By Ann McFeatters, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
WASHINGTON – The boys and girls of Congress are returning from summer camp — er, Capitol Hill — to their real homes where they will 1) raise money and plead to be returned to camp; 2) stress how much they hate the nation’s political polarization; and 3) pledge never to compromise their beliefs.
Folks, there is no way to escape their blandishments unless you do not go out in public, especially to a county fair, parade or political rally. You’ll also have to refuse to answer your phone or open your front door. And do not power up your TV or car radio until the middle of November.
“Midterm election” may sound innocuous. This year it is a synonym for blood sport.
When President Barack Obama assumed office in 2009, he had a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House. In 2010, Democrats lost the House, and gleeful Republicans decided to make Obama’s life miserable.
House Republicans attempted to block anything he proposed. They did very well. They shut down the government at a cost of $24 billion. They proudly have passed the fewest number of bills in recent history, even those that 90 percent of Americans want, such as keeping guns out of schools. They voted to repeal Obamacare at least 50 times. They are hoping to sue Obama successfully for not enforcing Obamacare to the letter of the law even though, obviously, they don’t really want him to enforce it. Lately, some have begun talking blithely about “impeachment.”
Chafing to kick Obama around even harder, Republicans have vowed to win control of the Senate this November.They may succeed.
Upset at the prospect of being a lame dog for two more years and having no friends in Washington except his Portuguese water dogs, the president of the United States is counter-attacking. That means he will attend just about any Democratic fundraiser White House aides can locate by GPS. (Word to church groups and PTAs: Now might be the time to invite POTUS to your next gathering.)
Republicans had a field day pointing out that Obama refused to go to the southern border to see the plight of unaccompanied children streaming across but went to Colorado to play pool and raise money. Never mind that Republicans have blocked every Obama attempt to try to fix the broken immigration system.
So guess what is going to be a big rallying cry for Republicans this November? The broken immigration system.
And guess what the second GOP battle cry will be? The need to get all those millions of Americans who now have health insurance to agree they should give it up.
Everybody is angry with the political system because it is broken, results in the tyranny of the few over the majority, fails to help people who really need it, fills the coffers of the richest and preserves the status quo.
Oddly, the Tea Partyers who hate government the most are clamoring the loudest to be given government paychecks so they can cause more havoc such as refusing to raise the debt limit (thus destroying what remaining good faith the U.S. has). They also want to cut off more aid to the working poor and refuse to fix crumbling roads and bridges.
Millions of voters fed up with the impasse in Washington (where nothing of strategic importance is being done) will elect and reelect the cogs in the wheel. The lost battle for civility only got more hopeless when Tea Partyers realized that dumping vitriol (and untruths) on moderate opponents is one of the best ways to get a hand in the public till.
Voters, return to your senses. Do not elect or reelect anyone who wants to refuse to pay debts America already has incurred. Do not pull any lever for someone who proudly promises never to compromise (without it, politics is meaningless). Do not send to Washington anyone who tells you how much he/she hates government. Do not give your precious vote to anyone who labels the other side evil, treasonous, demonic or stupid. (Well, stupid is OK.)
And it’s OK, too, this August to shake hands with a politician with sticky cotton candy on your palm.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. Readers may send her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFP Photo/Mark Wilson
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