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Tuesday, 05 March 2013 06:57

Lots of Questions, But Where Are the Answers?

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It has become increasingly clear that what Washington and policy makers everywhere need are problem solvers - - not explainers and rhetoricians, but people who can frame solutions, without the poisonous partisan overlay that accompanies much of what passes for frank discussion most of the time.  


These days, whether it’s the fiscal cliff or presidential appointments, the Senate is mired in meaningless debate meant to show members at their intellectual best, but which actually show how incredibly foolish most of them are. And if one is inclined to watch a lot of the goings-on, one may become less - rather than more - receptive to their arguments. In the effort to end debate in the Senate regarding nominee Chuck Hagel, all the Republican complaints were reiterated - although, in an abundance of caution, the party made a point of commending his military service  In the end, the Senate voted to end debate by a healthy margin, clearing the way for a final confirmation vote. 


However, Hagel's difficulties didn’t end with his eventual confirmation. His opponents kept up their steady stream of vitriol to make certain everyone got the partisan message they wished to convey. Senator Cruz was especially fiendish in the ridiculous broadsides he unleashed against Hagel - - he didn't offer any proof, but it sure seems as if there’s reason to believe bad things about the man. After all, he didn’t support the war in Iraq, let alone the surge, and the fact that he endorsed Obama for president instead of old pal McCain didn’t endear him to the conservative wing of the party. The prospect of Sarah Palin in the jump seat in a McCain White House, on the other hand, seemed not to concern anyone in the McCain camp. Go figure.


And when these people try to justify their odd choices and pretend their decisions are the result of carefully constructed rationales, their efforts are can be laughable. Ralph Reed, for example, the disgraced conservative political operative, took “secret money from super-lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff who had conned directors of Indian casinos into giving him as much as $85 million to mobilize his Christian Coalition against the gambling operations. While Reed was publicly shamed, he was found to have broken no law.” (Truthdig: Ralph Reed, Back From the Dead 9/4/2012) In any case, he received a warm welcome from Joe Scarborough on a recent Morning Joe episode as if he were a paragon of virtue.


Joe gave a shout out to Charles Krauthammer, too. Krauthammer has become a belated supporter of New Jersey’s Governor Christie after having punished him by exclusion for palling around with the president in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Honestly, Joe should try to stop praising conservative wingers as if they dropped pearls of wisdom every time they spoke or wrote anything. And he should stop mischaracterizing Paul Krugman’s views as if he were a leftie nutcase. Some of us are getting a bit sick of Scarborough’s self ingratiating “when I was in office” tales, in any case. Glib he may be, but smart, not so much. And his interrupting and talking over guests and panelists is beyond annoying; thank heavens for mute buttons.


As government and governing come to a screeching halt, a tired nation cries out for relief from dead-end politics.