Thursday, April 2, 2009
Given the radical changes in Washington and the dramatic times we’re living in, I wondered what the environment would be like this year in Washington. What I’ve seen is a combination of excitement about a fresh start and a certain amount of trepidation in the face of the almost unprecedented economic challenges currently facing the government.
One interesting facet of the excitement is the fact that it is not limited to the Democrats. Of course, the Democrats are thrilled to be in control of both Congress and the White House and see almost endless possibilities of legislative change on all fronts. But at the same time, some Republicans feel somewhat relieved to be back in the minority, for at least three reasons: first, it gives them a chance to unify the party behind the core principles that they feel define them; second, it puts them back on the offense, where they can challenge the majority and not lose focus defending their president’s policies and third, it gives them a break from being associated with a President whose popularity had sunken to historically low levels. Now they can refocus, start over and attack.
For our purposes, these partisan divides are of academic interest, but do not affect our issues very much. Our success or failure on our positions on taxation, voting and representation do not turn on partisan winds, but on the commitment of specific individuals. We find that once we have established a certain relationship with a particular member of Congress, partisan issues are largely irrelevant. Once people hear and really understand our issues, they have little hesitation in accepting our positions. Either they are interested or they are not, but they are rarely directly opposed to us. Being able to cross the partisan divide and have that sort of support on both sides of the aisle allows us to continue to move our agenda forward, regardless of who is in charge.
Posted by Andy Coyne at 6:01 PM