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Archive for January, 2018

Shutdown: Leadership failure humiliates the nation

Posted by Ron George on January 21, 2018

River Crossing — Gridlock
By Kathryn Delany

It is simply intolerable that the government of the most powerful and prosperous nation in human history must shutdown due to systemic failure of its institutions; in this case, the Congress and the Presidency. Playing the blame game will not fix it, and it’s also clear that business as usual will not move the ball down the field. Politics, properly understood, promises solutions, not the politics of power currently in vogue but the politics of persuasion, compromise and reason untainted by ideology.

Democrats: Once, again, you’ve been snookered into a no-win situation that will play out hard in the 2018 general elections. You picked the wrong trench to die in, drew a line in the sand where it shouldn’t have been drawn, and now you’ll pay because Mitch McConnell is too cunning for you. Nancy! Chuck! DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is an important issue, but it was no reason to vote against McConnell’s continuing resolution. He played you. Again. And now the Republicans have a slogan for 2018 while you have nothing but a lot of whining about the failure of Republican leadership. Do you still not understand the game? It’s called power politics, and when you don’t have power, you lose.

The Republicans have a slogan actually based on the facts of the case: Democrats chose to shut down the government and support the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for the sake of 800,000 illegal immigrants. Yes, it’s a nasty piece of business. Yes, the Republicans held not only the military but nine million children hostage, but you were politically inept to believe that opposing the GOP continuing resolution without a solution for DACA was a winning strategy. It wasn’t, and you will pay through the nose in November.

Republicans: Shame on you for your cynicism and spineless back-stabbing. CHIP ought to have been renewed and signed into law months ago. Why not? Were you even in September planning to get into the Democrats’ pants with CHIP as a component of the inevitable continuing-resolution squabble? Perhaps not, but it does raise one’s eyebrows. As for your wishy-washy approach to DACA; again, you ought to be ashamed. Just say no and get it over with, because that’s what your core constituency wants; then see how that flies in November. Oh, forgive me; that would take an ounce or two of political courage, of which it’s clearly in limited supply not only on your side of the aisle but throughout Capitol Hill.

Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi: Feckless Democrats

We understand what a difficult position you’re in with an unreliable, unpredictable and unprincipled president of your own party in the White House. However, whining about not knowing what the president will sign is no excuse for failing to legislate. For God’s sake, put the ball in his court with what you believe is legislation that does the most good for the most people. That’s how it’s supposed to work, isn’t it?

Our constitutional separation of powers is supposed to be a dynamic system fostering open and honest political debate resulting in legislation supported by a majority of the Congress and signed into law – or not – by the President and put in play by the executive branch. It’s not Congress’ constitutional role to play toady to the president. Legislate, for God’s sake, and if President Trump vetoes the proposal, override it or not, and then let the courts do their job of weighing it against the Constitution.

Mr. President: You make a promise, then you break it. There was a bipartisan immigration proposal brought to you by Republicans and Democrats who negotiated for months in good faith. It included a DACA solution, money for your harebrained border wall, and restrictions you requested on certain legal immigration programs. Then you humiliated yourself and the bipartisan legislators by turning down the deal after promising you’d sign whatever the bipartisan group put forward.

President Donald J. Trump: Devious and manipulative

It’s in your DNA, I guess. You’re known as a wheeler-dealer for whom nothing is really promised until someone’s name is on the dotted line. It’s been your way of doing business all of your adult life. Why change now? Well, because it’s dishonorable – in business and in government – and it not only dishonors yourself and those you betrayed, it dishonors the office you hold and our nation in the eyes of the world. Art of the deal? Give me a break. You’re no master of deal-making, but you are a master of manipulation and deceit, all to the greater glory of your name – and, of course, the benefit of your business interests.

A pox on all your houses! You have failed to govern effectively, and the proof of it is the shutdown of our federal government to the detriment of millions of citizens. And, so, now that you’ve generated this politically potent moment, the blame game begins. We the People cannot tell you how tired we are – all of us of every political stripe – of the finger-pointing and half-truths continuously generated by your failure to govern.

Telling one side of any story is, by definition, a form of lying; so, let’s stop doing that, OK? Democrats? Republicans? Mr. Trump? Unfortunately, we’ve become so accustomed to hearing and believing just one side of any political controversy that I fear the devil’s work is done. What a shame that the hole we’ve dug for ourselves is so deep that it’s unlikely we’ll ever find a way out.

Perhaps the worst thing of all is that We the People have learned to hate politics, which is the lifeblood of our democratic republic. Politics is how we generate discourse toward solutions to inevitable social problems and concerns. Politics is how we persuade those with whom we disagree at least to understand our point of view, which opens the door to compromise – the inevitable laundering of ideological standpoints toward creating just and equitable laws.

When politics becomes a battle for power – the power to rule rather than govern – then we see what we’ve seen in the nation’s capital lately: Gridlock, whether it’s by sabotaging a two-term president with whom we disagree or killing a joint resolution for no good reason at all.

That’s not politics; it’s schoolyard bickering. It’s kicking sand into each other’s faces. It’s childish and tiresome – and, God damn it, We the People are sick and tired of it!

Well, at least I am.

That is all.


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