Bipartisan detente

No.  I’m not talking about Congress where even the nomination of  a former Republican Senator to be Secretary of Defense, can’t bring Republicans and Democrats together.  I’m talking about the American Prospect and the American Conservative magazines.

The headline to the short article in the New York Times reads:

Magazines on Left and Right Unite to Share Office Space

The financial crisis did not bring bipartisanship to Congress, but a difficult media environment may have brought that spirit to two political standard-bearers.

In need of cash and with extra space on its hands, the liberal magazine The American Prospect decided to sublet part of its Washington offices. The American Conservative, tired of working from Arlington, Va., was looking for a new location. When the publishers Jay Harris of The Prospect and Wick Allison of The Conservative were getting lunch in August, they put two and two together.

A six-month lease was soon signed. The self-described bastion of “traditional conservatism” moved in with the self-described “liberal, progressive, lefty” on Dec. 27.

It is tough times for magazines who now maintain print and on-line presence.

What they lack in ideological viewpoint, the two nonprofit monthlies make up for in an independent, establishment-bucking mind-set. Each has faced the sort of downsizing that has become all too common in the print world.

The American Conservative, founded in 2002 by Pat Buchanan, ran biweekly before it went out of print for six weeks in 2009 and returned as a monthly magazine. It has a circulation of 8,000. The American Prospect, in print since 1990, announced to its staff in April that if the magazine could not find $500,000 in financing, it would close altogether by the end of May.  With help from good publicity from Prospect alumni and a few large donors — and by shrinking its staff by four — the bimonthly magazine has endured. The publication has combined paid print and digital circulation of nearly 45,000. The Conservative’s seven staff members will share the white-walled, blue-carpeted 12th floor of 1710 Rhode Island Avenue with The Prospect’s fund-raising and advertising departments. They must share a conference room, a potential source of conflict, though Mr. Harris says it could be a site for events the magazines co-host.

Could this be a model of some kind for Congress?  A bipartisan caucus?  Of course, the Senate women already have something like this when they get together, I believe, monthly but then as Susan Collins, a Republican Senator said recently, ” If women were in charge, we wouldn’t be heading at breakneck speed toward the looming ‘fiscal cliff.'”

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