One man remembers bipartisanship

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Really, what is the point of bipartisanship? What is the role of the parties? How has that role changed? Political Science 102 final. Either way, Sen. Alan Lasee (R – De Pere), announcing his retirement, thought bipartisanship was important enough to list in a short summary of his career.

Over the years, I’ve had an opportunity to work with many colleagues and governors,

been in and out of the majority, and proudly served as Senate President.  While

Republicans and Democrats may have philosophical differences on a number of

issues, I have many memories of working together in a bipartisan fashion to make this

state an even better place to work, live and raise a family.

Back when the parties were not so ideologically rigid, bipartisanship really was not such a rare thing. Local interests and constituencies defined the Democratic and Republican parties, and thus elected members were not beholden to the national or state-wide party to the same extent as they are now. Party leaders were not as important and did not demand the same type of loyalty that they do today. There were liberals and conservatives in both parties.

However, today the parties are competing in a zero-sum battle, hinged largely on a couple hot-button issues. Voters for one side are much more likely to detest the other. Therefore, why bother hoping that your side can attract the support of some of the bad guys?

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3 Responses to “One man remembers bipartisanship”

  1. Jim Says:

    Did you see the Governing article WisPol linked the other day?
    Explaining why bipartisanship is essentially dead. I wouldn’t say dead (neither did the article, techincally) but it definitely isn’t what it used to be. I’m not going to paraphrase anymore, anyone interested can read the article:
    http://www.governing.com/article/wisconsin-partisan-battles-rule-legislature

  2. Ryan Says:

    Bipartisanship? Kill it off. Why have parties with distinct philosophies if you’re going to expect them to get along and work together? Voters should inform themselves about the parties and candidates running for office, vote for the party they prefer, and let the majority party enact its agenda. There may be some issues about which there is overwhelming agreement and the parties can work together to solve, but politics (and democracy) is fundamentally about disagreement.

  3. Jim Arndt Says:

    “Why have parties with distinct philosophies if you’re going to expect them to get along and work together?”

    To pass legislation, that’s why. The majority party has never been able to completely run the show, the government was set up that way.

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