Monday, February 15, 2010

Leading nowhere

isconsin Political Fix
not just another blog
February 15, 2010

By Bill Kraus

Bipartisanship is something that occurs between peers, among peer groups.

The chief executive, whether the president or governor, has no peer or peer group. The executive proposes, the legislature disposes. It is in the process of disposition that multiple voices are heard and compromise is both possible and necessary.

To accuse Obama of not being bi-partisan is misguided.

If we aren’t getting enough input from all sectors, more compromise from any sectors, if we are gridlocked, we should be looking to the legislative leaders not the executive branch.

It’s a nice bit of showmanship for Obama to talk to the Congressional Republicans. But if it’s action or movement that’s wanted, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the ones who should be talking to the Congressional Republicans in general and the Republican leaders specifically. All the time.

At a less partisan time in our state and our history, this was common, normal behavior.

What legislative leaders know, or should know, is that when a solution is proposed, the problem is forgotten, and the solution becomes the problem.

It is the legislative leaders’ job to keep the problem in the forefront and search for a solution that is not a problem. The late, great Bill Kellett referred to this as "keeping your eye on the squirrel."

The legislative leaders in Washington clearly are not doing that.

Until and unless they start doing their jobs, the majority is going to impose its will and ride roughshod, to the extent that’s possible, over the minority, and the minority is going to oppose everything in hopes that all that is proposed will fail and they will become the majority again.

Legislative governance has become a search for advantage not resolution, and assuredly not progress.

And the winner is? The status quo in most cases.

This in a country that is crying out for change, for action, for thinking anew.

The president, the governors have bully pulpits.

The legislative leaders have the power to give the country what it wants and needs.

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