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The case for bipartisanship

June 29, 2007

Re "Bipartisan Benedict Arnold," Opinion, June 23

John Ziegler inadvertently demonstrates how you can never please political extremists. The crowd whose "liberal credentials were beyond question" included the author of the black self-reliance manifesto "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America -- and What We Can Do About It" and the business-friendly former governor who promised (and kept the promise) never to parole a single murderer from prison no matter what his own parole board said.

If anyone to the left of state Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) and Ziegler is a liberal, that means about 90% of Californians are liberals.

Bipartisanship means working in and broadening the coalition of the center. It does not mean throwing bones to quiet the howling of the extremists on either side of the political spectrum.




Ziegler has inadvertently made an excellent case in favor of true bipartisan political leadership. He wastes a whole column criticizing the governor for not being partisan. He then provides evidence of the partisanship of many Republican legislators, as though somehow hewing to the party line was preferable to cooperating for the common good. McClintock's failure to have voted for a single bill signed by the governor says more about McClintock and his relentlessly single-minded agenda than it says about the governor. If McClintock had learn to bend and cooperate, maybe he could vote yes more often.

As for former Arizona Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater, Ziegler ignores the fact that he spent the end of his life collaborating with former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean on a project to expose the way that conservatism had become corrupted.


Santa Monica


Ziegler concludes his column on bipartisanship and the governor with a sentence that implies global warming is not a real problem. Allowing someone who questions the legitimacy of the threat of global warming to write about bipartisanship is akin to allowing Barry Bonds to write about sportsmanship. Looking for columnists who express a diversity of opinion is commendable, but can't The Times ensure that those using its column space not come from the Flat Earth Society? The existence of global warming is no longer a debate -- only what to do about it is.



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