The former Senate Majority Leader on the need for bipartisan cooperation
By Tom Daschle
All too often Washington is divided along partisan lines. But there was a time when comity between the two parties was the norm and not the exception. During President Ronald Regan’s tenure in office, he was often at odds with Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. At the end of the day, however, they put aside their differences and developed a close friendship.
While I, too, witnessed examples of intense partisanship, I had similar experiences with my colleagues across the aisle. We would travel overseas together, often times learning as much about each other as we did about the countries we visited. By the time I left office, I counted some Republican members as my closest friends in the Senate.
Unfortunately, the current partisan environment has made it more difficult to foster the kind of cross-party alliances that are necessary to address our country’s problems in a meaningful way. That is why I joined Senators Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell to found the Bipartisan Policy Center.
If we want to successfully address issues like health care reform, climate change energy, and national security, members of both parties have to seek common ground. That is the goal of the BPC – creating an environment where Democrats and Republicans can come together and tackle the public policy challenges facing our nation.