Jimmy Carter Urges Bipartisanship; Uses Giving Away Panama Canal As A Good Example Of What Bipartisanship Can Accomplish

The Associated Press is reporting that Jimmy Carter is urging Obama to meet individually with GOP leaders to heal “an unprecedented divide” between our two major political parties. While I agree with his sentement, I can’t help but think “there goes Jimmy again” when he gives the following example of how bipartisanship can work:

Former President Jimmy Carter and former Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker are lamenting the partisan politics in Washington and say Democrat and Republican leaders should work together because voters are getting frustrated.

Carter said Wednesday the division between the two parties over health care reform and other issues is unprecedented.

Baker, a Republican, and Carter, a Democrat, worked together on the Panama Canal treaty during the late 1970s. The treaty returned control of the passage to Panama two decades later.

I would like to see a more civil and respectful tone return to debate of differing views in D.C. I can’t say I’m too excited to use an example that says “look how much we can give away if we just work together to do so.”

Yeah, that’s two national posts in a row. I’m Irish, today is March 17th, you figure it out. I’ll be back to working on some state issues after another pint or two.


  1. Buddha the Magnificent says:

    I’m not clear that a “more civil and respectful tone return to debate of differing views in D.C.” is possible when one political party seeks to transform the United States into France West.

    • ByteMe says:

      And the other spent 2002-2006 milking it for its own personal financial gain. Yep, hard to reconcile those two opposing forces when you toss in the incivility of the media giving time to the loudest clowns amongst us.

  2. B Balz says:

    Two reasons for political gridlock that may not be apparent:

    1.) The reps choose their District. In years past district’s were not gerrymandered by the legislative rep., now they choose their voters. That insures longevity.

    2.) The reps travel home to the Districts and do not live in WDC. In years past the reps, and more importantly their families, lived, attended church, school, and entertained in WDC. That meant social interaction and a lot more opportunity for compromise, without ‘giving everything away.’

    • benevolus says:

      I think there are other things that promote gridlock more. Having only two parties is first among them. Whatever one party does, the other has to oppose it or forfeit political advantage. With more parties, coalition building becomes part of the equation.

      Also, I don’t think longevity in office is inherently bad for governing.

  3. I believe the high level of partisanship has to do with a few factors:

    1 – People are not operating under a common set of values any longer. Across this country we no longer have a common culture with common heroes and common underlying assumptions about the nature of mankind and the forces of government.

    2 – Attack of the Killer Egos. In the age of instant celebrity, egos run as wild as Godzilla in Tokyo after eating a bad burrito. Folks in Washington are quick to believe their own press. Lobbyists and media munchkins reinforce that delusion.

    3 – The stakes in Washington are bigger than ever before. As the national government increases in size then the importance of the players increases proportionately. This is yet another reason to reduce our government’s size and scope.

    4 . Power tends to corrupt. Absolute powwer corrupts absolutely” – Lord Acton. ’nuff said.

  4. bird says:

    I was at this event this morning, and my take away from these statesmen as the reasons for exacerbated partisanship are:

    1. Gerrymandering (h/t Balz)
    2. No socializing (h/t Balz)
    3. Fox/MSNBC/Rush/etc. paying attention to only extreme positions and reinforcing, rather than challenging, beliefs.

  5. Game Fan says:

    Actually there’s TWO primary reasons that I’m a self-identified Republican. One would be Ronald Reagan of course. The other would be Jimmy Carter.

  6. Progressive Dem says:

    We pack congressional districts with like minded people and we end up getting people like Broun and McKinney. Legislating is about building coalitions and concensus. That’s impossible when you elect extremists who can’t work across the aisle.

    • Harry says:

      I hope you’re not trying to draw an equivalency between them. Unlike Cynthia McKinney, Broun has a professional background as a respected medical doctor and is not an anti-semite.

    • Mozart says:

      “Legislating is about building coalitions and concensus”

      AND, don’t forget buying that consensus with payoffs and more federal dollars for a district/state (see Landrieu, Mary)

      • benevolus says:

        That’s the most extreme federalism I’ve ever heard. We don’t even want Reps-and even Senators!- to represent their own districts/states; everyone should only be concerned with the greater good – as defined by Peach Pundit?

      • ByteMe says:

        It has always been thus. You think that slaves would have been allowed if not for wanting to get the southern states into the union? Coalitions and consensus building sometimes looks like bribery to the outsider.

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