Non-partisanship needed at every level of government

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By The Staff

We applaud new Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing's decision to retain all the city's current department heads, just as we did former Mayor Gayle Strassell's decision to do so four years ago when she was inaugurated.

Many of the department heads have served under Democrat Bill Goffinet, Republican Strassell and now Democrat Ewing. One, city recreation director Maurice Harpenau, also served under Democrat Walter Hagedorn.

But as we said four years ago, "fighting crime, putting out fires, or overseeing the city's baseball and softball programs are not partisan political activities." So it makes no sense to replace experienced department heads who have been doing good jobs just because a mayor of a different political party takes office.

Now our wish for 2008 is that leaders of our nation's government will learn to work together with the same spirit of non-partisanship that Tell City's government is employing.

Public approval for Republican President George W. Bush sank to 31 percent in October, the lowest levels ever recorded for a president in The Associated Press-Ipsos poll (Harry Truman received approval ratings of 23 percent in 1951 and 1952 in the Gallup Poll).

But at the same time Bush's ratings were sinking, the Democrat-controlled Congress received an approval rating of just 22 percent, continuing a decline in the public's assessment of that body since Democrats took over last January.

Why are Americans so dissatisfied with Republican and Democrat leaders?

We think the main reason is both sides' unwillingness to try to work together - despite pledges to do so after the November 2006 elections.

Bush and Democratic senate leader Harry Reid have been equally belligerent on nearly all the major issues, especially the war in Iraq. Under Reid, the Senate has repeatedly drafted measures calling for a strict timetable to end the war, knowing full well that Bush would veto them and they would therefore accomplish nothing except help Democrats claim in the next election campaign that they had tried to end the war.

It may be difficult to reach a compromise on the war, but adopting measures that would help Iraqis to take over more of their own defense - so American forces won't be needed - might be one way of doing so.

On other issues, such as providing health coverage for more of our citizens and ways to alleviate the current credit crunch that plagues our economy, compromises should be easier to find - if both sides are willing.

And in a government with a two-party system - in fact, in any government but a dictatorship - compromise is the most effective way to achieve positive results. Posturing and polarization do not work.

Most of our greatest leaders have recognized that. Now it's time for our current leaders to do so.

Our view: Editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

Your view: Tell us what you think. E-mail us at editor@perrycountynews.com or mail your comments to P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586.