Will Daschle, Bush find bipartisanship?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 7, 2001

Talk about a chance to put your money where your mouth is. As the U.S. Senate’s historic switch in power took place on Wednesday, the new Senate Majority Leader once again called for bipartisanship.

&uot;We need to prove to the American people that we can overcome the lines that too often divide us,&uot; new Majority Leader Tom Daschle said. &uot;We need to prove that we can do the work the American people have sent us to do.&uot;

Those are strong words for the Democrat, and they echo the call for bipartisanship that President George W. Bush issued during his campaign and his early days in office.

Yet the proof will come from action, not rhetoric.

In a nation weary from political partisanship – from the debacle of court rulings in the presidential election in 2000 to the high-drama, high-pressure defection of Sen. James Jeffords from the Republican Party – the issues of partisanship and party loyalty pale beside the greater concerns of tax cuts, fiscal responsibility, educational needs and the economy.

And party politics, while a necessary by product of our country’s political system, should not become the focus of our democracy. Responsible governance should be.

What we want is simply good leadership, responsible leadership, passionate and visionary leadership.

And, in the end, it doesn’t matter if that leadership is Democratic or Republican or independent. What matters is that the leadership, and the leaders we elected, are effective. And for that to happen, they must put aside party politics and power struggles and, as Daschle said, &uot;prove that we can do the work the American people sent us to do.&uot;