Sunday, November 7, 2010

Political Winds...

Yep, there’s plenty of political stuff floating around, isn’t there, but most of it is pure hot air.  After this last week that we’ve just experienced, I suppose that it isn’t surprising but it is amusing to see both Republican and Democratic Party officials reaching desperately here and there for something solid to hold on to.  
Even the winning Republicans are trying to find one coherent message.  If the GOP House leadership wants to reduce the size of government, where are they going to start?  I’d start with the Pentagon and then move to Afghanistan, but that’s liberal, old me.  It sounds to me as if we’ll be hearing and talking about how to shave the Health Care Plan, most of which hasn’t yet even gone into effect.
The poor GOP has its own internal headaches, not the least of which is Sarah Palin.  Her meddling “endorsements” of those whacky Senate Tea Party candidates, such as Christine O’Donnell instead of the electable Mike Castle in Delaware, Sharon Angle instead of the moderate, Sue Lowden in Nevada, and even Palin's hand-picked Joe Miller in Alaska, probably cost the Republicans control of the Senate.  Ha. Ha.  
Now, as both Murkowski and Miller are gathering forces with attorneys and money to fight each other over the Murkowski write-in ballots, the Republicans seem to be offering Miller money for  lawyering up. [Here]  Hey, I wonder when Murkowski will be disgusted enough with the GOP leadership to bolt to the Dems and caucus with them?  Interesting, eh?  It probably won’t happen but it is nice to think about, isn’t it?

The New York Times had a fascinating Op-Ed piece this week reminding us that the current political turnaround of the House in a midterm Congressional election is not the overwhelmingly revolutionary political activity that the press would have us think.  The author/historian David M. Kennedy reminds us that the House of Representatives is designed by the Constitution to reflect most closely the current political will and any wind of change.  

Kennedy also suggests that our recent politically turbulent time is somewhat like the Gilded Age: [Here]
But the political instability of our own time pales when compared with the late 19th century.  In the Gilded Age the American ship of state pitched and yawed on a howling sea of electoral turbulence.  For decades on end, “divided government” was the norm.  In only 12 of the 30 years after 1870 did the same party control the House, the Senate and the White House.
I guess we should be grateful that we haven’t yet plowed through as many years of political turmoil as the 30 years author Kennedy mentioned.  However, there are some similarities between today and the Gilded Age in that no strong Presidential leadership has yet to emerge.  Perhaps the current WH will learn some lessons and act more intelligently than it has so far.  We can always hope...

In the meantime, we have other urgent fundamental questions which will take compassionate and intelligent leadership as well as political talent to solve.  A partial list of those questions are:

What are the limits of a corporation’s power to manipulate the political process for its own selfish gain?  
Should, in fact, a corporation be given the rights and privileges that a citizen enjoys?  
What corporate regulations are necessary for a nation to remain a democracy?  
What responsibilities, if any, do “we the people” have to the poor, the sick, the feeble, the elderly--even to the less gifted?
This is quite a list and we best be getting on to solve them.  The time for dancing is over and the time for a White House cleaning should begin.  Sober and direct talking to the American people would be a good start.  Throw out the damned teleprompter, too, and start talking from the heart, not the chin...

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