EJ Dionne writes this morning of a chat he had with retiring Senator Chris Dodd. At some point after the obligatory "I love your work, EJ", followed by the "no, no, no Senator--I love YOUR work" conversation, they got down to brass tacks. And while I would rather poke knitting needles into my eardrums than be a fly on the wall during this conversation, Dodd did say something with which I agree:
"There's nothing wrong with partisanship," Dodd thunders. "A little more civility would be a good thing, but it was partisanship that created this place." In the early decades of the republic, Congress "was a brawl." Partisanship simply reflects the reality of disagreement in a free society."
The distinction between partisanship and incivility is an important one. Bi-partisanship sometimes means appropriate, compromise positions--and it sometimes means milquetoast solution-seeking for the sake of seeking solutions.
Three cheers for partisanship, I say.