Bipartisanship should bring Matheson praise

By By By Jonathan Deesing

By By Jonathan Deesing

We hear the term “RINO” (Republican in Name Only) tossed around a lot in Utah, where anything left of Limbaugh is considered socialism. Indeed, our last governor was accused of being a RINO for a number of reasons, including his stance on civil unions and liquor laws.

The Democrat version, “DINO,” is used far less often, likely because of the obvious lack of the first letter in Utah. Regardless, Utah’s sole Democratic U.S. Congressman, Jim Matheson, caused an uproar among Utah’s liberal minority Friday when he announced he would be voting against his party’s most recent health care bill.

House Resolution 3962 proposes using nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayer money during the next 10 years to go toward increasing the number of insured Americans from today’s 83 percent to 96 percent. Matheson’s reasoning for rejecting the bill is quite obvious8212;that’s a lot of money.

Although Matheson has never attempted to hide his conservative leanings, he is now coming under fire for doing what he believes most of his constituents want8212;to not pay more taxes.

Ironically, Utah Democrats were applauding former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. for similar bipartisanship only a few months ago. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, the accusations are beginning to fly concerning Matheson’s true loyalties.

“Putting millions of additional people into a broken system will not work,” Matheson said in a Friday press release. “A one-size-fits-all, nationally run plan that doesn’t acknowledge the different health demographics in the states isn’t the answer.” In the same press release, he expressed concern about the bill harming fiscal stability and increasing the national deficit.

Let me clear up one thing: I don’t like Matheson. I nearly pulled all of my hair out when he voted for the single most destructive piece of legislation ever passed in our country8212;the Patriot Act. In fact, I haven’t voted for him since.

Nevertheless, I have to point out the hypocrisy of Democrats who praise a Republican for bipartisanship, but criticize a Democrat for doing the same. Jim Matheson might not be doing something agreeable, but he’s light-years ahead of both parties in his efforts toward compromise. No Republicans are expected to vote for the bill, and Matheson is one of few, if any Democrats not to toe the party line.

Ultimately, Matheson is acting as a shining example for our state and, more importantly, our nation as to how politics should function. Politics at all levels, from federal to state to entities as small as the Associated Students of the University of Utah, must function on a system of compromise. Being myopically concerned with one’s party instead of one’s constituents is harmful to both.

As educated voters, we must realize which congressmen can best represent us, and not just vote for the letter by their name.

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