Civility Between Leaders Threatens Partisanship In Senate
What, has partisanship lost its luster?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has invited his counterpart - dare we say nemesis - Majority Leader Harry Reid to give a talk Monday at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville. Yes, that Reid, the one who goes throat to throat with McConnell and the GOP on the floor of the Senate each day in one of the more bitterly partisan eras in Senate history.
The topic of Reid's speech, according to his spokesman, will be "the need to reach across the aisle to work on a bipartisanship basis."
As the McConnell Center's web site proclaims: "Perhaps for the first time, both party leaders of the U. S. Senate will appear on the same stage on a college campus."
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart explained to us that the McConnell Center is "a partisanship-free zone."
Guess so, considering that last year McConnell invited Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) to speak at the center and gave the liberal lion such an effusive introduction it was almost surreal.
McConnell called Kennedy a "master legislator" and "my friend, Senator Ted Kennedy" and said, "Ted's entire career has been one of compassion for the stricken, the needy, and the powerless. His empathy for others has become a powerful engine, driving a historic career of public service and serving as a guidepost to countless others."
If Reid gets half as nice an introduction, we'll know things are going topsy turvy in the Senate. "First Senator Kennedy and now Senator Reid. Maybe there is hope for bipartisanship in the Senate after all," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said via email.
And if Reid finds himself channel flicking during down time in the Bluegrass State, maybe he'll hear those ads that his liberal allies are running in Kentucky media outlets pummeling McConnell for his opposition to expanding children's health care coverage.
Mary Ann Akers
October 11, 2007; 9:52 AM ET
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