Wednesday, February 6, 2013
THE DEATH OF BIPARTISANSHIP
BRYCE ON POLITICS
Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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- It's actually been gone for a long time, at least since 2009.
On numerous occasions, President Obama has openly criticized Congressmen for the lack of give and take in their deliberations and contends such "business as usual" behavior is unacceptable. He does this with great aplomb, as if he was an innocent bystander in the process. He deserves kudos for not cracking a smile when saying this. Congressmen on both sides of the the aisle contend they yearn for bipartisanship but I'm afraid its time has passed, and it is now nothing more than a pipe dream. Former Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine recently dropped out of Congress after recognizing hyper-partisanship has led the federal government to becoming dysfunctional. Forces are at work to prohibit it.
The Left paints people like George Bush, Mitt Romney, and John Boehner as the personification of evil; conversely, conservatives see Barrack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi in the same light. Even though voters were acutely aware of the gridlock in Washington, they elected to keep it that way. Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Boehner, and Cantor are still in their same positions; the balance of power in the Congress remains unchanged; the economy, debt and deficit are still out of control; we still do not have a budget; we're still putting pork into our legislation (including the 'Fiscal Cliff' and 'Hurricane Sandy' bills); we still do not know the truth about Benghazi or 'Fast and Furious'; taxes continue to climb, and; we continue to raise the salary and perks of our government leaders. The only thing we accomplished in 2012 was that we raised billions of dollars to fuel the fires of the media. So why should we be optimistic that anything fruitful will occur during 2013?
The Left blames a lot of the problem on Grover Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" whereby legislators signed promises to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." Liberals criticize this pledge for impeding negotiations. On the other hand, conservatives feel snookered by Obama over the "fiscal cliff" legislation which upped the tax rates of the rich, while also including considerable "pork."
During his first campaign, the President promised his administration would be the most transparent in history. It didn't exactly work out that way. GOP congressmen were certainly not consulted over the Obamacare legislation. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the time was unsure what it included, but she dutifully pushed for its passage. The president has basically decided he cannot negotiate with House Republicans, consequently it is no longer a matter of deliberating over the content of a bill, it's a matter of knowing when to introduce it for political gain, such as at the last minute. This would all be laughable except for the fact America is faced with some rather severe problems. So much for transparency.
Make no mistake, the hyper-partisanship is all about control of the country, not just the purse strings either, but how Americans should live and work, and who should call the shots, the government or the citizens. I do not believe the politicians in Washington honestly want bipartisanship as it means caving into the other side, thereby derailing their plans for control. It's more than just acquiescing due to principles and ideology, but also to the interpretation of morality. Put yourself in the position of a Washington politician and honestly ask yourself what can truly be gained from practicing bipartisanship. The reality is, unless something radical changes the current situation in Washington, bipartisanship has gone the way of the Dodo.
To be blunt, there is no such thing as "political morality" in Washington, which is ultimately why Americans no longer trust its government. This is why I am a big proponent of a Constitutional Convention as prescribed by Article V of the Constitution, whereby certain elements of the Constitution can be addressed, such as: Congressional term limits, Congressional compensation and benefits, Federal lobbying, the Electoral Process, Immigration, Balanced Budget, etc. These are topics Congress and the White House simply do not have the political fortitude to address, but something we desperately need.
Although the president claims to be an innocent bystander in the partisan confrontation, he is the chief strategist for his party and actually spurns any suggestion of bipartisanship, which is why he relies heavily on executive orders. This is evidently what the voters wanted and it will continue unabated, if not get progressively worse. In the meantime, the people grow restless. Well at least half of us do, the other half thinks everything is just fine. Go figure.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Tim's columns, see: timbryce.com
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