Upon reading the title of this piece, there may be some of you out there that are shocked, either by seeing such an admission in Just Blowing Smoke, or that I could even conceive of such a thing, let alone write it. Others of you who occasionally visit this site (or who have a number of assumptions about it), may only disagree with me in part; believing that they are in fact perfect: perfectly heartless, perfectly soulless, and perhaps even perfectly evil. Those of you who regularly visit the site however, will have previously noted that I am more than willing to take shots at any political party when the cause and need arise. Such is in fact the case today.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I am not in fact a Republican, but a registered Libertarian. In my rather long voting history, I can affirm that I started out as a Chicago Democrat (a shameful confession, I admit), and became a Republican for some years before becoming finally and fully enlightened.
The situation of which I speak of course, is the current debate over the payroll tax deal. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those who's about to go all mushy and talk about the spirit of compromise while beating my breast over John Boehner and House Republican's unwillingness to vote on the Senate proposal. In fact, just the opposite. I think it's high time that the House threw the whole thing back in the Senate's face.
How did political discussion in this country reach a point where standing on principle makes you intransigent? When did having principles that you were willing to fight for make you the lunatic fringe (and you Tea Party members, God love you, know who I'm talking about)? When did compromise mean that Republicans must give way to the desires of Democrats, but Democrats need not give anything to Republicans in return? Why is the House the will of the people when controlled by Democrats and an obstructionist and unruly mob when controlled by Republicans?
How is it that Republicans (who I admit again, aren't perfect) are held as irresponsible for not voting on the Senate Democratic bill, when those Democrats are not in turn held accountable for not voting on a bill previously passed in the House (whether by Republicans or on a bi-partisan basis)? Why isn't the 'Democratically controlled' Senate being castigated for taking their vote and then ducking out of town, throwing compromise to the wind in the spirit of 'my way of the highway'? Why isn't the President and media complaining about the Senate one again ducking their budgetary responsibilities (it has after all been over 900 days since they passed a budget) and attempting to kick the can down the road once more? When did national tax policy become something that required bi-monthly approval? What can businesses to do in the way of long-term planning (let alone hiring) when so much uncertainty looms, with 2012 being an election year that promises only more of the same, and with the taxation and spending policies of this government being announced as the chosen battlefield?
Don't get me wrong. I know that these are a lot of uncomfortable questions for many these days; but perhaps it's time someone asked them (the media certainly won't). The nation is tired of seeing economic policy in this country treated like an empty can of beans (which Congress seems all too full of) being used in a child's game. It's tired of elected officials shirking the responsibilities that they are paid very well for in the pursuit of keeping the job that they apparently seem incapable of performing. It's tired of politicians and pundits demonizing business leaders who could be creating jobs in this country, if those in elected office could only provide them with some 'Insider Information' (you know, like businesses give members of Congress) so that they could find a way to cash in on the future and get the economy jump-started.
Wait, I seem to have gotten off track here. Where was I? Oh yeah, I started this whole thing by talking about how Republicans aren't perfect ... and they're not. I have little doubt that under the pressure of the President's bully pulpit and the media's willing cooperation, they will once again cave in on a proposal of their own which did little or nothing, in favor of one proposed by Senate Democrats that does even less. Displaying the type of fortitude that normally requires a visit to the Invertebrate section of a museum to find, they will fold faster and easier that the paper used for Christmas presents; and the whole pointless disagreement can begin again in time for the next holiday ... Valentine's Day.
Now I don't expect perfection from Republicans (and I expect even less from Democrats under Harry Reid), but I wish that someday they would at least aspire to be more than they are today. At some point they must learn not to always be the first one to blink in this game of political chicken. Yes I know that Republicans aren't perfect, but they would be vastly improved by hiring a half decent media consultant / press secretary, getting a spinal transplant, and agreeing to an injection that would help them grow a pair.