“I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” Pee Wee Herman wasn’t the only one to use these insults in arguments with his peers. Members of Congress and other politicians do the same thing around the clock. That’s really mature, isn’t it?
America is bleeding reason: reason of all types. Whether in politics, media, entertainment, athletics, religion, or education, having differences is common, but serious attempts to find resolution with others regarding differences are long gone. Political bi-partisanship: a lost art. The culture of recognizing differences of all kinds with others and working collectively for resolution disappeared in America in the ’80s. It began with the loss of fundamental understanding of how to even start a reconciliation process yet alone try to work through conflict.
Remember President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neil? The Massachusetts Democrat was a firebrand: so was President Reagan. The government was deeply divided — an eerily similar Congressional divide as we see today: a slim GOP Senate majority with Democrats firmly in charge in the House.
Now, as both sides grapple with a Grand Canyon-size political divide, some are looking to the O’Neil and Reagan model for guidance. “You have to develop the relationship before bipartisanship,” says moderate Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf, who was one of 54 Republicans swept into office with Reagan in 1980. “A lot of it was done after hours. They got together, they broke bread, they told stories, and they did things that I think helped us do things to make some accomplishments,” says Wolf. But, alas, I doubt we will ever see Speaker Pelosi and President Trump sharing a cozy dinner or even an occasional nightcap at the White House.
Today’s divide and resulting political animus have unfortunately tainted the discourse between Americans of all descriptions. O’Neil and Reagan got together often, not to badger each other about differences, but to recognize those differences and then discuss solutions. They ALWAYS sought solutions. As argumentative as was Speaker O’Neil, so too was President Reagan. But here’s the difference between then and now: the objective was never “It’s my way or the highway.” Each understood and accepted that there always WERE differences. Each understood and accepted that there always WERE possible solutions. But, more importantly, both were driven by one thing only: the necessity of finding compromise sufficient to implement policies that, while addressing the issues of each side, always put the Nation and its citizens’ welfare first. And each outcome rarely contained demands for political power for either’s advantage. That quest for advantage and power consumes all Congressional negotiations today.
We’ll detail that answer in our summary. But let’s examine what is lost (besides common sense) in all this: time and taxpayer money.
It’s bad enough that Congress is barely in session throughout the year. They justify this with “I have to spend time in my district/state because I represent the People in D.C.” That’s a total cop out! They know what their constituents want regarding every issue. In today’s electronic 24/7 instant media environment, every member is inundated with their constituents’ thoughts on every key issue. They’re being out of session and D.C. so much is about maintaining D.C. status and raising campaign dollars — PERIOD.
While they’re away from Washington, the extensive cost of Congressional operations continues: U.S. Capitol operating expenses, Congressional office staff, and office operations — hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. And nothing gets done.
Don’t forget about taxpayer payment for Congressional travel. Oh sure, most of the junkets (like the one taken to the Caribbean by Democrats during the partial government shutdown) are paid by lobbyists, (which in our opinion is campaign fraud) but most of their travel costs come from taxpayers.
And, obviously, while away from D.C., they’re not doing what they were hired by Americans to do: LEGISLATE.
Just how much does Congress cost to run? Latest “estimated” costs to taxpayers are $5.75 Billion each year. That’s $10.75 Million per member of Congress annually!
Can you imagine any scenario in which Speaker Pelosi would introduce for floor debate legislation to rein-in Congressional spending and waste?
Not going to happen: but it certainly should. And her counterpart in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, certainly is not planning on doing that either.
Congressional Comradery Just Got Worse
Remember this: Congress gave Reagan fits with investigations. Everything wasn’t rosy then either. Even though there was definitely partisanship — especially in Tip Oneil’s House — members from both parties found ways to work together, even during investigations. Remember the Iran Contra Affair? Put Google to work when you have some time and watch or read some of those hearing minutes. They were contentious, but they were “real” investigations. Not so in this New Democrat House. Here’s what the next two years in Congress will be consumed with: Investigations – “Partisan” Investigations.
Investigations are piling up. If it seems like new ones are being announced every day, that’s because they are. In fact, February 27th we saw three new investigations crop up.
Early that day, House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent a letter to the White House announcing an investigation into the Trump team’s shoddy handling of the security clearance process.
Just a couple hours later, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) said his committee will look into whether Trump’s tangled network of business dealings are influencing foreign policy decisions.
It’s a logical choice for an investigation. We already know Democrats claim Trump’s D.C. hotel is a conduit for foreign money, particularly Saudi Arabian money, to make its way to Trump. They maintain Trump is willing to go easy on Saudi Arabia, even after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly ordered by that country’s crown prince.
That same day, we learned that House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) are teaming up to dig into Deutsche Bank. Dems feel there’s “Trump blood in the water” there, given that special counsel Robert Mueller has already subpoenaed the bank for its records related to Trump and his family.
Schiff says that the bank is an “obvious place to start” in examining whether the Trump Organization laundered money. Deutsche Bank was recently fined several hundred million dollars for helping the Russians launder money. Additionally, that bank made numerous business loans to the Trump Organization.
Here’s the one that Americans knew was coming, but most still shake their heads hearing about it. Schiff said the investigation will include “the scope and scale” of Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election, the “extent of any links and/or coordination” between Russians and Trump’s associates, whether foreign actors have sought to hold leverage over Trump or his family and associates, and whether anyone has sought to obstruct any of the relevant investigations.
Forget about the Democrat adoration for that bastion of investigatory perfection who spent (so far) $50 million U.S. dollars doing just what Schiff is planning. Forget that Democrats threatened anyone who even frowned at Robert Mueller — especially the President. And Schiff was chief among them!
House Democrats are opening an investigation into what they say are abuses of power by President Donald Trump through his attacks on the courts, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the media, according to a House official familiar with the plans.
Topics for the inquiry will include Trump’s public humiliation of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his attacks on actions by the liberal Ninth Circuit Court and his abuse of reporters as “dishonest” and “enemies of the people,” said the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
And those are just the beginning.
Just how many meetings do you think those Democrat committee chairmen had with their Republican counterparts, coordinating these pending investigations to assure maximum results for Americans, minding the use of their time and our money in the process?
Not One Minute! Dollars? Add another Billion or so the cost of operating Congress each of the next 2 years: “Investigation Gate!”
The fundamental flaw of all these investigations is exactly as that in the Mueller probe. Typically in law enforcement investigations, a crime (or wrong) happens. Officials examine that crime (wrong), obtain evidence of every kind to determine its scope, origin, intentions of perpetrators of that crime (wrong), and hopefully from those will determine the identity of the wrongdoer.
Robert Mueller worked backward, and so is the Democratic Congress. No crimes or wrongdoing initiated these investigations! Instead, Mueller, Schiff & Company have determined who the perpetrator is: Donald Trump. These investigations are not to track a wrongdoer for committing a wrong. They are to find or create some criminal act committed by the President. And if they find something, their political lives will be complete!
Does anyone else smell something foul in that philosophy?
For the “Why,” one must begin here: there is no verified crime or wrong exposed to justify initiating these investigations. The reason for doing so must be one thing and one thing only: to somehow through what is found (if anything) put President Trump in House impeachment.
I know: that sounds ridiculous. Do you know why? Because it IS ridiculous.
Just imagine what the U.S. Government would have looked like in 1984 if House Speaker Tip O’Neil had simply started a dozen or so investigations into President Reagan, with NO evidence of any crimes or wrongdoing. Honestly, that Congress would not have done so. But if they did, the American people would have revolted. But the main reason was that Americans were still unified, still respected the Office of the President AND who was in it, and expected all elected officials to abide by the Rule of Law while working for the American people crafting Legislation.
What a unique idea. We’d all pass out if this Congress did that!
What happened during the last administration is Washington leadership devolved into a petty partisan operating system in which ALL reason and all accountability to the American electorate were abandoned. And that started at the top.
The truth was abandoned. Integrity was non-existent and deemed unnecessary. The Rule of Law and respect for leadership were banished to Gilligan’s Island. All-consuming power and its pursuit devoured our government. And it’s alive and well today. Example?
Speaker Pelosi and a delegation of U.S. lawmakers were recently in Brussels to convince European heads they had control amid the uncertainty around transatlantic relations. Pelosi claimed that the U.S. president is not all-powerful in the meetings in Europe. The House speaker used her recent standoff over the government shutdown as some sort of ‘evidence’ that she has power over the president.
Further evidence of this pervasive evil gripping our country is what we see and hear in Media. Formerly non-partisan news is almost entirely nothing more than propaganda. And news “reporters” long ago evolved into nothing more than “Opinionists” who demand those who read, watch, and listen to their mantra accept it as gospel. And 90% of their “gospel” is garbage when vetted.
Peter Jennings worked the desk at ABC Evening News during Reagan’s two terms. I was a huge fan of his. He never once that I can recall made a single negative remark, editorial comment, or read a partisan story about any politician — Democrat OR Republican.
And, by the way, at the re-lighting of the Statue of Liberty that was nationally televised, Jennings cried after Sandy Patti sang the Star Spangled Banner. And he was Canadian!
In closing, let’s dream a little:
- Pelosi and Schumer will call for meetings with the President, Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy. In those meetings, they will all mutually commit to regular policy conversations about EVERY legislative issue.
- They will each present their ideas about every pending piece of legislation. Then they will each amicably and honestly discuss specifics of reasons why each legislative matter is not acceptable.
- They will in EVERY case find consensus on all issues, even if and when the end product is NOT what each desired.
- They will discuss truthfully separately and together in total honesty the details of any good results of implemented laws and policies. They will separately and together in total honesty discuss the details of any bad results of those same items.
- They will NEVER publicly denigrate each other or the offices they separately hold.
Let’s be honest: Reagan made some bonehead mistakes in office. So did Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, Obama, and Trump. We all have our opinions about things they did and did not do. We ALL have political perspectives.
Recognizing our differences should be just the start. Objectively discussing our differences as only steps to find a reconciliation of those differences into positive outcomes should be the ONLY end result we look for.
Everyone in D.C. needs to take a hard look in the mirror. They all need to pull out some history books and revisit past governments methods of reaching governing consensus. That is NOT happening in this government and didn’t in at least the last 3 either.
We owe at least that to the next generation so they can know something other than political partisanship. How can we expect them to build this nation into something greater without learning how to resolve differences for “the common good?”
If Pee Wee Herman could do that in “Pee Wee’s Great Adventure,” we certainly can.