I am fed up beyond all endurance by our political class and I’m not alone. If we band together, there is a slim opportunity for rational action.
Let me sum up where we are at this moment in time. Republicans have a tiny majority in the House, which means that the next Speaker of the House will be a Republican. Kevin McCarthy is seen as the frontrunner, though no one seems to think he’d be any good at it. In order to get the job, he is selling his soul to the far-right edge of his party, because he’ll need all their votes. The consensus seems to be that with him as Speaker, no actual legislation will be accomplished for the next two years. The Republicans are going to spend their time talking about Hunter Biden’s laptop and the Democrats are going to sit in the bleachers saying, “These people can’t govern – vote for us next time.” The media will cover the whole thing like it’s the Kentucky Derby and for the rest of us it will all feel like a two year long root canal.
And we’re okay with that? Really? We don’t have two years to screw around; there’s a lot to do.
Try this. Choose a vaguely bipartisan Republican representative. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania comes to mind, but there are others. Have the Democratic leadership offer a deal – if he can get the votes of 10% of his caucus, most of the Democrats will vote for him for Speaker. Then we can spend the next two years actually getting something done.
You may think I’m being naïve. Maybe, but I haven’t led a sheltered life. I’ve built a school in Haiti, been mugged in Buenos Aires and crashed a narrowboat in Wales. I’ve spent my whole life doing work that matters, including winning six races for county commissioner in a small rural county that usually votes 2 to 1 for Republicans.
Here’s a little secret I’ve discovered. Many voters like it when elected officials do their job. Sign on to this deal, then go to the voters in two years and say, “Hey, we saved Social Security, put an immigration plan in place and got a handle on inflation.” As an argument that seems compelling, but if you lose your election because you actually did the work of the people, walk out the door with your head held high and get a real job. If those three issues aren’t at the top of your list, pick some others. Deficit, climate change, too much money in politics - if you aren’t able to find three issues you really want to fix, you definitely shouldn’t be in public office.
A study from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy listed 150 issues in which a majority of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats agree on a path forward. Big stuff - Social Security, Immigration, Police Reform - the list goes on and on.
Would a deal like this mean I’d be happy with everything that came out of Washington? Oh, hell no. But there are problems out there, real problems, that aren’t being addressed and they could be. We cannot continue to leave politics in the hands of the screamers and the whiners. It’s embarrassing.
I can't even conceive of 150 issues other than the big ones you've mentioned, although I've no doubt they're there. That said, until we resolve two huge hurdles ... Citizens United and term limits, both of which provides the decision makers with unlimited funds and the time to collect all they can ... noting much of note will ever happen. We'll be stuck in this world that dear ol' smiling Ronnie created with his "voodoo" economics.
You are spot on ! The art of deal making and compromise..I vaguely remember that approach and it leads to some good results !
Good ideas, Brent. Until people in Washington start acting like patriots instead of politicians, nothing positive will happen.
This is absolutely on point. Well said, Brent.