Sunday, March 28, 2004

Silly Tom

I suppose it's a nice that a columnist admits that he'd rather not know any actual facts because he's already constructed the appropriate mixed metaphor, and he wouldn't want to actually come up with a new one on which he could pin his ramblings.

But, for a moment Friedman moves away from talking about foreign affairs that he knows nothing about and gets to domestic politics, proving he's as clueless about that as he is about everything else.

Most of all, I want to wake up and read that John Kerry just asked John McCain to be his vice president, because if Mr. Kerry wins he intends not to waste his four years avoiding America's hardest problems -- health care, deficits, energy, education -- but to tackle them, and that can only be done with a bipartisan spirit and bipartisan team.

I actually think McCain could boost Kerry's electoral chances, but as for the actual governing part if Friedman believes that a McCain Vice Presidency would somehow stoke the bipartisan fires he's even more clueless than I thought.

A Kerry/McCain ticket would just make McCain persona non grata in the Republican party. He would have no ability to reach across the aisle to his former colleagues - they would spit on him as he walked by.

More generally, I think anyone who preaches the joys of bipartisanship is a fool who has little understanding of how American politics does and should work. Partisanship is a good thing. If the opening position is compromise then the public never receives a healthy debate over the merits of a particular policy. Sometimes I wonder if that's really what members of the Broder school of political analysis really want - to cut the pesky people out of the process.

Of course, well-run government does require that there are a few responsible adults on both sides who can, at the end of the day, come together and iron out their differences. But, bipartisanship is not an end in itself. Democracy requires healthy debate and disagreement.