I agree with outgoing House Majority Leader Tom DeLay: partisanship can be good, if it's based on principles.

Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, bowing to legal and ethical troubles, said goodbye to the House on Thursday and took a shot at his liberal opponents. Some Democrats walked out during the farewell.

The 11-term Republican from Texas, said it is customary for departing lawmakers to "reminisce about the 'good old days' of political harmony and across-the-aisle camaraderie."

"I can't do that," he said.

"For all its faults, it is partisanship _ based on core principles _ that clarifies our debates, that prevents one party from straying too far from the mainstream and that constantly refreshes our politics with new ideas and new leaders," DeLay said.

Is it more important to "get along", or to pass bills that line up with the desires of the majority of the electorate? I'd say the latter. The voters, through elections, set the strategy for the legislature, and the subsequently elected majority should pay little attention to the minority members -- though keeping in mind that those currently in the majority will eventually be in the minority themselves. Unanimity within the majority party may be something to strive for, but "bipartisanship" shouldn't be the principle thrust of every bill. The majority should focus on passing bills that fit the strategy they were elected to implement.

This is not to say that I advocate partisanship that manifests as rule-breaking, mud-slinging, or "gotcha" politics. Those aren't necessary and can be quite destructive.



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