Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Enemy Within

This is really getting old…and dangerous.
Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor took to the podium to deliver what was billed to be a new mission statement for the party…a “re-branding” if you will.  Assigning Cantor to serve as messenger was seen as a significant sign that the party faithful had finally come to grips with their November beat down, and the turning over a new more moderate leaf was in the works.  After all Cantor had served as titular head of the radical right; leading the opposition to all things proffered by not only the president but Speaker Boehner as well.  Could his mere presence in this setting be a sign that we were about to see a new kinder gentler Republican Party?
Not so much!
In the end Cantor’s remarks were little more than same old, same old.  While Cantor did give a tepid endorsement to the Dream Act, the rest of is oratory was like re-gifting an ugly sweater…same ugly sweater…just a different colored bow on the box.
The president also found his way to the podium yesterday.  He too delivered the same tune he’s been playing but with a slightly different pitch. 
The president is concerned about the sequestration cuts that are set to automatically kick in on March 1st.  He is concerned that these drastic cuts to important government programs and services will have a negative effect on a weak economy.  And he doesn’t believe that Washington has time between now and March 1st to cobble together a grand bargain of spending cuts and revenue increases necessary to fix our economic woes. 
You may recall that these are the same draconian cuts that were put in place to incentivize congress to come together on a comprehensive debt reduction package.  They are the same cuts that were to go into effect on 12/31 of last year but were pushed back to March 1st to allow congress more time to craft an agreement.
 Since congress has once again failed to do its job; the president is proposing that congress pass a much smaller package for a temporary fix and push the big spending debate even further down the road.  As usual, the president was less than forthcoming about the specific spending cuts and tax reform components that he envisions as part of this temporary plan; preferring to let his Republican opponents to take the political hit for speaking the truth.
In other words what we have here is the same old Washington cocktail…one part ideology, one part gotcha politics, two parts gridlock and a dash of job preservation.
We have heard a lot of talk lately about gun control and immigration reform.  The president has been out on the stump throwing all of his political weight behind these issues.
What we don’t hear a lot of talk about anymore is jobs.  What was once the centerpiece of the presidential campaign is now lost in the cacophony of political noise.  While congress and the White House chase the latest shiny object people are still suffering, jobs are still being lost, homes are still being foreclosed, gas is more expensive, food is more expensive, health care costs are still prohibitive for most Americans and our out of control spending continues to threaten our economic future.
If we were to be attacked by a foreign power as we were on 9/11…if al Qaida, or Iran or China were to were to threaten  our shores…we would set our political differences aside and band to together as one country to fight a common foe.  Politics and gamesmanship would all be set aside to defeat an enemy that threatens the very survival of our union.
Why can’t we find that same common ground to defeat an economic foe that is poised to inflict just as much damage to our society as any foreign nation ever could?
America’s real enemy does not reside on some distant shore. 
America’s most dangerous enemy is us.            

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