I am a little late on this, but Tom Delay's farewell speech really struck me. What he says about partisanship is politically incorrect but it is important. I only heard excerpts from the speech previous to listening to it in its entirety on americanrhetoric.com
Here are a few of the lines that I thought were right on.
... "partisanship, Mr. Speaker, properly understood, is not a symptom of democracy's weakness but of its health and its strength, especially from the perspective of a political conservative."
"You show me a nation without partisanship, and I'll show you a tyranny."
"...partisanship is the worst means of settling fundamental political differences -- except for all the others."
"It is not the principled partisan, however obnoxious he may seem to his opponents, who degrades our public debate, but the preening, self-styled statesman who elevates compromise to a first principle."
"But we must never forget that compromise and bipartisanship are means, not ends, and are properly employed only in the service of higher principles." Did you catch that? Means not ends. Your goal is not to have a watered down solution to a problem. You identify a problem, come up with a solution, and get a majority to go along with your solution. If that doesn't work then you compromise. You don't negotiate backwards in a fetish for bipartisanship.
Partisanship is seen as bad, very bad. If there was not viscious, divisive, partisan debate I would be worried. That would mean free speech would be stifled. Like Delay said, debate moves both poles closer to the center, it is really a check on government. When I hear someone get all soft and say "its so unfortunate that political discourse gets so heated nowadays" I say, good! If we are having raucous debates that points to the health of our democracy and makes me prouder to be an American. Countries like North Korea don't have raucous debate and alas, have no liberty.
My favorite quote, "And if given the chance to do it all again, there's only one thing I would change: I would fight even harder." Say what you want about Tom Delay. Im by no means romanticizing HIM. He has taken the Republican Party away from the spirit of Reagan, Goldwater and Gingrich in many ways, but that is not the point of this post. To say he would fight harder is uniquely American. It is American in the sense of liberties,free speech. It defies and sneers at the popular concept of bipartisanship. It is a line worthy of the Fourth of July.
p.s.: If your looking to be patriotic this Fourth of July, join the marketplace of ideas. Start a blog, write a letter to the editor, become more informed. Be proud of your strong beliefs, dont let anyone frown upon that, because it makes you a good citizen.