Welcome back, Joe the Senator.

Remember when?

Joe, you risked your political career to reach across the aisle.  You went so far as to allude to universal health care at the Publican Convention, a gusty thing to do after the warm and fuzzy welcome you received from the delegates.  And your opening comments on George Washington’s concern about party partisanship and what it could do to the smooth running of our government were so eloquent and so appropriate, too.  (In Washington’s day, white, male landowners really believed that they alone held the best interests of the country at heart and were, therefore, capable of designing a government for everyone.  You were certainly speaking to the right group.)

Even though you are an Independent, you were the Democrat’s representative at the Publican Convention, and the Publicans responded very well to you and to your reminder that the well-being of the country is more important than alignment with a political party.  Red, white, and blue hats off to you.  

Now, some unappreciative Senators and liberals want to punish you for abandoning your former party’s candidate in this non-partisan way.  On the other hand, some Democrats believe that it would not be gracious of us to act like Publicans do.  Perhaps it is petulant of us to take out our frustrations with the Publican party in retribution on you.  There’s never been room for petulance in politics.  And, hey, man, we need you.  We need your vote to keep abortion available and accessible.  We need your vote to keep stem cell research alive.  We need universal health care, and your vote is important there, too.  

In fact, considering the powerful non-partisan voice you turned out to be, we’d like to ask even more from you, and we’re willing to deal.  What would it take to get you to agree to bring the U.S. troops and Blackwater’s mercenaries home from the Middle East?  Would you accept chairmanship of another committee when Homeland Security is disbanded in exchange for your support for the right of same-sex couples to marry?  And do you think that you could admit that Obama is capable of changing the culture of Washington if those unappreciative Dems let you sit with them at lunch?  

Hey, seriously, Joe, welcome back to the team.  When things calm down a little after January, let’s meet to discuss your fondness for T. Boone Picken’s plan to harness our renewable resources for his personal gain. I’ll call you.