Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wait Til Next Year

Well the debate over the debt ceiling is over, and the pundits are circling the corpse, hoping to grab one last juicy meal and perhaps take a dump on those they disparage before the entire thing become indigestible. (In case they were wondering, it long since has.)

And while these 'experts' hold forth on who won and who lost, and political opponents use the latest terms of rhetorical abuse on each other; let me put my two cents in. We lost!

In yet another sad example of what passes for leadership in Washington DC, the compromise reached allows the government to borrow more immediately with a promise to cut spending at some future date (probably never). Also in this rather vague future will be yet another commission (now coming to be known as the 'Super Congress') to analyze spending and revenue (taxes) in the hopes of approaching some level of fiscal sanity.

Of course none of what's proposed is or ever will actually be a spending cut, but instead merely a reduction in the expansion that naturally takes place each year with the federal budget. In a process known as 'baseline budgeting', such increases are part of the rules used to provide legislators political cover for the expansion of government (kind of like the rules that hide pay increases for members of Congress) and give it the impression of fiscal responsibility. As a lifelong Cubs fan, this kind of subterfuge reminds me of every baseball season that I have experienced since my birth. Those of us supporting Chicago's North Side team understand what real Conservatives across the country are now gaining great insight into; discovering that they were backing teams with players that should never have been brought up from the minors, dealing with athletes who failed to produce when put into the starting line up, and suffering under managers who can't seem to effectively use the available talent that they can put on the field. In a broken record of incompetence, futility, and failure; every major policy debate in this country looks like a season of baseball in Wrigley Field that goes through the same sorry process as every one before.

The whole thing begins with such promise of course. Expectations of victory are raised, promises are made, and predictions are issued as to the outcome of the season. Early successes often buoy spirits and bring supporters to their feet, but sooner or later the cracks in the lineup begin to appear. An ace pitching staff now seems incapable of throwing a pitch (an idea) over the plate, consistent sluggers start fanning at easy pitches or swinging at balls out of the strike zone, smart base runners stumble and come up short of the bag after getting a great jump, and sure-handed fielders seem to drop every ball (question) sent in their direction by opponents or the media.

Determined not to allow dejection (or reality) set in, Cubs fans (and voters) set aside these minor setbacks; sure in the knowledge that the team will come back and the early promise of triumph will be realized. No matter how horribly each opportunity to win is passed up or squandered, the people in the stands continue to cheer. In true Cubs fan fashion, past mistakes and disappointments are forgotten and yet another chance is granted ... only to be rewarded with disenchantment and disappointment.

The Cubs are currently 15-1/2 games out of first in their division (groan), but real Cub fans will never let such facts dampen their ardor, nor will consistent disappointment (for over 100 years) dissuade them from the hope of victory some day. Strangely enough the losing seems to do nothing more than bring out renewed hope for a brighter future. Failure in the past (even consistent, mind-numbing, soul-stealing failure) cannot and will not be seen as a prediction of future performance. In politics lately, we Conservatives see much the same thing. Sure we lost the game on TARP, on Obamacare, on the Budget, and now on the the Debt Ceiling; but have no fear, there will be another chance for legislators to disappoint us and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when the next major government debate comes before them. No matter how horribly this team fails to meet expectations however, most of us will remain optimistic. Sure we didn't win this one (or the one before, or the one before that), but wait til next year.

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