Thursday, September 18, 2008

What exactly does "working across the aisle" mean?

This talk about "reaching across the aisle" is - in my opinion - a false argument. I just watched an interview with MN Gov Pawlenty on the MSNBC show Road to the Whitehouse. On it, Pawlenty criticized Obama for not reaching across the aisle on any single major issue. The only one that he cited Obama doing was on tracking down nuclear warheads, and (as Pawlenty said) that passed unanimously (with the implication that unanimous votes are not worthy of noting when you are trying to work across the aisle). Then he said that McCain crossed the aisle on (among other things) climate change and torture. Hmmm... So, Pawlenty said that everyone's for  tracking down nuclear warheads, so that's not and example of "working across the aisle". However climate change (which is only the largest threat to the security of our generation and future generations) and torture (something that we should be against no matter what) are two examples of McCain working across the aisle.

Ummm... So, when a Republican senator breaks ranks and does something ethical, that's called "crossing the aisle." When a Democrat doesn't have to side with Republicans to do something ethical, then that's "being partisan." There doesn't seem to be any analysis of quality of the working relationships. The main question that passed through my head was, "Why did Republicans vote against global warming and the future security of our country?" "Why did Republicans vote for torturing people that we don't even know in the first place are guilty of war crimes?"

Also, I haven't done any analysis of this, but it seems that much of the commentary of McCain's going "across the aisle" predate his most recent senate term. Pawlenty cited many instances three or more years ago when McCain worked "across the aisle." Then he says that Obama doesn't have that sort of record. Well... that's like me saying that Pawlenty's experience of being an American is outweighed by my father's experience. Which is a false statement, because the quality of the number of years for each man is different, and because the quantity of number of years is different. If they want to be compared, then they need to be standardized.


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