February 19, 2010

The US Congress Wake Up Call Is Being Sounded.

The following editorial originated at The Baxter Bulletin, Mountain Home Ark. with no further attribution. I've read it over three times and it seems to state the sorry state of our political parties exactly. If something is not done to correct the situation, and soon, I worry about us, the USA, declining into a state of ineffectiveness. The world needs us to man a moral compass and to illustrate to the rest of the world what is possible living in a free society. I'm afraid all we are showing now is a gang of angry men and women in the congress speaking in angry strident voices protecting individual fiefdoms. They seem to have forgotten that our business is their business, our welfare is their business. They have turned into a nest of very unpleasant people dedicated, it seems, only to the welfare of themselves and/or their party. The welfare of the country and it's citizens has lost out. The congress must relocate those higher values they espoused when they asked their fellows to send them to Washington, or like Bayh suggested, we should throw them out. If we wish to continue being that last great beacon of freedom ascribed to us on that lady in the New York harbor, holding up that torch and bragging how good we can be, we had better do some deep thinking and check and recheck how easy the freedoms too many people have fought and died for could be eroded and lost.


Bayh echoes how many Americans feel

There's just too much brain-dead partisanship, tactical maneuvering for short-term political advantage rather than focusing on the greater good."

That's how U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., summed up what's happening in Congress and Washington, D.C. during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

The day before, Mr. Bayh announced he's not seeking re-election to the Senate, saying, "I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives, but I do not love Congress."

With the return of partisan gridlock in the Senate, extremists on the left and right battling for their agendas instead of America's and common sense being trampled in the process, many Americans have the same feelings as Mr. Bayh toward Congress. They have those same feelings toward Washington as a whole.

As we've pointed out before, the moderate voice, the voice of reason, can't be heard over the shouting by the extremes of both parties. There's little, if any room, for compromise to produce legislation and policy that are beneficial for the American public.

Like the proverbial squeaky wheel, the loudest get the attention in Washington while today's new silent majority goes overlooked, ignored and pushed aside. It's one reason so many Americans are angry and frustrated with government.

Most Americans aren't totally right or left, liberal or conservative. They occupy the ever-eroding center ground, and just as the economic and social middle class is being squeezed toward being an endangered species, so are political moderates.

Obstinate ideology is overtaking common sense as politicians more and more adopt the "my way or the highway" philosophy. Unfortunately, it's the people who bear the brunt of this bullheadedness.

Mr. Bayh addressed that in his television interview, saying, "The extremes of both parties have to be willing to accept compromises from time to time to make some progress because some progress for the American people is better than nothing, and all too often recently we've been getting nothing."

Whatever happened to the days of moderate Republicans and Democrats, the ones who could iron out differences and produce strong, effective legislation for the country? What happened to the times when party politics could be set aside to deal with issues clearly important to the American people? They've been replaced by puffery and demagoguery.

While there is speculation Mr. Bayh might consider a 2012 presidential run — although he said he has no interest, "none whatsoever" — for the moment he just sounds as disgusted with the whole mess as are the American people. He's said he thinks he can accomplish more good for the country in the private sector than in Congress.

However, Mr. Bayh also echoed the sentiment of many Americans on how they can deal with the problems in Congress.

"The people who are just rigidly ideological, unwilling to accept practical solutions somewhere in the middle, vote them out, and then change the rules so that the sensible people who remain can actually get the job done," said the retiring senator. "Congress needs to listen and the American people need to help with this process."

Remember, those are words from a moderate Democrat.

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