David Reynolds: One more time

I know that many of you are sick and tired of reading and hearing about the election. Only, please, allow one who is in the September of his years to enjoy this November. His football teams are not doing well. Therefore a victory on the field of politics becomes more enjoyable. Thank you.

First, we are reminded about conventional wisdom. It is usually wrong. For example, we are constantly told that you and I do not have a political compass. That there is nothing to guide us in elections. That we don’t vote the party label, except for those who always look for the union label. As the election proved, this is hogwash.

The president said, “We took a shellacking.” And those who did the shellacking agree. Unfortunately, that is where all agreement ends. On the national stage.

But here we seem to agree on everything. At least publicly. Southern manners, you know. Instead, we handle differences the old-fashioned way. We gossip. Talking over the grape vine is much more enjoyable than trashing out our policy differences. Here party labels are not only frowned upon, they are not allowed. So we stick the meaningless word “Independent” next to the names of too many local candidates. No wonder our home grown leaders do not know in which direction to go. There is no political compass to guide them! In fact, we don’t even tolerate slates, such as a “Smart Growth” slate.

As a result of our failure to define basic positions local consensus building is difficult. No Democrats. No Republicans. No one to persuade. Every city council member and county supervisor becomes a member of the Party of One. When these individual members hold public hearings they behave accordingly. Just like our Supreme Court – nine little law firms.

Is it too much to ask that those who run for local office display a little common ground with at least one other guy or gal who is also running?

Now for a few questions still burning on the national stage.

Q: Why no third party movement by the Tea Party?

A: Tea drinkers are too smart. They know that influencing a major party pays bigger dividends. They also know that in the past we have tried three parties. All folded like bad plays. Meanwhile, our two golden oldies keep on ticking like two Energizer bunnies.

Q: What happened to the great American experiment?

A: There was an unpopular chemical reaction over the past two years. Nonetheless, the 234-year-old experiment is still going strong. What happened is that the 2009-2010 formula change did not pan out. A majority of Americans decided that the old original formula concocted by Messrs. Madison and Jefferson works better.

Q: What happened in 2009?

A: While the president may not have had the whole world in his hands, he did have most of this nation. Then his hand slipped.

Q: What caused his hand to slip?

A: He moved too fast. Politics is like any other sport. Speed is what gets noticed. Few notice when major legislation moves slowly. Besides fast forward change doesn’t work in America. It endangers our stability. That is why we give our presidents up to eight years to do their job. The current one tried to do it in two. And he failed to take my suggestion of using one of our 50 laboratories to carry out his experiments. As long as it was not Virginia.

Q: Why did Nancy not step down?

A: Ms. Pelosi did consult with her late father, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., the good mayor of Baltimore for twelve years, However, she failed to consult with her dictionary that defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

Q: Was there anything surprising about this election?

A: Only if you live on Mars or an Ivy League campus. If you live in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and other spots on the globe you would have seen this coming. There is a tidal wave of popular disapproval of social democratic parties. That wave finally hit our shores.

Q: What will happen over dinner at the White House next Thursday, November 18?

A: That’s a tough one. I’m not even sure what is on the menu. But I am sure who is paying the check. As you know, the new GOP leadership has been invited. Along with directions to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If we go by past performance I will say that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will both play the role of Charlie Brown. Barack Obama, of course, is Lucy Van Pelt. Lucy will once again fool Charlie and pull away the football causing all Congressional Republicans to fall flat on their backsides. And in 2012 the Democrats will again take over both houses of Congress. On the other hand, 2010 may be the start of something big. Stay tuned.

Column by David Reynolds


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