. Bob Dole and Howard baker are being honored at a Bipartisan Policy Center dinner tonight in Washington. While the media is reporting this as a toast to the lost art of bipartisanship, it's possible to look past the ideological blinders to see real bipartisanship.

That doesn't matter to the Associated Press, however, when an article reads,

Once upon a time in Congress, compromise between Republicans and Democrats was the norm... That sounds quaint after more than a year of divided government mired in standoffs over the nation's troubled economy and, lately, a selection of long-settled social issues like access to contraception and the Violence Against Women Act. So polarized is Congress in the 2012 election year that centrists like Maine Republican Olympia Snowe and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson are fleeing.

The media loves to portray this as a problem with Republicans. But despite the left-wing media's attempts to frame, for example, Paul Ryan as a conservative maverick who's out of step with the mainstream, he's had many Democrats to work with on his march to entitlement reform. Ryan originally worked with Democrat Alice Rivlin on a groundbreaking Medicare reform plan, and recently put out an overhaul with Sen. Ron Wyden that won plaudits from serious reformers.

Or look to the bipartisan Medicare reform legislation put forward by Sens. Tom Coburn and Joseph Lieberman - something bold and innovative that has a shot at stemming the tide of entitlement red ink facing the nation.

No, because they're ideologically invested in pretending that Republicans are "the party of no" and standing athwart the pragmatic plodding of President Obama and the Democrats that they can't see serious bipartisanship being accomplished. The Senate may be a little more polarized, but bipartisanship is not dead.