National Security: DysfunctionOct 8th, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Editorials
I think it is safe to say that the American people are pretty fed up with their government in Washington. The government shutdown (first over the budget; next over the debt ceiling) suggests that the two political parties have reached a point of dysfunction where they seem unable to come together and agree on anything more controversial than naming a post office. Even wet-behind-the-ears youngsters are asking, “Is this the best we can do?” It seems that our political leaders (oxymoron) are more interested in scoring points and winning elections than solving problems. Shame on them. Maybe Guy Fawkes had it right when he tried to (literally) blow up Parliament some four hundred years ago. (Don’t believe me? Look it up.) I understand that what politicians do best is win elections, but there is a fine line between positioning your party to politically triumph and hurting the people you are sworn to serve. I think our current crop, from the White House throughout Capitol Hill, have crossed the line … and I’m not alone in my thinking. Have you ever seen so much finger-pointing and name-calling? That’s not leadership; it’s juvenile. The first rule a leader learns is “take responsibility,” but the current crop of so-called leaders doesn’t want to be caught near that idea. Harry Truman famously said, “The buck stops here.” That simple but profound phrase is foreign to the ear of our president and most lawmakers. They would rather pass-the-buck than take personal responsibility. The impasse is mostly over Obamacare. Ever since it was passed and signed into law, Republicans have been trying to derail it at every turn because they see it as an unworkable budget-buster. Democrats cry foul, but are the Republicans justified in their opposition? Since the Democrats controlled every branch of government at the time (March 2009) and decided to (barely) pass the bill on partisan lines ignoring every suggestion made by the opposition, is there any doubt why Republicans are opposed? Democrats argue that the constitutionality of the law has been upheld by the Supreme Court, but the court had to change the definition of the individual mandate from a penalty to a tax in order to reach their decision. You can put lipstick on a pig … but it’s still a pig. Obamacare is now the law of the land and is being implemented as we speak. The majority of the American people are opposed. Maybe Nancy Pelosi stumbled into the truth when she said, “we need to pass the bill for the American people to really find out what is in it.” The rollout of the law, begun just last week, is a nightmare. Democrats say the messy introduction is merely a case of “growing pains.” That may be … but the reality is looking more like Rosemary’s Baby than premature birth. I have been reluctant to write about Obamacare because it is a moving target. Every day, there are new revelations about the program and 95 percent of the stories are negative. The list of bad news is epidemic: huge cost increases for individuals and families; exchanges overloaded; website crashes; work hours being cut; insurers fleeing markets; dropped coverage; daily unintended consequences; states refusing to set up exchanges; the list seems endless. Why should we be surprised when the legislation attempted to do so much and was corruptly rammed through the legislative process? Both sides need to give in and seek a negotiated solution. As long as the president uses harsh rhetoric and refuses to budge, nothing will get done. Why won’t the president negotiate with the Republicans in search of common ground? Apparently, he thinks that he can wear them down and, in the process, destroy his political opposition and win a big election victory in the 2014 mid-terms. Maybe he’s right … but at what cost? Is the price of political victory so great that he’s willing to put the country through so much pain? What‘s in the best interest of the American people, not just half the electorate? I’m pretty cynical about this whole business. I’ve sort of “tuned out” of the debate and childish rhetoric, if you know what I mean. Both sides need to grow up and act their age. Republicans are not going to be able to overturn Obamacare. If it fails, then it will be as a result of its own weight, and it will fail in the eyes of the American people as a whole, not just one political party. In turn, the Democrats need to recognize that the Republicans have some legitimate concerns that were dismissed in a roughshod manner four years ago and should be addressed now to improve the law. Neither side will get its way. I think the Republicans understand this, but it appears that the president and his allies don’t. Dysfunction by our leaders in Washington is no way to run our country, solve our problems, or grow our economy. Wouldn’t it be a “breath of fresh air” if both sides put aside their partisan differences and decided what was best for the country as a whole would be better, far better than any temporary political gamesmanship? Am I dreaming? Probably, but I hope not.