The RP: The “Aspen Curse” & the Sorry State of Bipartisanship

The RP’s column this week in The Huffington Post centers around a special organization that promoted bipartisanship, and how its mission is not being fulfilled…yet.

Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve never been so devastated by the defeat of a conservative Republican to the U.S. Senate as I was this Tuesday.

It’s not just that Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is a great guy: a warm, humble, often hilarious teddy bear of a man who’s the type of person you’d be proud to represent you in Congress.

It’s also because Bruning was our last great hope to break the infernal “Aspen Curse.”

Never heard of the “Aspen Curse”?  Don’t worry; only a few dozen sorry sorts have been tracking its metastasization…until now.

The “Aspen Curse” refers to a plague that’s infected the membership of the Inaugural Class of the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship program.  The initiative was launched in 2005, with a stated goal “to enhance our democracy by identifying and bringing together the nation’s most promising young political leaders … committed to sustaining the vision of a political system based on thoughtful and civil bipartisan dialogue; and to help America’s brightest young leaders achieve their fullest potential in public service.”

Eighteen young mid-level elected officials– nine Democrats and nine Republicans from across the country — joined together for a series of events, seminars, and visits to places ranging from New Orleans to Beijing to Jerusalem. (Don’t worry — your tax dollars were not involved.)  We studied, debated, argued, drank, told jokes, and built some long-lasting friendships.  And when our program ended, we promised to use our bi-partisan spirit and relationships to advance the country’s interests as we moved toward higher office.

And then…the Curse.  One by one, we ran for more prominent elected positions.  And one by one, we lost.

Click here to read the full article at The Huffington Post.



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