Divided Government

John Boehner And Paul Ryan Vs. The Tea Party Radicals!

The Speaker of the House and the Budget Committee Chairman have thrown down the gauntlet to the right wing Tea Party Movement members of its Republican caucus, and to the pressure groups and talk radio and Fox News Channel critics.

And the good news that 169 members of the GOP caucus backed John Boehner and Paul Ryan, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a bit of a surprise since Cantor tends to hobnob with the radicals a good deal of the time, is welcome!

While this means the budget bill will stabilize the economy, and allow some progress next year on some items on the agenda, it is almost certain that IF the Tea Party challenge succeeds in 2014 House and Senate races, challenging incumbents, then Boehner will no longer be Speaker of the House, and Ryan may be ousted as Budget Committee chairman.

One would think that Boehner and Ryan are moderates. which is extremely far from the truth, but they are at least responsible legislators, who realize that with divided government, some negotiation and compromise is essential, in order to get anything done.

The hope is that the tumult in the GOP will enhance chances of the Democrats winning back control of the House, and with a Senate where the filibuster is rarely used due to the new 51 vote majority requirement, hopefully the next Congress in 2015 will make us forget what a disaster the 113th Congress has been, the worst in modern American history!

Virginia Unlikely To See Democratic Agenda Accomplished With Heavily Republican Legislature, And Florida Could Have Same Scenario A Year From Now!

It is great news for Democrats that Terry McAuliffe has been elected Governor of Virginia over right wing extremist Ken Cuccinelli, but sadly, with the legislature being heavily Republican, the prediction is that little of the new Governor’s agenda for reform is likely to be adopted.

And after the election for Governor in Florida in 2014, even if former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, turned Independent in 2010 for the Senate race, and now Democratic for the gubernatorial race, succeeds in defeating highly unpopular Governor Rick Scott, the GOP hold on the legislature is still likely to be very powerful, and prevent Crist from accomplishing much of what his agenda might be.

So two key states, and possibly more, with decisions of voters to split power, will be just as paralyzed in the ability to have progress, and be as stymied to a great extent, as in Washington, DC, with a Republican House of Representatives and a Democratic Senate.

The argument that divided government is better government has been shown over and over again to be totally lacking in validity, as all it produces most of the time is stalemate and gridlock!

House Speaker John Boehner Needs To Show Some “Cajones”!

Speaker of the House John Boehner is now faced with a revolt against the Senate passed two month extension of the middle class payroll tax cut, the continuation of unemployment compensation for those on it, and the delay in cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.

The vote in the Senate was 89-10, but now Tea Party House Republicans are refusing to support the extension, which is far from ideal, as there should have been an agreement to extend these provisions for an entire year.

But at this late date of the calendar year, if no action is taken, then these provisions will expire, and Senate Democrats have made it clear there will be no return to Washington DC by the adjourned Senate. If taxes go up for the middle class; unemployment benefits are ended; and Medicare doctors lose some of their payments, there will be hell to pay!

It is time, after a year of conflict and confrontation that is the worst in Congressional history, that Speaker Boehner show some “cajones”, and make it clear that the Tea Party radicals are not going to hold the nation hostage for the umpteenth time! The 112th Congress MUST get its act together, and not a moment to waste!

Boehner has to show he has the capability of former Speakers such as Sam Rayburn, Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, and even Newt Gingrich, to get things done!

Boehner needs to impose discipline and make these radicals know who is the boss, even at the sacrifice of his Speakership in the next Congress!

He will need to work with traditional conservative Republicans and Democrats to get the country’s business accomplished this next year, as we cannot tolerate another year of such confrontational government!

Refusal to do so will convince voters to give up the experiment in divided government, and the Republicans will be the losers!

It is time for everyone of common decency and humanity to declare “war” on the Tea Party, come hell or high water, and put the nation’s needs in the forefront!

The Absolutely Urgent Need For Compromise In The Tradition Of The Founding Fathers!

With the nation on the brink of financial chaos, due to the failure to have both sides come to an agreement on the Debt Ceiling and budget cuts, America is entering uncharted territory that is arguably the most dangerous since the Great Depression, and possibly the Civil War!

When one looks at our history, one realizes that our brightest and greatest moment was the time of the Founding Fathers, when compromise ruled and we came up with a Constitution that involved sacrifice of the differing sides of the political battle toward the greater good, compromise to save the nation at a dangerous moment!

When we look at the Civil War, it was exactly the opposite of compromise, and the nation suffered through four long years of war, and two thirds of a million soldiers killed, because compromise was no longer possible.

The Great Depression saw tremendous division, but yet a unity among the American people that they had to support the effort that had been started by Franklin D. Roosevelt, rather than create a divided government of the two houses of Congress in the hands of opposing parties, causing paralysis!

It is time that this nation moved toward a short term solution in the image of the Founding Fathers, followed by a long term solution whereby the American people make a choice as to their future, by giving full authority either to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to take action without a paralyzed Congress in which no compromise is possible!

It is not acceptable to have a continuation of what the American people, by their lack of knowledge or participation have wrought at the present–divided and paralyzed government! The only way government can work is full control by one party for a four year term of a President, followed by an opportunity for a reversal in view by the American people, but in a manner that allows action, instead of stalemate!

The battle for the future can only be decided by full accountability, not by creating a government which can do nothing except hurl accusations back and forth, and therefore prevent any action! This dangerous situation cannot be allowed to continue!

So therefore, what must be done right now, through compromise?

1. Raise the debt ceiling through the next Presidential election in one action.
2. Agree to long term changes in Medicare that allow gradual raising of the age limit to 67 for people under the age of 50 now, but allowing, as with Social Security, a lowered coverage at age 65 for those who do not wish to wait to 67 to gain full benefits.
3. Raise the Social Security full benefits for future retirees, so that those born in 1980 and after must wait for full benefits to age 68, and those born in 1990 and after must wait for benefits to age 69, but in each case having the ability to gain lower benefits, as now, at age 62 or somewhat later if they wish.
4. Have the Social Security tax apply to all income, not just to $106,800, as with Medicare, which has no limits.
5. Agree that some increase in taxes on the top two percent MUST occur, but less than what has been proposed in the past.

It is essential that the lobbying groups, including those for corporations and the wealthy, and for the AARP and other progressive groups, have to be told that compromise is unavoidable, and that sacrifice is necessary, but in a way that affects people, regarding taxation and the social safety net, in a way that is less harsh, but part of being a patriotic American, accepting responsibility of paying more taxes and recognizing that social programs, to be saved, require some changes in age limits and taxation levels!

Once compromise is reached, both parties go to the country, and hopefully, instead of creating a paralyzed government that can accomplish nothing, we go more in the way of parliamentary government, the creation of total responsibility that can be reversed by the electorate in future elections, if the public is more educated and involved and decides major changes are needed!

So we need a combination of the late 1780s and the 1930s, rather than the 1860s, if we are to have progress as a nation to resolve our differences, and have a government that works!