Donald Kaul

Our grandchildren deserve better politicians

By - Aug 5th, 2010 04:00 am

We live in grim times, which is why you have to take your laughs where you can get them.

For example, in Washington, where Republican congresspeople keep talking about their concern for their grandchildren as an excuse for voting against…well, practically everything: economic stimulus packages, financial reform, immigration reform, etc.

They say they don’t want to hang a huge debt around the necks of their poor grandchildren, thereby robbing the tikes of a future. What a laugh.

In truth, your average Republican congressperson would feed his grandchildren to alligators if he thought it would get him enough campaign loot to put him over the top in the next election.

Thus we were presented with the delicious irony of Congress giving up on climate legislation–largely because of Republicans who say they don’t believe in global warming–just as the mercury in Washington topped 103 degrees. Oh, and by the way, it also hit 105 degrees in Moscow the other day. That may not be proof of global warming, but it’s a hint.

A good number of the Republicans said they were thinking of their grandchildren when they voted. Apparently the kids like hot weather.

Then there’s the cosmic coincidence of the BP melodrama in the Gulf reaching a pause, just as another huge oil spill plumed in China and experts monitored the million gallons of gasoline that poured into a creek and the Kalamazoo River from a ruptured pipeline as it traveled toward Lake Michigan. Gee, I thought they only happened every hundred years or so. Drill, baby, drill.

Modern Republican politicians have no interest in the future beyond the next election. With an occasional exception, they have been unanimous in opposing every Obama initiative in an effort to discredit him with the public.

And to the great shame of the American people, their strategy seems to be working. Recent polls show the public to be largely dissatisfied with the way President Obama is running things. And that’s just not the lunatic fringe talking; real people feel that way too. Amazing.

It’s as though the crowd at a fire scene blamed the firefighters for destruction of the building.

Well, as H.L. Mencken once said, democracy means giving the people what they want–good and bad. And it begins to look as though that’s exactly what we’re going to get.

If I sound a little more dispirited than usual, it’s because I am. I’ve generally supported this president. I’ve thought that he’s a good man fighting the good fight against difficult odds and making a decent job of it.

The Shirley Sherrod affair, however, gives me pause.

By now you know the story: a two-bit right-wing blogger uncovers a clip of a black employee of the Ag Department confessing that she had not done her best for a client because he was white.

Racism! And on the part of a black person! In the Obama administration! The clip flashed around the Internet and soon made appearances on Fox News, thence to respectable venues.

The White House acted with almost equal speed. In a flash and a half, the woman was called to task and fired. No racism here, the administration seemed to be saying.

Except nothing was as it seemed. The woman, far from being a racist, was a heroine of the civil rights movement and her speech, taken in the context intended, was an object lesson in the evils of discrimination no matter what the race involved.

The Obama administration, acting slower now, apologized and offered her another job, as the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” laughed out loud and congratulated itself on a job well done. It had been able, with little effort, to make Obama and his merry band of Harvard graduates look like a bunch of boobs.

The implications are ominous.

The right and its media cohort have this administration on the run. So-called liberals have taken to looking under their beds at night and sleeping with the lights on.

Obama’s people took the word of a right-wing pipsqueak of evil reputation rather than get the real story from one of their own.

That truly bodes ill for the future.

Categories: Commentary

0 thoughts on “Our grandchildren deserve better politicians”

  1. Anonymous says:

    A large part of our problem, at least in Wisconsin, stems from a lack of spirited primaries. The Undemocratic and Publican Parties have chosen to superfund incumbents while dissuading challengers, thus creating a system of narrow viewpoints and catering to funders. We have to return to Democracy, no matter how ugly and unpredictable it is, instead of the current system that tries to guarantee results but instead guarantees low public opinions of us politicians.

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