I submitted this draft op/ed to the Washington Post for the America's Next Great Pundit Contest. Since my submission was not chosen for online voting, I decided to share here with everyone.
More than 200 years ago, George Washington warned Americans about the rise of political parties in his farewell address. "It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration....agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one....against another....it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption...thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another."
In 2002, Democrats saw an opportunity to unseat a popular incumbent in the House. Connie Morella had held the 8th Congressional seat in Maryland since 1986. Despite being a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, she was widely popular among her constituents. Democrats gerrymandered her district, which led to her loss to Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) -- a prime example of partisan politics that continues to plague our country. Here was a legislator who not only had the best interests of her constituents and country, but also sided with Democrats on many issues.