Partisanship is not patriotism, folks, and if you get out your Federalist Papers, you'll see the founding fathers agreed with me (they called it "factionalism," but it's the same difference). I, for one, cheer when either major party strikes a solid, intellectual stance on important issues like motor-vehicle safety because it raises the bar for the other party to do the same. With that mind, I was cheering just now seeing Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz agreeing entirely with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, of Ohio, a liberal standard-bearer for the Democratic Party, over Toyota's role in an alleged cover-up of safety issues.
I caught the clip live on CNBC moments ago from a street-side television on Main Street. I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was seeing right. But, hooray, a moment of bipartisanship that seemed genuine and constructive, not manufactured or forced. Both gents nodded in agreement virtually every time the other was talking.
Both Chaffetz and Kucinich agreed U.S. safety regulators may have fallen down on the job of ensuring the safety of mass-produced vehicles like Toyota's Prius, and agreed that CEO Toyoda needs to talk to Congress about the company's performance.
Contrast my view--that real bipartisanship is important and laudable--with that of pundits like David Frum. In a recent post, Frum talks about how any failure of the Democratic Party is dandy because that party's misstep is merely an opportunity for the Republicans.
... of course I spend more time and energy on the challenges facing my own [Republican] party than the challenges facing the other. I care more about my party. I want it to win and I want it then to govern well after it wins. As to self-destructive tendencies in the Democratic party: from my point of view, those are opportunities, not problems.
Italics mine. More here.
So to Frum, and all you other crazy partisans, I offer you this: when the party you oppose steps up its game and becomes more attractive to the voting populace, that is all the more reason for your own party to do the same. The only opportunity presented by one party becoming an utter failure is the for the other to fall slightly less hard. I suppose if Frum had his way, Kucinich would have demanded that Toyoda be burned at the stake, allowing Chaffetz to seem reasonable when he said Congress had no role in the issue and free-market principles should be left to determine Toyota's fate.
CNBC doesn't have the video posted yet, but if I find it, I'll post it here.
Update 2-23-10 1:59 p.m.: here it is: