Washington is NOT BROKEN

Old EbbittThree characters  from my novel Spin Doctor, Bob, Jack and Evan met it the backroom bar at the Old Ebbitt earlier today. The TV was tuned to the Sunday morning shows, Meet the Press, to be exact:

“…Washington is broken…”

Evan shook his head. “ This is so wrong.”

Bob put down his glass. “What are you talking about? Did they run out of bar snacks?”

Evan nodded at the TV. “No. Washington is broken. Didn’t you hear?”

“Bull…” Bob stopped himself, looked around and went on in a softer voice: “Washington is not broken. Washington is working perfectly.”

Jack leaned in. “Um. Bob. Have you been out of town? The Sequester? Hello, hello? Earth to Bob.”

Bob took a sip. “Funny. Yes, I know.” He drained the glass and waved to the bartender. “What amazes me is that nobody has read the damn Constitution. Nobody has read James Madison. Washington isn’t supposed to make fast laws. Not supposed to make policy like cars coming off the assembly line …”

Jack and Evan looked at each other. Jack lifted his beer, tasted it and eyed Bob. “Come on. We aren’t supposed to have gridlock.”

“Oh really? Why do you think we have gridlock? You know, you guys scare me sometimes. We have all these newbies that come to Washington, but you two live here. You are supposed to be pros.”

Evan and Jack stared at him in silence.

“Let me explain to you. We have the President. He thinks he has a mandate. He believes in whatever he is saying and is trying to get his way. He’s gone in three and a half years, with a little time at the end, maybe one to two years where his power will leak out like Huck Finn’s bag of cornmeal with a hole in it.’

The bartender slid a glass in front of him, he sipped, and went on: “So then, you have the House. It turns out they just got elected t00. Every one of them, in each little Podunk district. And guess what? They are already running for reelection. They don’t have time to make friends or eat lunch. The new ones are trying to learn while looking like they know everything, when they don’t actually know the difference between GSA and GAO. They don’t know who they can trust so they trust nobody. “

Another sip. Bob nodded at Evan. “And then there’s the Senate. They are there six years, so they get to know each other. Some of them even have friends who in the other party.”

Evan straightened up and faked a yawn. “Bob, thanks for the civics lesson but what the hell does this have to do with anything? How does that have to do with the Sequester?”

“Okay, don’t get me wrong, I know the Sequester sucks as a law. But it is where we are. There is no consensus. It is the job of the House to reflect their constituency and to throw themselves in front of a policy they think their folks will hate—raising taxes. The President’s job is to push his agenda. He’s doing that. And the Senate, they are supposed to be reflective and look at the big picture, the precedents, the long term effect. Most of them have been there a few years, so they should know a little history, know how things work. And if something is especially bad, they have the filibuster.”

Jack leaned in: “That’s nice Bob. You are basically saying you think gridlock is okay.”

“No I’m saying there is gridlock because there is no consensus. Nothing wrong with the system. Remember, the alternative to gridlock is to just go along with everything.”

Evan shook his head again. “What about national security? If we can’t get this resolved, I mean, I think we could have a major problem there.”

“So do I. But that isn’t because Washington is broken. It’s because of policy failures. It’s because of inept governing. There is no law we can pass that will protect against bad policy.”

“What’s the answer then,Bob?How is it going to turn out?”

“The polls tell the President he has support. Congress hears from folks back home that they better not capitulate. When those two facts change, either the President’s poll numbers or  the situation in various districts, we will get some motion. Is the economy getting better? Will the cuts really hurt? Will Obama lose credibility by claiming he has to beach aircraft carriers? Will the six Democratic Senators in Romney states who are running  in ’14 feel the love from their state? .  Hard to say.  Meanwhile, let’s get another drink.”


Filed under Spin Doctor, White House

3 responses to “Washington is NOT BROKEN

  1. *

    Most citizens have not done the math:

    1776 minus 1492 = 284 years
    2013 minus 1776 = 237

    The upper period was 47 years longer (exact dates don’t matter), from the initial European Explorer arrival (focus on point) on the North American Continent, until the Revolutionary War; versus the elapsed time from that War to today. Many people (including me) imagined, for some unknown reason, the landing date to War period to be shorter.

    The population of the “Colonies” was Two-and-a-Half Million (2,500,000) in 1776; not counting the “original people of the land” (Indians) and new-comer slaves. British troops during the War (1/3 German mercenary) were Sixty Thousand. The Colony Army, led by General (later US President) George Washington, had never more than Ninety Thousand troops including; Regulars and State Militia from Canada to Florida.

    Why the Revolutionary War took eight (I have been in a combat zone and can not imagine the conditions) years intrigued me. The British troops did not have superior weaponry. Surely, if HALF the adult male population, after the math equal to Three-Hundred Thousand (300,000), had cooperated and simultaneously attacked the King’s Men (tenuous coastal supply lines) the fight would last a few months at most.

    The answer I arrived at is; the War took eight years instead of a few months because the population (no Rasmussen pole available) was fractured into three basic groups:

    One third (40% debatable) of the population was for independence and liberty.

    One third (25% debatable) of the population preferred the King.

    Final third (35% question) could not comprehend or commit to either side.

    Today, the SAME three sentiments dominate. My conclusion is; the predilection of the individual is more psychological than formal ideological thought. The divide in policy opinion is simply that; a faction is personally comfortable with a strong centralized authority; that believes as they do. Not realizing, over time, once the totalitarian mechanism is established, history informs us they will no longer agree.

    Much traitorous (assuming you favored General Washington) activity, by Tories (King supporters) and the undecided equaling approximately half of the colonial population, obstructed the patriots. Under those odds, Devine intervention over an eight year span was needed to win; and they did!


  2. Frank X. Smith

    Our position has not changed with the exception being that the President lacks a SAG* card to complete his resume’

    And since the White House is now handing out Oscars nothing could be more appropriate.

    * Screen Actors Guild

    NewsJet Magazine

    • Sean Hannity (met him in San Diego) declares at least once during each of his radio talk shows that; some statement of a liberal is “unbelievable”. Other radio talk show hosts (I sample all in my radio area) have proclaimed; they don’t understand liberal thinking.

      Over the past 50 years I struggled with my inability to comprehend liberal thinking. After-all many liberals have a higher education. I was irritated that my logical arguments were not capable of convincing left-wingers of their folly. I decided the common (as opposed to elite) liberal is simply a Cool-aid drinker.

      My explanation for elites; I deduced a few years ago that an “opposition industry” in the best traditions of capitalism has dramatically expanded over the past forty years. The lame-stream media promotes such activity because the more “Twilight Zone” the message the more attention they can garner. Exposure for selling product and service is the incentive.

      Because much of liberal promoted ideas are destructive to United States prosperity and liberty, which was based on traditional American values, I reluctantly arrived at the conclusion that sociopaths are best to manage that opposition activity. Consequently not caring allows them to simply game the system to their financial advantage.

      The opposition industry includes; all liberal / progressive organizations, most public schools administration, most universities, aclu, sierra club, la raza … etc.

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