Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Great Comments from Dick Lugar in Defeat

The Honorable Richard Lugar has written an amazing good-bye letter, that I think everyone should read.  Full letter is here...
Some wonderful paragraphs below:
 Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting.  Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle.  One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset.  Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas.  It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times.  Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today - from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.

I don't remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other.   Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change.  Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases.  For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc.  Similarly, most Democrats are constrained when talking about such issues as entitlement cuts, tort reform, and trade agreements.  Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives.   If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance.  Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader.

I hope that as a nation we aspire to more than that.  I hope we will demand judgment from our leaders.  I continue to believe that Hoosiers value constructive leadership.  I would not have run for office if I did not believe that.

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