The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

January 14, 2013

Who says politicians can’t be friends?

Monday, January, 14, 2013 — There was a time when members of Congress actually spoke to each other.

Without regard to party affiliation, they would travel, eat and socialize together.

The late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, a Democrat, spoke at the memorial service for his good friend Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens.

He recalled how the two of them found much common ground and became fast and good friends.

They would visit each other’s homes, their children became friends and, most amazing of all, they campaigned for each other.

There are other such stories throughout political lore and it proves just how much our politics have degraded into one giant yell fest that has given little or no results.

The late Tim Russert once said a major reason for the downturn in comity in Congress was the advent of air travel.

Times were when Congressional members didn’t take the first VIP jet home. They actually got in cars and drove the sometimes hundreds of miles together.

The late Rep. Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois was at one time the most powerful Democrat on Capitol Hill.

He was chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee which wielded power and money when budget time came.

The Republican leader of the House at the same time was Rep. Robert Michael, who also hailed from Illinois.

When these two men went home during recess, they got in a car and drove the 1,000 miles together.

Along the way they discussed their families, good fishing spots, life in general and by the time they would return to Washington, there might have been some disagreements, but they found ways to compromise and work together.

Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, when needing some help on the Hill, would often place a late night call to Senate Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.

Dirksen would go to the White House where LBJ would have some scotch or bourbon ready that the two men would enjoy while swapping lies with each other.

Then, LBJ would say something like, “Ev, I know you want those nominees approved and I need votes on the bill up tomorrow. What can we do for each other?”

And, it got done for both sides.

These were people who became good friends and although they may have served on the philosophical opposite sides of the aisle, they realized that to get things done they didn’t have to hate or personally attack one another.

The truth is there is no one party or person that holds the copyright on the solutions to the problems the country faces.

Both parties seem to have gone further to the extremes as they fight one another.

It’s time they start toning it down.

Just as a medical operation requires the skills of several different physicians, so it is with politics.

The need is great for people in office to have the skills of constructive debate, common sense, a moral compass and a large dose of reality.

It also wouldn’t be a bad idea for the public in general to find those same skill sets.

There will be no easy, comfortable or fast solutions to America’s woes; however, it is through the political system our democracy works.

Politics is the art of compromise. No one can promise everything they want will happen and there is no one person everyone will agree with totally.

But, there must be some good, decent people who can do the jobs without rancor or bitterness.

The fighting and fussing needs to stop or nothing will change, much less improve.

Abraham Lincoln could have well been speaking of our times when he said, “A house divided against itself will not stand.”

That cautionary statement still holds true.

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    NEW YORK - Economists love hamburgers. Specifically fast-food burgers. This is partly because all right-thinking human beings love ground meat on a bun, but it's also because the sandwich makes a handy yardstick for international financial comparisons. The ingredients and labor involved in preparing a Big Mac are pretty much the same no matter where you are in the world, so by looking at how many hours of toiling it takes a worker to earn enough to purchase one, you can get a sense of how wages really stack up across countries. The Economist famously created the Big Mac index in 1986 to see which currencies were overvalued. It started as a joke. Now, as the magazine proudly notes, it's a subject of academic study.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    WASHINGTON - What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Doug Creamer All in the Family

    We had a family get-together at my brother’s house on Easter Sunday. It’s hard to get our family together because we are spread out, especially when you consider nieces and nephews. My parents and siblings all made the gathering this year. Some of my nieces and nephews are far away, but they all remember gathering at my brother’s house for the holidays. Easter is known for the Jell-O eggs and the famous Easter egg hunt.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    WASHINGTON - The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content