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Posted: May 21, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Bipartisanship, finally

President Obama keeps saying that he wants more bipartisanship in government. Not to be outdone, the Republicans also sing the mantra of bipartisanship.

Unfortunately, both sides mean, "agree with me," as bipartisanship. That resulted in precious little bipartisanship, at least until the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil spill.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the sort of bipartisanship that leads to good government.

Under both Democratic and Republican regimes, the Minerals Management Service has maintained a "cozy" relationship with the oil and gas industry it was supposed to be regulating. A good example of capitalism in action, the best regulators that political contributions to both parties could buy.

The oil and gas industry gives more money to Republicans but consider that in the last presidential campaign, Obama was given $884,000 and McCain $2.4 million. Not to mention that the average Democrat in the Senate has gotten $44,000 in 2010 and the average Republican, $129,000. Less money but still access to the so-called regulators.

Now we are reaping the benefits of a bipartisan failure of our government to protect our interests. Instead there was a bipartisan effort to protect the short term interest of a particular industry. The result is an ecological disaster that we will all pay for, one way or the other.

Here's a new bipartisan idea, why don't we elect Democrats and Republicans who protect the interest of individual citizens? What a novel concept. As I recall, our founding fathers said, all men have unalienable rights, including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Strict constructionists note, it says "men," not corporations. Now that is a strict reading that I could support.

Patrick Durusau is a resident of Covington. His columns regularly appear on Fridays.

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