Today, let’s talk about “Bad Voters – Bad Government”
In another month we will have elected a new President – in the person of “learning on the job dot 2 (Obama – Obama)” or “trickle down dot Three (Reagan – Bush – Romney)”, one-third of the Senate and The House. The winners will walk glassy eyed to the great table of hope expecting that the vision of the future laid out by their candidates will be realized in 100 days. Dream on!
What they forget is there are three bodies of Government in the United States and the Legislature presents a problem for the executive branch. And the legislature itself is a house divided. We don’t elect Kings my friends – we elect Presidents and they need the cooperation of the legislature to get things done and deliver on their promises. Presidents don’t achieve everything they want or promised because we have divided government.
Whatever party reigns victorious will face an opposition with serious clout. Whatever the outcome in November, it is extremely unlikely that one party or the other will enjoy the supermajority in the Senate needed to ram something vehemently opposed by the minority past their silver tongues and down their throats. Therefore, the losers – I minority party will enjoy the all-powerful, show stopping, impregnable fortress of the filibuster in the Senate. This gives them to block anything and everything for any reason.
To wit: Mitch McConnell stated during an interview with Fox News, and I quote “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Further, when he asked in that same interview if the charge by the Democrats that the Republicans were sabotaging the economy for political gain in 2012 he first admitted, “well, that’s true” (http://www.examiner.com/article/mitch-mcconnell-r-ky-maintains-gop-s-priority-is-defeating-obama-2012). Now I don’t mean to single out poor Mr. McConnell since modern politics require that the party opposing the President demonize and embarrass him – not just disagree with him. Plus the Democrats can and have been just as obstructionist. Senate rules provide the minority party the power to hold all of us hostage to a political power play.
Two points here. One – we elect people to do our work – not pursue a politicized agenda at the expense of serving the needs of the people. It is universally agreed that the failure to deal with the budget and deficit has set the fiscal cliff that now terrifies most rational Americans. As for the irrational ones, please feel free to jump off.
Secondly, we have to end the hyper-partisanship. Our two parties have to find a way to work together. A government that is frozen by its divisions serves no one’s interests. When we read stories about the great things that government has accomplished – landmark legislation that has made this the great nation it is, part of the story is always the compromise reached between the parties to make it happen. Gridlock and partisan hatred produces nothing. No history book has ever credited extremist gridlock with some great leap forward.
Here’s the problem –the hyper-partisanship is not the fault of the politicians – it’s our fault. When we are drifting inexorably to the extremes. We believe gossip, Internet chatter and commentaries that are often completely false. We are bitterly divided ourselves and the divide now makes the Grand Canyon look a crack in the pavement.
And then we take this division and acrimony and threaten to throw out the politicians that don’t share it. The moderates – the ones who value compromise and reasonable debate are being thrown out office. As Congress moves toward the extremes, its ability to get things done diminishes. Therefore boys and girls – Republicans and Democrats and Americans all – remember if you want to see your government work for the common good – allow them to come to the center and work together. Don’t punish our elected officials for trying to find common ground. If you remain divided and pursue extremism, you will get what you so richly deserve – bad government. Bad voters beget bad government.
Fred Thimmel, is the President of Bryant Products, CEMA’s (Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association) Government Affair’s Committee Chair and a Past President of the Association as well. Fred’s company has been a member of CEMA since 1990.
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