Roosevelt and Reagan reveal the dirty rotten secret of bipartisanship. It happens only when one side is cowed, beaten or frightened. More competitive elections mean more ardent debates.
And so it should be. Our government is designed that way. In the Federalist Papers, James Madison offered his bold solution to the problem of clashing interests: more clashing interests. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” he declared.In that way, our partisan debates are no shame. The clash and bluster may not sound pretty, but they are how we choose between great principles.