Party Time! Excellent!

Just a few days ago, largely due to the partisanship and corruption that have infected our Congress (not to mention the chilling ineptitude of our Executive-in-Chief), my confidence in the United States government was on its deathbed. Last rites were administered. Funeral preparations were made. I began planning a post-Colgate existence in Canada. Or Mexico. Or Guam. Then Tuesday came along, and within a matter of hours, two remarkable occurrences revived my faith in American politics just before it flat-lined.

The first episode was the Massachusetts state legislature’s nearly unanimous passing of a bill that aims to achieve universal health coverage in the Bay State. The second was the resignation of House Majority Leader and bona fide sleezeball Tom DeLay.

Throughout President Bush’s time in office, the actions of our Congress have looked a lot like a reenactment of West Side Story. On issues ranging from abortion to social security, Democrats and Republicans face off as fervently as the Jets and the Sharks (minus all that dancing and prancing) and come together only to join in an enduring post-9/11 refrain: “I like to be in A-me-ree-ca! O.K. by me in A-me-ree-ca!”

The mindless nationalism of our Congressmen and women has effectively freed up W and friends to listen in on and imprison whomever they damn well feel like listening in on or imprisoning. Even worse, Congress’s factious bickering has turned most debate over bills that come through the House and Senate into political struggles divided cleanly along party lines.

DeLay stood in the eye of this political storm. A hard-line Republican, he spent his time in the House pushing an unequivocally Conservative agenda on such issues as Medicare, energy, tax cuts and the question of whether Bill Clinton should be allowed to get BJ’s in the White House. DeLay demanded extreme loyalty from other Republicans, helping to create intense polarization between the elephant and the donkey. In his eleven years in the House, parties in Washington became more vicious than SUNY Morrisville parties at the Palace.

On Tuesday, DeLay, whose implication in a variety of money-lending scandals has placed him under more scrutiny than JLo, stepped down from his high horse in the House. Good riddance.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Republican Governor Mitt Rommey was happily announcing an unprecedented health care bill that will provide insurance to just about every chowdah-eating Red Sox loving Masshole. And the best part is that both Democrats and Republicans were in on its creation. The New York Times lauded the legislation as a bill that accomplishes its goals “combines methods and proposals from across the political spectrum, apportioning the cost among businesses, individuals and government.”

A bipartisan bill that actually solves one of the population’s pressing needs? Hallelujah! In Massachusetts, the Jets and the Sharks are shaking hands and inviting each other over for soft-shell crab. With DeLay out of the way, maybe our senators and representatives can follow the lead of Rommey and company and make friends with members of the opposing party.

Rommey has already announced that he will not run for reelection when his term runs out, fueling speculation that he has his eyes on the White House. I’m not saying I would vote for him for president. He’s a staunch environmentalist turned industry benefactor (talk about a flip-flopper), but his likely presence in the 2008 presidential race bodes well for a post-W American democracy that puts aside party differences for the good of the nation. Hey, you never know.