A plague o’ both your houses

pox houses

Like most Americans, I have watched the goings on of Congress these last few months with utter disgust.  First Senator Cruz decided to shut the government down, supposedly to de-fund Obamacare.  This policy objective was always doomed to failure and the use of government shutdown tactics was extremely corrosive to Republicans.  After some thought, I came to the determination that the true objective of the government shutdown was to centralize leadership of the Tea Party in Ted Cruz.  The realization made me extremely angry.  I’ve seen selfish political plays before, but never ones that so obviously hurt the party and country.

As we all know the government shutdown did come to an end.  But then something else happened.  Obamacare got implemented.  I’ve never been in favor of most of the Obamacare legislation.  Too much incentive to drive up costs and drive out health care providers.  It’s not self-sustaining and will require extensive tax-payer subsidization.  One of the key promises of the sales pitch of the plan was that people liking their health insurance and/or doctor could keep their health insurance and/or doctor.  Turns out Obama knew that was a lie since 2010, yet continued to say otherwise.  For a President of the United States to outright lie (not spin, not omit key details, but outright lie) to sell his plan is truly beyond the pale.  That so many of my liberal friends, most of which I hold in high regard, would defend such behavior is very disturbing.

I think our political class – from the President on down to the volunteer activist – has forgotten what it means to be American.  We did not grow our country by lying about our policies, by treating our political opposition like flotsam or by putting self-interest ahead of the national interest.  I therefore propose two basic requirements of all political candidates, for every office from dog catcher to President.

  1. Competence.  We have seen far too much incompetence of late.  Obamacare will take years to properly implement if it can ever be properly implemented at all.  The administration had years to get this thing fleshed out and still couldn’t manage it.  Similarly I consider a government shutdown with no resulting policy changes to be equally incompetent politicking.  It’s a tall order to be competent at policy, politics and administration, but there are people out there that can get the job done – I just don’t know too many that happen to be in D.C.
  2. Honesty.  This should be obvious, but we must reject politicians who outright lie to us.  Tough to know beforehand but violations of honesty should be major red flags for any candidate and major impediments to any re-election.

Americans are known for being able to re-invent themselves.  Ours is the land of opportunity because no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, here you can be what you have it in you to be.  Here the only barriers to success are the ones we construct ourselves.  Here our forbearers built a shining city on a hill to show the world what freedom can do.

I believe in that vision of American exceptionalism.  I believe the strength of our Republic comes from a spirit of self-determination and optimism that defines the American experience.  I would very much like to have the discussion of how to realize that vision with those of like mind from all corners of the political spectrum.  I’m quite sure there would be honest disagreements.  There would need to be compromise from all sides and real ingenuity when crafting policies.  I’m equally sure our current political leadership has neither the skill nor inclination to bother making the attempt.

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