Blogs » Politcs Plus » A broken government


As I explained last week, I have never seen our government as polarized and dysfunctional as it is today. I just finished reading three articles by Peter Beinart, David Von Drehle, and Newt Gingrich in this week's Time magazine. Peter explains “How we got here in how to fix it,” David writes an article on “Why the Tea Party movement matters,” and Newt's article is titled “A blueprint for bipartisanship.” They all fit into the main theme of the magazines feature theme….. “Washington is frozen.”

The whole theme starts with a quote from Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine, reminding us that the framers took great pains to dilute the powers of the central government but they arrived at a compromise with a system of checks and balances.

In the 1960s-70s, northern liberals, started pushing civil rights, abortion rights, stricter environmental laws and pushed for a more passive foreign policy. The southern conservative democrats could no longer accept this platform, so they switched parties. It was after George H.W. Bush left office that the congressional republicans realized that they could use political polarization to stymie the government and use that to win elections, making an effective, “government is the bogeyman platform.” It is quite evident who the conservatives are, in our local forum, they are the uncompromising anti- tax an anti Federal government posters who constantly use the words, nullification, freedom, liberty, socialism, Marxism as part of their everyday vocabulary. Bill Maher was right when he said” conservatives think they are the rightful heirs to the presidency.” The moderate conservative republican is a thing of the past. We only have to look at this year's CPAC convention where Glenn Beck is the keynote speaker and the far right John Birch society is a major sponsor.

Newt Gingrich's article was disappointing because he usually has a lot of good ideas when he is in the mainstream. He said that Obama should scrap the 4,500 page Health Care bill and start all over and republicans and should not be afraid of offering their ideas. I don't believe a word of that, because republicans do not want any part of legislation that resembles a democrat plan. Eric Cantor told a CPAC interviewer that they will go into Thursday's televised bipartisan meeting with a definite, no, as an answer. Newt quoted the right leaning Rasmussen poll that stated 61% of Americans preferred to scrap the whole health care bill and suggested starting over.

Mr.Von Drehle wrote about the Tea Party movement and how a shaky economy, unemployment sky high, the debt rising by the trillions, and politicians giving lip service to fiscal responsibility as being the reasons for a protest groups and the outbreak of outrage and was inevitable. He said that the Tea Party Movement has not aligned itself with a political party but if it finds a strong spirit with the conservative republicans. I think the president's race has a little bit to do with it because the Tea Party Movement is not a diverse group. He said most Americans prefer smaller government but they are not immune to Medicare, Social security, farms subsidies, mortgage deductions, and aircraft carriers and name your favorite cut- of- pork. This movement is making its mark by boosting former republican state legislator Marco Rubio in his race against moderate republican, Charlie Christ and J.D. Hayworth, who was voted out of office because of ties to Jack Abramoff, , in his run against John McCain. The author stated that the Tea Party boom came in three flavors, one is Americans for Prosperity, founded by the wealthy Koch family of Wichita, Kans. and its sister, Freedom Works, run by Dick Armey. These are the people that will be bused to health care and climate change town meetings. The second is the loosely run independent angry, grass root movement that does not get much publicity because they don't have the media or the lobbyist support. In fact they dislike the lobbyist as much as they do the Federal gov. The third group continues to be a magnet for conspiracy mongers, nativists and those that believe that the founding fathers set up the United States to be a firm Christian bedrock and designed the constitution to maximize individual liberty and free enterprise. I think the Republican candidates will use this group to win the mid-term elections but will not adopt their principles. They will choose to finish their terms and leave office for a lucrative lobbyist job.

I came away with some ideals on fixing Washington; it starts with changing how we vote.

1.Let the Independents vote in any primary and vote for any candidate..That will minimize the ideological purity many are trying to form. 2.Form a bipartisan committee to redraw the Gerrymandered districts to reflect demographics. 3.Stronger congressional campaign laws. 4.Shorten the campaign season

The Democrats must either enforce the filibuster or make it more vote passing friendly.