The History of Partisanship

I have for you two accounts of bitter partisan ranker throughout our history. Keep in mine we’re a relatively young nation so these examples are few and far between, but they more than cover the gist of my overall point.

Example #1:

The election of 1800. This was the round two between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Adams was running as a member of the Federalist Party, and Jefferson as a member of the Democratic-Republican party. Now, before I go any further let’s remember what the beltway is saying about the so called bitter divide and gridlock in Washington. It’s important that we not only provide concrete historical perspective to dispel this argument coming from these pantie waste scotch breath elites, but we also provide a silver lining and back up the argument on why partisanship and bitter political battles are a good thing.

Now, back to the election 0f 1800. The Jeffersonian-Republicans hated John Adams. I’ll talking about pure hatred and they were the first of their kind when it came to political smears. They invented what we now refer to as “Swift boating”. They spread lie after lie about Adams to the point where it not only cost him the election but it set the stage for partisan warfare in later years. John Adams hated Jefferson for years after this election. I can’t say that I blame him, the Jeffersonian-Republicans never liked the Federalists to begin with. But they were the only ones talking political trash. The Federalists accused the Democratic-Republicans of burning churches and murdering people. And get this, they accused the D-R’s of trying to destroy the country. Hmm, where have we heard that before? Nowadays if you say Barack Obama or any media friendly candidate in both parties of trying to destroy America they call you a partisan, racist, or a nut who hates change.

Example #2:

This is by far the most famous and historical example of partisan street fighting gone array. The duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Now, Burr hated Hamilton from the start because he was bitter over the fact that Hamilton and members of his own party opposed his run for governor of New York. You see, Aaron Burr was a Federalist who didn’t really trust other Federalists, namely Alexander Hamilton. Today we hear things like “radical” or “wing nut”. Back then our founders would level insults wrapped in wit. Anyway one night at a party Hamilton embarrassed Burr to the point of no return. Burr was so miffed he challenged Hamilton to a duel under the code duello rules. We all know how the duel ended with both Burr and Hamilton mortality wounded and both men eventually died as a result of their injuries from that famous gun fight.

My point is simply this: Partisanship is neither uncommon nor at a dangerously high level. If you study history, especially during the Constitutional Conventions where Federalists were beaten and hung by Anti-Federalists over the very ideas of how government should be established, our two party squabbles seem like two little boys fighting over the same robot toy with fast action grip compared to what went on during the late 1700s to early 1800s. I think people need to relax and let democracy take its natural course. That’s something I never could figure out about the centrists and progressives. Why do they insist on interfering with the stages of the republican process. Why are they so easily jolted by two parties fighting over the issues. George Will said it best after all when he said that the Republican Party is suppose to oppose the Democrat Party, that’s what a two power system is all about.

Republicans aren’t suppose to just drop their principles out of fear of looking like the bad guy or obstructionists. Quite the contrary, when you have a progressive president with a progressive congress trying to forcefully pass a progressive agenda, one in which the people overwhelming oppose, obstructionism is like chlorine to tainted pool water. The idea of bipartisanship in the minds of the progressives in Washington and their media safety net is Republicans relinquishing their ideas and blindly appeasing the president. It’s bipartisanship when Republicans jump on board to any old policy, it’s patriotic when Democrats stonewalled George Bush for two years, it’s racism and anti-change when Republicans try to stonewall Barack Obama. The difference here is majority. Obama has a majority in the House at least, and he had one int he Senate so he could have passed all his progressive wet dream policies without any measures from the GOP that would have been strong enough to stop him. He used his executive order measure more than any president in history and is planning to do so in order to override GOP defenses, which is perfectly fine. Just know that we’ll try to stop you and we’ll come even stronger.

This call for reason is a call for surrender wrapped in golden lace with a crimson bow. The Democrats aren’t really interested in working across the isle, they just want Republicans to sit there, nod and agree. Some are doing just that, one example has been Mark Kirk, Lindsey Graham, and Joseph Cao. But history is on the side of the Republicans if they understand the message history is trying to relay. Obstructionism is the most patriotic and the most democratic thing you can do. If Thomas Jefferson or James Madison were alive and were in the House or the Senate and the health care bill came across their path, or cap and trade, or some of these measures taken by government, would they try to appease or lessen the blow of the forceful hand of government? Or would they fight to strike the measures down because they know it would damage the republic. And by the way we’re not a democracy, we’re a republic and if I hear one more progressive say we’re a democracy I’m going to beat them senseless. James Madison was weary of democracy, at least blind democracy because he feared it could be twisted and shaped in its name by those who do not have the people’s interest at heart. That’s why he stressed the need of a constitution. You see the constitution is the referee, it calls the game, keeps politicians in check, and throws the yellow whenever a politician commits a penalty.

So what have we learned today? Partisanship good, bipartisanship in measured form can also serve for a positive outcome. The Constitutional Convention was a prime example of two groups (Federalists and Anti-Federalists) working together for a common purpose. That would have been the only case of bipartisan effort I would have signed onto. Today these manufactured tandems like McCain/Feingold or McCain/Kennedy have done more harm to the republic than good. Perhaps our elected officials aren’t as learned in the subject of honor and reason as were our founders.