Democracy Arsenal

« No one to call in Iran | Main | What Good Are Policy Specialists, Any Way? »

January 11, 2008

What Is Bipartisanship Good For, Any Way?
Posted by David Shorr

Does bipartisanship on foreign poliicy have anything to offer in an election season? Brian Katulis says not much -- it's time to have it out and let the better side win. Matt Yglesias says consider the source and the content. For me, it depends on what you expect to get out of bipartisanship.

Brian is right that there needs to be a vigorous debate about the recent policy and its consequences. I'm not really worried that this will slip off the campaign radar screen, though. But what we need to realize is that bipartisan can really help strengthen the argument for the major shift in direction we all want and need. Republican disaffection is significant, and it's not limited to Jim Leach and Chuck Hagel.

The bipartisanship I have in mind (and have actually been operationalizing) isn't so much about 2008 but laying the policy agenda ground for 2009. That was the purpose of the consensus-building confab the Stanley Foundation convened in late-November with the express purpose of re-posturing the US toward the world -- and which actually produced a consensus statement (with Brian Katulis as one of the participants).

It's also the point of our book, Bridging the Foreign Policy Divide, about which Matt is more ambivalent. Recently when I was on an Iowa Public Radio talk show (scroll to Dec. 19) with my conservative co-editor Tod Lindberg, he made the important point that these documents tell the next president which approaches and ideas s/he could find broad support for. And that's the other key thing about bipartisanship, whatever the outcome in November the reality of our two-party system is that broad support will be a sine qua non for almost anything important we want to do.

As Brian reminds us, we can't expect consensus on the entire foreign policy agenda. I readily admitted that Iraq isn't a ripe subject for bipartisanship in a post last summer, when I went one round with Matt and Anne-Marie Slaughter on the issue.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What Is Bipartisanship Good For, Any Way?:


Really? If the Democrats act like Republicans have been acting, and if a Democratic president decides to put Bush's "unitary executive" powers to good use, maybe they won't need as much bipartisan support for some intitiatives as you anticipate. The problem is getting the much more diverse Democratic congress to act in lockstep the way the Republicans did. But if they did, even with a slim majority, it seems that a Democratic administration could wield the kind of influence Bush did, and that didn't depend much on bipartisan support.

at the top of this list for me is billons for the civilian foreign affairs agencies for which we ll need all the support we can get

Frankly, I don't think consensus among the foreign policy community advising a new President who hasn't done his (or her) own thinking about foreign policy is worth very much.

Foreign policy is made in a political context, and requires a degree of trust on the part of the great majority of Americans who do not devote much of their own attention to the subject. Such trust is extended far more readily, by both the public and the Congress, to a President than it is to any group of people whose role in government would never be more than, essentially, staff.

Substantively this is not always a good thing, as President Bush's first six years in office demonstrated; trust can be misplaced, especially in disorienting circumstances. It is a fact of political life, though. A President suspected of not really knowing what he is doing in the foreign policy field will always be a magnet for public criticism and opposition in Congress, regardless of how talented his advisers are (or think they are) and regardless of whether the actual foreign policy situation is all that bad.

This is a real risk for every candidate remaining in the Presidential race, with the possible exception of John McCain. Plenty of people in both parties are spinning furiously right now, putting together cases for their favorite candidate's foreign policy experience that clear the bar of plausibility -- the only thing the media, with its unrelenting focus on the campaign itself, really pays attention to most of the time. Some of them do it because they are angling for positions in the next administration; most of them do it because they are either projecting hopefully their own views onto their candidates or trying to give their candidates reputations to uphold.

But ground truth is that all the candidates who have done serious thinking of their own about foreign policy -- Biden, Dodd, Richardson -- are out of the race on the Democratic side (McCain for me is a special case; I acknowledge his record and for the most part respect his judgment, but think him utterly wrong on the salient foreign policy issue we face now -- Iraq -- and moreover consider him too old to be President). The candidates remaining are foreign policy novices, most of whom would much rather deal with the domestic policy issues on which they have made whatever reputations they now have.

It is probably idle to say that we can't afford another foreign policy novice -- the third one in a row -- in the White House, since we are likely to get one whether we can afford it or not. If we are very lucky the one we get will do did what Truman eventually did, which was to empower one trusted subordinate with preeminent responsibility for foreign policy and trust that subordinate to create and enforce his own consensus throughout the relevant agencies. That was a unique time, of course, and Truman was unique himself. More recent administrations (and all more recent Democratic administrations) have tended toward a less orderly, not to say chaotic policymaking structure. Our margin for error in the foreign policy field is less than it used to be, however, and the path to a successful foreign policy for any new President will be narrower in the future than it has been in years past.

How come we never heard about the bipartisan thing from the MSM when Bush was just steamrolling the country? It only seems to have come up now that the Dems have some power, though they are too fucking cowardly to use it on the whole.

Ezra Klein linked you for this article and pointed out that at a policy-level, bipartisanship isn't hard. Convincing two polar opposite wonks of a sensible compromise happens a lot. At an 'operational' level, as in Senators and Congressmen, it is much harder. Ask Lincoln Chafee about compromise and bipartisanship...

The Democrats could do without the so callled bipartisan ideas of O'Hanlon and Pollack.

Thanks for the tip on Ezra Klein's post. I'll reply here shortly. We're the kind of group that has access to the MSM and may yet get some attention. We got these materials into the hands off all the poobahs gathered at University of Oklahoma the other day. As a career-long advocate, I often face the challenge of getting media attention for things like this. Part of it is what Zathras says about how reporters are consumed by the personalities and process of the campaign. The blogosphere is really helpful (even to us VSP-types) in getting things into circulation without having them in the pages of the NYT or WaPo.

The comment from Peace about Mike O'Hanlon got me thinking about the semiotics of O'Hanlon. Mike is a person, and I don't want to demonize him, however much I might disagree with him on Iraq. Here's what I infer from seeing his and Kenneth Pollack's names invoked so regularly: moderate foreign policy liberals (the type who go in for bipartisanship) don't really stand for anything distinct from our conservative counterparts. I'll quickly add that many of you do not believe that, I recognize.

But I have a dare -- albeit a transparently self-interested one. I would like any of you who does harbor the kind of image of moderates I'm describing to read the Bridging the Foreign Policy Divide book (Routledge). See if the ten chapters look conservative to you. If there is someone who can't afford the $19.95 (or whatever the discounted price is), get in touch with the Stanley Foundation and we'll get one to you, though in such a case I would definitely expect a book report.

Welcome to our game world, my friend asks me to buy some 12sky gold . I do not know how to use the twelvesky Gold ; my friend tells me how to use. I will thank for my friends bringing me in this world. I am not regret to buy 12Sky Silver Coins . We all love game, if you want to play it, please buy 12 sky gold and join us. Please do not hesitate to have game.

When you have aoc gold, you will become strong. With conan gold, you can upgrade and admire by others. You can use age of conan gold to start the journey of the world. So, do not hesitate, let us move to buy cheap aoc gold

You will not regret to have flyff gold . So I will continue to have cheap penya , it is a beautiful fairy tale, it looks like my life.

I hope i can get Sho Online Mun in low price,
Yesterday i bought Sho Mun for my friend.

My friends and I like to buy Anarchy credits. They understand me so well, Anarchy online gold is my favorite.

You will not regret to have flyff gold .

My friends and I like to buy Anarchy credits. They understand me so well, Anarchy online gold is my favorite.

I want to buy some gw gold , but I do not know where to buy and how to buy GuildWars Gold gratis porno
porno izle teen porn

Thank you for your sharing! I like i very much!

Looking for bipartisan consensus is always a fine thing to do and necessary after the elections, but progressives should not let their national security deficit disorder drive them instinctively to a split-the-difference approach when it is not in the country's interests before the election is won. Americans want a real debate on national security, and recent events in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan demonstrate that it's a debate that America sorely needs to have.

Chanel Handbags are woman’s dream come true.

Chanel, a fashion name that has become synonymous with femininity since 100 years, is on the must-have list of every fashion-conscious woman.? And we bring these must-have Chanel Handbags at never before discounts, just for you.

It is only when you come across an Chanel New Arrivals, do you realize the power of her words.? Chanel handbags are crafted not just to be trendy, but trend-setting.? Hardly has lived a celebrity who has not been seen carrying a Chanel handbag under her arm; such has the influence of Chanel handbags as a fashion statement.

Chanel handbags have been so popular in the elite classes of the society, that their pricing is usually prohibitive for everyone else.? Discount Chanel handbags are really difficult to come across, but today should be your lucky day.? We bring you a superb unbeatable range of Chanel Flap bags, all at fantastic discounts.? With us, you have an incredible chance to buy your favorite Chanel handbags at rock bottom prices!

Chanel Handbags have always been at the forefront of luxury and style.? The Chanel classic quilted leather handbags and its reinventions have ruled fashion since forever.? Chanel handbags have remained extremely popular as they continue to merge evolving modern trends with the class and simplicity of its original avatar.

An Chanel 2008 Collection and Chanel 2009 Collection single handedly enhances the look you are carrying.? The reason you would buy a Chanel handbag is own a bag that mingles with your charm and intensifies it with its inherent simplicity.? If you have owned an authentic Chanel handbag before, you know what we are talking about.? If you are one of the unlucky people who haven’t yet gotten a chance to own an Chanel Cambon, now is your chance to shop for an authentic Chanel handbag and discover its ability to transform your look completely.

Buy Chanel handbags with us, and get fabulous discounts which you will never get at your favorite store.? We offer cheap authentic Chanel handbags and they are all up for grabs!

Both sides of the symmetrical lines, wantonly flaunt a perfect Louis Vuitton handbagsline, in the right case, the border, from 9 o'clock to 12 o'clock position to develop a unique design to show the whole concept of asymmetry, resulting in visual surprise, crown, located in the the right to beautiful, 4 o'clock position of the bright red jujube board. Black dial with white silkLouis Vuitton handbags screen printing, second hand with red paint, resulting in the formation of brand image is more out of color.

it looks nice and I want to give my opinion

timberland boots uk is the classic American success story of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps - literally. In 1918, Nathan Swartz began a boot-making career as an apprentice stitcher at The Abington Shoe Company in Massachusetts. He started on the lowest rung on the ladder, learned his trade, and through hard work and determination eventually became the owner of the company.timberland sale Swartz and his sons continued to make shoes and boots for many manufacturers, and in the 1960s they produced the first truly waterproof boots. The innovation came by fusing soles to leather uppers without stitching.Comfortable enough to wear all day and rugged enough for all year round.waterproof bootstimberland boots sale are equipped to help people make a difference in their world, whatever your definition of that may be. Whether a true hiker or just hiking to work, from boots to chukkas to boat shoes to dress casual oxfords, ShoeMall has men's Timberland shoes of all styles. Our women's timberland boots sale range from rugged boots to delicate ballet flats, for however you want to walk through your day. We also have a brand new selection of kids' Timberland shoes. They're the perfect way to start your little adventurer's day off right! And, as always, we offer free shipping on all cheap timberland boots

e biodegradablechanel bags when you "stoop and scoop."
Dispose of animal waste according to the campground rules or bury it off-road.
Observe fire coguccinditions and always keep a full jug of water nearby.
Remove flammable brush near fire pits and keep campfires small.
Don't burn plastics and metalshermes.
Use non-toxic, phosphate-free, biodegradable cleaning supplies and sanitary additives.
Reduce the need louis vuitton for air-conditioning by parking in natural shade, opening windows, using awnings or portable sun shelters.
Wash air-conditionidesignerng filters when dirty, instead of buying new ones each time.
Reduce the need to turn on heat designer handbagsby parking in a sheltered spot, out of the north and west winds.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Guest Contributors
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use