-By Warner Todd Huston
Last weekend I attended a townhall meeting held by my congressman. During the question and answer period one theme came to the fore that is all too common in America today. That theme was that we need less “partisanship” in Washington D.C., there is too much choosing of sides, too much party politics. Blah, blah, blah. Cry me a river.
What tosh. We don’t need less partisanship in our politics, we need more of it. At least the more honest kind, the kind based on real principles.
One thing was clear from those whining about partisanship, too. They were all the left-wingers in the audience guided there by MoveOn.org’s email blasts. Now the reason the lefties were piteously whining like this is because this particular congressman is one of the more conservative members of the House. (I am not naming him because this is not his opinion and I don’t want anyone to associate this op ed with him) So, their ideas were the ones on the losing end of this congressman’s votes, to be sure.
Of course, if this congressman were to be like most Illinois congressmen — a lefty — these lefty audience members would not be whining about partisanship at all. They’d be happy as clams with a left-winger’s votes and would find the whining about partisanship quixotic.
The problem is that this whole partisanship debate is empty of any logic. What these lefties meant by “too much partisanship” was that this congressman wasn’t left enough for them. They didn’t want a mixture of conservative and liberal ideas, they wanted liberal ideas and that is all. Partisanship to them meant their ideas were losing out. Partisanship to them means other people’s ideas are too prevalent. It’s really just that simple.
So, yes, I am calling them liars. They don’t want anything like bi-partisanship. They want their left-wing ideas to reign supreme.
And that is just the point, here. To be politically engaged means to have an informed opinion. And if you think your ideas are right, why in Heaven’s name would you break your principles just to be “bi-partisan”? You wouldn’t, of course. You’d fight for your ideas.
The fact is when you have strong ideas that means you must come down on a side. And we want people representing us that have chosen a side, understand the issues, can articulate their reasoning, and will fight for their principles accordingly. We want them to vote on a principled position, an informed position, one built on facts, not just a vote that blindly follows Party leadership but is otherwise empty of reason.
After all, if we are voting for a guy that will say in essence, “Gosh, I’ll bend and flip on anything just so that we can have bi-partisanship,” well what are we voting for? We are voting for a reed blowing with the winds and we will get someone we cannot count on for anything.
You see, there is a particular disconnect between this nebulous feeling about “partisanship” and reality. Reality is that we need more people so engaged that they have real principles, informed ideas, and real solutions. Compromise simply for the sake of compromise, compromise just for nicety, is not what we want from our government. We want hard fought, knock down, drawn out fights.
No, what we need is more fighting in Congress not less. What we want to avoid is this lack of principles that leads to namby-pamby bi-partisanship.
On the other hand, if the left wants to just fall to the floor in supplication to bi-partisanship, I am perfectly willing to let them give us the win every time! Otherwise, fight like a man and stop this childish whining.