Among the repetitive assaults on the president’s integrity and the absurd questions about his national origin lies an inconvenient error in judgment on his part, that being an assumption that reasonable discourse and responsible governance would lead to national rapprochement and bi-partisan cooperation - - foolish novice that he was.
Allowing the stimulus package to falter under the weight of tax cuts and go short on actual job-creating projects was a major miscalculation on the president’s part. The rallying cry continues to be “job, jobs, jobs” as if they will suddenly materialize in the absence of new industry and a reinvigorated, better educated workforce.
It is a sad commentary on the state of our employable youth that so many of them conclude jobs in the private sector don’t exist for them and, that being the case, they opt for military service. But the military may face the same pressures to cut costs that exist in other economic sectors, and mayors and governors seem to feel they can reduce their police and firefighting numbers without risking the safety and well-being of the home crowd.
It used to be said that one’s view of the economy depended famously on whose ox was getting gored. More to the point today it is likely to depend on whose house was burning down or whose mom was being mugged as a result of insufficient municipal oversight. Meanwhile lessons in today’s absurd political process were on display at what passed for serious conversation among potential GOP committee leaders, at an event chaired by Grover Norquist and Tucker Carlson, a duo of one-note mental wimps. The questions directed at potential party leaders were among the stupidest ever devised - - “how many guns do you own” for example and “what is your favorite book?” But the book question allowed Michael Steele to fine-tune his dunderhead credentials. Claiming his favorite book was War and Peace he quoted the opening lines of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
Sadly, Republicans are ill-prepared to deal with the issues Charles Dickens raised back in the l9th century. In fact, Newt Gingrich, a kind of 19th century guy, has suggested public orphanages might solve the problems associated with the poverty-stricken lower classes. And the poor-house option might actually work for a country that has failed to address hunger, poverty and poor medical services for its neediest. With Dickens as tour director, a trip into “Christmas Past” might awaken the better selves of our country’s leaders.
However, looking at the lay of today’s land and a hostile political climate for Democrats, some things should be in motion to offset the effects of the Republican juggernaut. For one thing the minority should continue to question the legitimacy of assertions that voters “spoke” in November with a resounding conservative battle cry. Recent polls call into question the Republican reading of voting results. In fact not only is it the case that many Democrats hoped the health-care bill would go further, members of both parties support some measures in the bill. Quite possibly the leadership has overplayed its hand and their loud protestations may be their undoing when facts and reason prevail.
Some Democratic members of Congress have done their homework and begun to re-establish their bona fides as debaters, pointing out the hypocrisy of the majority’s claim that they are all about transparency and the “people’s will.” And as far as saving money and reducing the debt there’s a credibility gap with respect to the majority’s seriousness of purpose when it spends time reading the Constitution and calling for investigation after investigation into matters that not only lack substance in terms of this administration but could require testimony from members of the Bush team as well.
As columnist Joan Walsh puts it, Republicans want “to throw the country into reverse” Most drivers know a sudden reverse strips a car’s gears. Republicans already gummed up the gears of government with their never-ending filibusters. Now they say they are “very concerned” that Americans have access to “affordable health care.” When did their ‘concern’ manifest itself?
John Boehner and his party should stop playing politics by repeating the campaign mantra that the health-care bill is a “job killer” and stand for something besides tax cuts. And he should be decisive regarding the legitimacy of the president’s US citizenship. Pussyfooting around the issue by saying it isn’t for him to tell party members what to think keeps a false issue alive and proves that he and his party are just a group of rag-tag partisans who lack leadership skills and the ability to govern in good faith.