Chris Graham: A big waste of time

Ronald Reagan and congressional Democrats worked together on the 1982 tax hikes that set the stage for the go-go economy of the 1980s.

Bill Clinton had Republican help with his signature welfare reform in 1996.

George W. Bush had substantial Democratic help in passing his No Child Left Behind initiative, and of course his push for war in Iraq.

Republicans today wouldn’t agree to a nonbinding resolution declaring that two plus two does indeed equal four if it came to light that Barack Obama had indicated his support.

You want to know what’s wrong with this country? It’s not that we can’t agree on what direction we need to go in to get business running as close to full capacity as possible, get our kids the best educations, make sure that we all have access to the best health-care system in the world, and the rest.

It’s that we can’t even be civil with each other, much less agree to allow ourselves to disagree on certain points as we pull together with the aim of moving America forward.

It certainly isn’t about ideology. Republicans and Democrats agree on much, much more than they disagree. Nobody is out there saying that we need to scrap our constitutional system and start from scratch. Republicans pretend not to like taxes, but even the hardest-core fiscal conservative agrees that government has at least a limited role in modern life.

And as much as the social conservatives and social liberals seem to think to themselves that the world would be a better place without the other, neither side would be willing to give up the machinery available to them through our structure of laws that they would love to use to compel those who disagree with them to live their lives the way they want everyone to.

No, it’s not ideology, and it’s not about pursuit of power for the sake of using that power to actually do anything substantive. Case in point: Republicans had the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court for the first six years of George W. Bush’s two terms in the White House. Abortion is still very much legal, and the Department of Education still exists in full form.

Another case in point: Democrats had the White House and Congress for the first two years of Obama’s first term, and the sum result of those two years is a health-care reform first schemed up by a conservative think-tank and then first put into practice by this year’s Republican presidential nominee.

So it’s not ideology, and it’s not about the pursuit of power to do anything important.

It’s simply about power for the sake of power. That’s what the endless TV commercials and breathless TV and Internet reports are all about.

Who’s going to win in November, and then what is the other side going to do the next morning to get ready to reverse the tide in the next cycle.

The people who perpetually run for office and hire professionals to work full time to run their eternal campaigns and the people like me who chronicle their efforts spend countless hours doing … what, exactly?

Not a damn bit of it is productive even in the most expansive definition of the word.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. There’s an election going on. Two plus two may equal four, and it may not, depending on your perspective.

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Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press