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ELECTIONS, THEIR AFTERMATH AND UNSOLICITED ADVICE TO REPUBLICANS

November 9, 2012

ELECTIONS, THEIR AFTERMATH AND UNSOLICITED ADVICE TO REPUBLICANS

I am gratified that my candidate was elected in Tuesday’s election for the presidency. Though pleased, it occurs to me that he is going to have his hands full in leading this country out of our current malaise, both economic and political. When others were cheering, I was somberly assessing his chances to succeed and what it would take for him to succeed. I am concerned about my country’s future and, as I have blogged before, was an American long before I was a Democrat. We have work to do and we must have leadership from both parties to get it done.

The president must first have cooperation and not a DOA answer from the leadership of the House of Representatives on every initiative he sends to them for their consideration. The “Just say No” attributed to Nancy Reagan in our “war against drugs” has no place in a legislative body when presented with proposed legislation and the facts and figures accompanying it by the president of the United States. It deserves a full and honest and fair hearing with opportunities for all to argue for or against its possible adoption into law before a committee interested in something other than making political points for C-Span distribution. The election is over; it is time to forget election politics and go to work for the American people. We need substantive legislation, legislation that has been held up for years by petty politics and reckless filibustering, and the American people have had it – they are going to demand that their representatives and senators go to work, and they are going to hold them accountable if they do not. The party, so to speak, is over. It is time to govern.

We must also have an end to cheap political shots and defamatory utterances delivered for presumed political advantage by our representatives and senators. That can be left to the Trumps and Limbaughs and other ideologues with their thoughtless chatter. Representatives and senators have their free speech rights, of course, but if the political class is ever going to regain the trust of the American people as an institution, that class (composed of people from both parties) must argue their points of view robustly, but civilly. Personal insults should be beneath the dignity of our representatives and senators. Such insults have nothing to do with proposed legislation and are (as we used to say) low class. They tell us more about the insulter than the insulted. With congressional popularity approaching single digits, one would think the political class should have seen the light by now. To the extent that they have not and continue such low class tactics, the American people are going to hold them accountable. We want them to end this eternal squabbling and get to work for the people who elected them.

Finally, and though I have many more suggestions which I cannot make for want of space, our Republican opponents (not enemies) are going to have to do something with the extremists in their party. While “big tent” theories abound and any political party is going to have its disparate elements, there are limits. We Democrats had a similar problem in 1948, when then Democrat Strom Thurmond left our party to form a new party called “Dixiecrats.” Whether they left or were expelled is not the issue. The issue was that there were base issues which could not be reconciled. Our “tent” wasn’t that big. If the Republican party is going to survive as a viable player in American politics and avoid the fate of the Whigs (from which their party came), they are going to have to expel the tea party extremists within their ranks. Otherwise, demographics being what they are, they are going to win few elections over the next 50 years. I believe in the two party system and believe that it is good for America. I do not want to see the Republican party go the way of the Whigs. Both parties make mistakes and we need watchdogs to point them out to the American people, who, after all, are entitled to truth in government so that they may elect their representatives and senators on pragmatic rather than ideological grounds.

The election is over. We have chosen people to guide us via a system of representative democracy, which, as Churchill observed, “is the worst form of government there is, except for all the rest of them.” It is not the system but rather the people in it who have irresponsibly contributed to our present malaise. That can and should be reversed as we meet and discuss the issues and how to solve our common problems against a background of more trust and less cynicism.

Indeed the election is over. It is time to get on with the hard but rewarding work of governing. The American people, patient and long suffering, are entitled to the best efforts of both parties in resolving long ignored issues on the table such as tax reform, budgetary controls, trade issues etc. Let’s get on with it.  GERALD  E

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