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Radically Inept
Sunday, June 13, 2004
  Lowering partisanship, well, hoping

In a sudden change of pace, Radically Inept attempts to offer a positive contribution in hopes of improving political dialogue instead of just bashing everything political.

Hey, don't expect too much, okay?

Anyway, Don Changeau and I were hanging out in the public policy computer lab at Tech, and somehow the topic of helping to lower the acrimoney of partisanship came up. I have no idea of how we got to this idea, but I''ve been meaning to present this to someone for two years.

Basically, the idea is to utilize the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) to engender cross party association. Previous Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plans have mixed success. In the upcoming years (time tables are bogus when both United States Congress and the Defense Department are involved), there is a stated goal of reducing the number of active military bases, and figuring out some way to cheaply hand these lands over to unsuspecting lesser governments. Say, like the states.

Well the process will happen. The stated goal is a 25% reduction in Military Installations. There are a fair number of installation in the DC area. What does this have to do w/ partisanship? Well, a few years ago, I was watching something, possibly on C-SPAN [can't get there right now to link], that several senior and retired senators discussing the problem how bitter the partisanship has become. One, possibly Bob Dole, made the point that in some ways technology and money were major contributing factors. The was that now a days, House Freshmen must spend a great deal of their time looking for money to finance their next campaign, plus often trying to support two homes. So, instead of spending the weekends w/ other congressmen and their families or just cocktail parties, they have to fly home to raise money.

Anyway, on to the plan. Close one of those bases in the DC area, and instead of turning it over to the local government, use it to house members of both houses. Put the senators in the officer quarters, w/ the most senior members getting the 'Generals' quarters'. the house members get to live in the NCO housing, and their senior members would get the Sergeant Majors' quarters. And, possibly the enlisted housing could be provided for those who work in congress in support roles, like the Sergeant-at-Arms. And, you could use the facilities like the officers' club and the NCO club.

How does this aide in ending acrimony? Well, if yu get to know the other guy, like you're both washing your cars on a Saturday afternoon, and your children attend school together, well, you may not agree w/ his beliefs, but you are more likely to listen. It's a thought.

Besides, they should see how the military lives, and should not be allowed to make improvements to 'their' base, that they don't fund at other bases. Sort of an added perq. 
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