Who Says There’s No Bipartisanship?

Who says there is no bipartisanship in Washington?

Today, I watched a truly touching C-span video from an April 25th gathering where Democrat Senator and former V.P. candidate Joe Lieberman and Republican Senator Marco Rubio advocated a strong, robust foreign policy in a speech at none other than the left-leaning Brookings Intitution.

Senator Lieberman said of Rubio, “Marco Rubio’s foreign policy is principled, patriotic, and practical. It grows, I believe, from his own life’s journey from tyranny to freedom, but also from his dedicated study of history and contemporary challenges. His foreign policy, as I’ve come to know it, puts him in a proud bipartisan tradition that links together our greatest Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan and our greatest Democratic presidents like Harry S. Truman. It is a tradition that recognizes that America is defined not by the land under our feet or even by the blood in our veins, but by our founding values, first among them being freedom and equality of opportunity whose promotion and protection will always be our first national purpose. It is a foreign policy tradition that is bipartisan and idealistic and recognizes that there is evil in the world, that we should not be afraid to call it by its name; that we have enemies who cannot be negotiated into peace, but must be confronted with our strength. And it is a bipartisan foreign policy tradition that recognizes that the survival of liberty and prosperity in our country ultimately depends on the expansion of liberty and prosperity throughout the world.”


Rubio returned the compliment in a profoundly personal way. “Thank you, Senator Lieberman. You know, one of the best things about working in the Senate is the opportunity to learn and to know from colleagues whose statesmanship is an example for the rest of us. In my brief time in the Senate, I’ve had the chance to know Joe Lieberman and learn from him. He represents a view of America’s role in the world and the tradition of Democratic leaders like Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman through John F. Kennedy and “Scoop” Jackson. In my every experience with him, it’s been evident that Joe Lieberman is a statesman who takes positions on every important national issue because he believes they best serve our country’s interests and values. So, thank you, Joe, for your introduction and, more importantly, thank you for your example. I’m privileged to serve with you.”

Senator Rubio’s lavish praise for his colleague from Connecticut was hardly the only cross-party kudos doled out.  During his foreign policy address, Rubio made plentiful references to continued policies from the Reagan administration through the Clinton and Bush administrations, as well as several throwbacks to Kennedy, Truman and even the oft-vilified FDR.

To be clear, bipartisan cooperation in Washington depends on the task at hand.  Senator Rubio’s embrace and gushing over Senator Lieberman was as much a matter of promoting hawkish foreign policy with any willing participant as it was a gesture of good will.  Contrast that with Governor Charlie Crist embracing President Obama, and in effect embracing the 2009 stimulus package and one can easily discriminate between the good, bad and ugly sides of bipartisan cooperation.  In its worst form, it’s flaky pandering.  At its best, its statesmanship.  Senators Rubio and Lieberman clearly showed America the latter.

Copy courtesy of the Brookings Institution online.