Children at Play: President Obama and the Democrats vs. the Republicans

Posted by root | 1 Oct, 2013

The federal government has shut down and both sides are digging their heals in like the kids on the playground who can’t get their way.  And all the while the American people are once again the losers in the game of Washington politics and the egos of the people whom we elected to serve us. 

President Obama and the democrats on the hill refuse to budge on any continuing resolution from the House of Representatives that is not “clean.”  This means they want a bill funding the government that does not include any language defunding or weakening ObamaCare.  House republicans insist that any such resolution must repeal or delay implementation of the president’s signature legislation.  Both sides are name calling and neither side is in a position to back off.  So what is the answer? 

Whenever two sides are debating tough issues, it is always hard to find a middle ground.  But there always is a middle ground.  To get there both sides have to want to get there.  However, democrats and republicans are now in a position where, if one side acquiesces or blinks, it will look like the loser and neither side wants that.  It is all about winning.  In addition the name calling is so bad that neither side has staked out a middle ground.  It is bad and getting worse, and once again the American people are held hostage. 

The real concern should be that the country is in this mess to begin with.  If we elected adults to congress and a qualified president who took their responsibilities seriously and would govern rather than fighting and working to build a political party base, Washington would be a better place.  The United States Capitol should be a place where issues and problems are discussed by civilized, rational people and where sound solutions are sought and implemented.  Today we do not have this.  It is all about politics and the “evil” members of congress on the other side of the aisle. 

Solving this problem of self-importance that permeates far too many members of congress is not easy.  But the solution could be a simple one.  It is called term limits.  All members of congress should be subject to term limits.  Now I am not a fan of term limits because it makes the bureaucracy more powerful and members of congress will be even more dependent on the staff for everything from the location of the men’s and ladies’ rooms to the drafting and passage of legislation.  But it is obvious now that Washington is broken and needs drastic changes if it is going to be fixed.  

The circus we now see, especially the vicious name calling by Senator Harry Reid (NV-D), the Senate Majority leader, is not what helps America.  President Obama is weak relying on Russian President Vladimir Putin to extricate him from a vote in congress that would have embarrassed him by denying a military strike in Syria.  Presidents don’t draw lines in the sand as Mr. Obama did without the courage to act if that line is crossed.  Presidents who want to lead, as Mr. Obama said he would do while running for the Oval Office, don’t paint the loyal opposition into a corner where it has no fallback position to negotiate a constructive end to a serious debate.  There must always be a path to the end game. 

There is one additional thing that has bothered me during this debate over funding the government, and it should bother you too.  Yes, President Obama was elected by the American people and so were his fellow democrats.  But the American people also elected numerous republicans to serve in the U. S. Senate and the U. S House of Representatives.  So the votes by democrats and republicans are hopefully votes that represent the views of their various constituencies.  Mr. Reid’s and Senator Chuck Schumer’s (NY-D) claim that the election of Mr. Obama in 2012 settled the issue of ObamaCare.  It did not.  The people of America elected a divided government.  Democrats control the White House and the U. S. Senate.  Republicans control the House of Representatives, and the people of America expect the individuals whom they elected to represent their views even if that representation does not reflect the views of Mr. Reid or Mr. Schumer. 

So now the American people have no choice but to sit back and pray for the best.  We can only hope that the politicians running our country can find a way to resolve this battle over the nation’s budget and the pending battle over raising the nation’s debt limit.  Let’ keep our fingers crossed.