OPINION – The holidays are behind us and it’s time to get on with the New Year.
There’s much to do, particularly in Washington, D.C., where our supposed leaders are convening in earnest, or at least as close as they get to earnest.
They’ve got a full plate.
There’s the economy because, well, it’s always about the economy. Will they be able to find some solutions to the ongoing fiscal crisis in this country? Meanwhile, the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow.
They are always talking about immigration reform in Washington, D.C., but never quite get around to a reasonable solution.
There’s the issue of implementing the new health care policy, which is being resisted by a number of states, including Utah, that are not too pleased with the new federal standard that ensures that all of us have access to the kind of medical services we all deserve. That includes the nonsense about killing, or severely maiming, Social Security, which I seriously doubt will ever disappear.
There is also the weighty issue of what to do in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy. The divide here is probably the greatest that Congress will face. The odd thing is that even most supporters of the Second Amendment are in favor of ratcheting up the laws governing assault weapons and the high-capacity magazines that feed them. The finger pointing has been ridiculous and many of the suggestions absurd as the gun lobby flexes its high-caliber muscle.
Chris Stewart, who has yet to step onto the House floor as the representative from Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, recently mentioned during an interview that he would be in favor of some limited gun controls if a new bill also included additional outreach and treatment for the mentally ill. Loyal Southern Utah Republicans are already lining up to toss him out of office before he casts his first vote. Stewart, by the way, is trying to save face by saying that his comments were taken out of context. I seriously doubt that. I have been in the business long enough to know that people are rarely misquoted and that claims of being “taken out of context” usually mean, “oops … I shouldn’t have said that.”
In recent years, we have seen Congress fiddle-faddle for months on important issues, waiting until the absolute last second before grudgingly coming to a temporary resolution. It’s why we have so many crises in government.
These drama queens are long on theater, short on purpose other than the self-serving kind of posturing to look good for the cameras.
I think we’re all tired of this brinksmanship politicking.
We’ve seen it with the health care bill, the unemployment extensions, the debt ceiling crisis, and, most recently, the fiscal cliff debacle, and we’ve had enough.
We suffer a crisis in leadership at this point from both sides.
This is one time when the president gets a pass because he has tried, on numerous occasions, for bipartisan cooperation.
However, the first person I point the finger at is Vice President Joe Biden. Typically, it is the vice president who works with Congress. As president of the Senate, the vice president casts the deciding vote in the case of a tie. But, in the practical world, the job of the vice president is sort of along the lines of being the president’s ambassador to the Congress, meeting with the various committees and representatives to barter solutions to sticky legislation.
Although I hear Biden is an interesting guy and somebody most people would like to sit and have a beer with, he has been ineffective in his role as the president’s Congressional go-between.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell should both be fired. Neither has been effective at anything but obstructionism.
The House is an even bigger mess and has been since the inauguration of Obama.
First, he has seen members of his own party abandon him, especially around the time of the midterm elections when even moderate Democrats were running hard to the right to hold on to their jobs.
Then there is Speaker of the House John Boehner, who even Republicans seem to be tiring of for his foolhardy stubbornness to put his own agenda ahead of what is best for the country. He, too, should be shown the door.
In fact, you could kick most of this lot to the curb and I’d be fine with that.
No bad days!
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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