Unfortunately, the best thing you can usually say about Republican politicians is that the Democrats are worse.
For instance, it’s easy to fault those on the left for ObamaCare, but why is it that those on the right side of the aisle never bothered making it possible to shop for health insurance in other states or cleared the way for a worker to take his health insurance to a new job? Instead, as usual, the Republicans merely reacted once Obama and his cronies cooked up their vile stew, consisting of rat tails, bat wings and eye of newt.
Republicans aren’t the Party of No, as the Democrats have snidely suggested; rather, they tend to usually be the Party of I Don’t Know. Aside from objecting to the nonsense concocted by those on the left, Republican politicians rarely have convictions or policies of their own. Which is why they got so little done between 2001 and 2007, when they controlled the House, the Senate and the Oval Office.
I’m reminded of a conversation I had a while ago with a Hollywood insider. I was complaining about how difficult it’s been to line up interview subjects for my next book. The problem isn’t simply that those I approach don’t agree to be interviewed. After all, these people are strangers and they don’t owe me a favor. The problem is that in spite of the fact that I provide an email address, a mailing address and a phone number, I so rarely receive a response.
Understand, I don’t assume that these people — politicians, pundits, actors, talk show hosts — have nothing better to do than humor me. But I do assume that simple courtesy dictates that they get back to me. After all, it’s not as if I’m asking to borrow money. And why else do they have armies of secretaries, assistants and assorted sycophants, on salary if not to deal with pests like me? Surely they can’t all be kept on tap merely for afternoon orgies.
My friend, after hearing me out, pointed out that liberals, unlike conservatives, are far more likely to put their money where their mouth is. Whether it’s subsidizing newspapers and magazines that continue to bleed circulation, or producing movies that bash the U.S. military or trash traditional values, the left continues pushing its agenda when there’s little or no hope of turning a profit.
You could say that merely proves that those on the right are too savvy to waste their money on losing propositions, and that they prefer to rely on money-makers like Fox News, talk radio and blogs. Perhaps. Or maybe they’re simply not as committed to their alleged principles as those on the left.
At last count, five senators have announced they won’t run for re-election in 2012. That’s my idea of a good start. If I had my way, by 2016, 95 others would join them in the pasture. I’m not saying there aren’t some I despise more than others, but the House and the Senate are relatively small spaces and they both need to be well-ventilated on a regular basis, lest mildew sets in.
If I had my way, senators would serve one term, congressmen no more than two, and no one, including the president, would have more than three assistants, unless they paid for them out of their own pocket. These people wind up with more attendants than King Louis XVI, and it can’t help going to their head.
I can’t tell you how many times I came close to losing my lunch when I’d see a large group of butt-kissing staffers rushing to keep up with Speaker Pelosi as she scurried down House corridors.
Crazy people have occasionally asked me if I’d ever consider running for political office. When I’d stop cackling, I would assure them that I hadn’t yet taken total leave of my senses. The only job I’d even consider is as a short-term dictator. On my first day on the job, I’d bring back incandescent bulbs and do away with the departments of labor, education, agriculture and health & human services. On the second day, I’d pack up and go home, my mission accomplished.
Speaking of Washington, D.C., I’m convinced that the only reason that most federal employees aren’t let go, no matter which party is running things, is that nobody wants to be held responsible for burdening society with 100,000 terminally unemployable nincompoops.