Monday, March 14, 2005

No More Reaching Across The Damn Aisle: Reason Number 62

Three words: It doesn't work.

President Bill Clinton, a man who truly sought to be the great peacemaker between Democrats and Republicans, angered a good number of us who worked for him in 1992 when he caved on his campaign promise to end discrimination against gays in the U.S. military.

Within six months of taking office in 1993, Clinton tried to extend a hand across the aisle to Republicans by compromising on the issue and instituting the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy instead of fulfilling his promise for an outright ban on discrimination against gay people.

Big mistake. In addition to infuriating many supporters, this ill-advised attempt at extending an olive branch to Republicans set the tone for the disrespect conservatives would show toward his presidency for the following eight years. Republicans don't truly view reaching across the aisle for common ground as a strength. Rather, they view it as a naive weakness that only deepens their contempt for the Democrats who stupidly make that move.

Democrats who extend a hand across that congressional aisle have consistently had it bitten. It's high time we get the lesson.