The “talks” between Republicans and the President drag on. Mostly this is based on the false hope that the President will fall into the same trap that he did during the Debt talks two summers ago. Do we really think he’s going to do that? The “Guess what I’m thinking so we can blame it on you,” gambit isn’t cutting it. The President is moving farther left with every exchange. Does that remind anyone else of another strategy two years ago?
Meanwhile, our (NJ’s) own Representative is now holding up our disaster relief funds in the hope that’ll he get some unrelated spending cuts. Scott Garrett the Representative from the 5th district of NJ (that runs from just above Bergenfield across the top of the state to the Delaware and then down the Delaware to just past 78) has called disaster relief “wasteful spending” and along with several other conservative Congressmen are calling for cuts in other programs to offset the cost.
Really Scott? Has no one pointed out to you that NJ only gets about 70 cents back on every tax dollar we pay now? Doesn’t that make you look just a little like another Washington chiseler? Dude, this is your state. Many homes are either gone or still without light and heat, not a good time to economize. What’s your next move, self-deportation? I’d vote for that, as I believe will many of your constituents.
While I would certainly agree that we need a national “rainy day fund,” may I humbly suggest that comes after the relief? Possibly with some legal protection to stop Congress from raiding the fund. Scott’s worried about accountability for the funds they are forking over. News flash, right now we’re more worried about your accountability Congressman.
The real danger here is that after 30 years of failed “top down” economic policies the more conservative branch of the party is going to start all sorts of crazy shenanigans like this. The danger of a Congress with a third of the members hyper-ventilating and frothing at the mouth over their own disillusionment is really scary. The post election dilemma and letdown for a lot of these people may have us passing out the Xanax soon. After all, when one day you have “creditable” sources predicting over 330 votes in the Electoral college and the next your candidate is a smoking wreck, it’s a pretty jarring shock. The predictions were half right at least, there was a kind of landslide, we just weren’t at the top, we were standing underneath it.
So, instead of Shock and Awe, we got Shock and Dismay. The scary part is now we all have to live through the recovery. Wasn’t it Walter Brennan in “Meet john Doe” that talked about getting stung by dead bees? That’s what we’re looking at for the next two years having to step carefully around a whole flock of dead bees all over the floors of Congress. Dead, disheartened and angry ones who can’t wait to gum up the works, as if that was possible in this Congress. However, how the party handles this is key to gaining any kind of political momentum again.
There is hope though, calmer voices are starting to be heard, from people like Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania and John Warner of Virginia. They see the future of the party moving away from the shrinking conservative base and into a more middle of the road, less “angry white guy” constituency. That’s a good thing, some Republican principles like a sound financial footing and a well-defended personal life are well worth keeping. We have a difficult road ahead and complex decisions to make on things like Internet and personal data privacy, Right now we, the citizens of the US, have very little privacy. The campaigns showed us that they who mine the data best have the upper hand. Of course that’s nothing compared to what the “Private sector” has on us. They’ve been at it a lot longer and with far less restrictions.
It’s just when faced with a very complex future, North Korea launching satellites, a declining middle class and a population getting more and more fed up with their lot in life everyday, we don’t need the additional confusion of a horde of disillusioned law makers dissenting everything in sight. The party of “No” has got to get back to making suggestions, I mean ones other than “Over my dead body,” or “From my cold dead hands....” That’s just “old white guy shouting at the TV” talk. Let's get positive, instead. The budget talks would be such a wonderful place to start.
Prentiss Gray is a 30 year Morris Township resident, qualifying him only as a “long term visitor” to this historic area. He writes professionally as a freelancer for Gannett in the Domesti-tech blog and makes frequent contributions to Speak Without Interruption, an international on-line magazine. He also writes and edits travel and historical journals.