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The Bipartisan Policy Center initiates Housing Commission led by former Secretaries of HUD Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez, and former Senators Kit Bond and George Mitchell: December 2011

"The whole point of a bipartisan strategy of this nature is to develop solutions which are as comprehensive as possible," Secretary Cisneros explained to The Bipartisan Bridge. "Housing is an essential plaform for the quality of life ambitions of most families."  (The following links are to the Bipartisan Policy Center's press release announcing the formation of the Commission, and the Housing Commission's webpage that elaborates on the objectives and approach of the Commission.)

 

Senators Evan Bayh and Lindsey Graham send joint letter to Senate leadership calling for regular bipartisan policy meetings: March 2010

In a letter to the Senate majority and minority leaders, Senators Bayh and Graham lament the institutionalization of partisanship and suggest a means to help bridge the divide.  Here is an excerpt from their letter: "We believe the American people would be well served if both parties agreed to sponsor monthly meetings where all Senators could gather together to informally discuss pressing issues....to maximize the chances of reasoned discourse, and that the informal exchange of ideas is fertile soil for problem solving." The following is a link to the full letter: Bayh-Graham Letter (note that similar suggestions can be found at the following link on the Bipartisan Bridge: Shuffle The Deck: Repubs and Dems Working Together For Meaningful Public Policy).

 

Ranking Senate Partisans (and Bipartisans): survey and article in the newspaper The Hill: April 2009

The Capitol Hill newspaper "The Hill" recently conducted a survey among US Senators as to which Senators are the most bipartisan and which are the most partisan.  The article by J. Taylor Rushing that describes the survey, analyzes the results, and provides the rankings has been posted on its website.  The following is the link to the article:

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/ranking-senate-partisans-2009-04-20.html

 

Voters’ Attitudes about America’s Growing Budget Deficit and National Debt: findings from a nationwide survey among registered voters, conducted by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies and commissioned by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation: March 2009

By a significant margin (56% to 30%), voters prefer a special bipartisan commission over the regular congressional process as the best means by which to begin tackling our growing budget deficit and national debt.  By two to one (61% to 33%), voters feel that the best composition of this bipartisan commission is one made up of outside economic and policy experts in addition to members of Congress from both parties and Obama Administration officials, as opposed to limiting the commission to just policymakers from Congress and the Administration.

 

Lessons from the Chief: Remembering William Rehnquist

Jeff Bleich, former President of the State Bar of California, clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the early 1990s.  In November 2005, he published an article about his experience working with Justice Rehnquist that highlighted the Chief Justice's personal characteristics and "rules for living", which were not widely known.  Despite their differing views on legal principles and philosophy, which often generated lively discussions with the Chief Justice, Mr. Bleich developed a deep and sincere appreciation for Justice Rehnquist.  Justice Rehnquist's selection of Mr. Bleich as his law clerk (while knowing of his views) was a testament to the Chief Justice's respect and appreciation for the diversity of viewpoints and the people who hold them, and Mr. Bleich's article reciprocates with the same values.  The link to Mr. Bleich's article is provided here, as it showcases the spirit that fosters a more collaborative, better-functioning government. 

http://www.osbar.org/publications/bulletin/05nov/rehnquist.html

 

New Bipartisan Website (republished from Donklephant.com): 7-30-08

By Alan Stewart Carl

There’s a new website for those who are looking for something outside the usual partisanship. It’s called Bipartisan Bridge and is striving to be a meeting place/advocacy group for those who what politicians to work towards solutions and stop the endless bickering. Here’s how site founder Brad Kane describes the effort:

The Bipartisan Bridge was created to provoke thoughts, inspire ideas, constructively contribute to the national discourse, and provide a meeting place for all who are dedicated to elevating bipartisanship, non-partisanship, and post-partisanship over the fractiousness of partisanship. As partisanship takes an ever-increasing toll on our governmental institutions, a redirection toward mutually-beneficial collaboration is necessary to stem the tide, before the situation declines beyond repair. While there certainly is a role for partisanship on election day and the month or two leading up to it, it must be contained, so as not to impair our government’s ability to function effectively. The competition of elections must be separated from the collaboration of governing.

I’m always in favor of cooperation over rancor – although vigorous, constructive debate and not blind compromise is, I think, the real goal. To that end, Bipartisan Bridge has posted 50 Bipartisan Policy Ideas which readers can read and presumably discuss on the site’s blog or perhaps on some upcoming community page. Beginning with concrete ideas rather than a general “stop the yelling!” message is a good sign for this new site – after all, being bipartisan and heard is not an easy mission.

Such bipartisan efforts have existed before, from the well-funded but ill-fated Unity08 to the long-running but usually dormant Centrist Coalition (which seems to be pretty much just the Centerfield blog now). Politics is about power and removing yourself from partisanship tends to remove you from power. It’s a bit of a Catch 22 for us independent types.

Nevertheless, I think a lot of people would agree with the Bipartisan Bridge’s message and I hope the site succeeds in bringing some attention to the idea that not every issue has to be a left vs. right power struggle. There are alternative ideas and alternative ways in which to discuss important matters. Check out the site and see what you think.

 

Anti-Poverty Campaign: 6-21-07

Anonymous writes "Former Senators Bill Frist and Tom Daschle are leading a very important anti-poverty campaign called ONE Vote '08, which Bono has also been instrumental in organizing. "

 

Commentary from Peter Sharma of Sirius/Pure Prophet, Ltd: April 2009

Bipartisanship is still partisanship. The two-party system is our second greatest failing as a country, the first being Hamilton's central bank. (We need at least three parties; better to have four or five.)

We must hold the young Chicagoan's feet firmly to the progressive fires and tell the GOP to sit down while we try a different path for a while in an effort to bring fairness to bear and avoid violent revolution world-wide.

Bipartisanship, mollification, and compromise are currently out of the question. It is time for truly radical change and folks need to roll up their sleeves and become part of the solution or step aside and let us do the necessary work.


 
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