The D.C. Quagmire

I am sickened by our elected officials, truly to the point now where I simply want to put my cowboy boots on and stomp some azz. The problem is, as someone recently pointed out, whose?

Just Like Mine – Perfect to Kick a Little

Is it those who are so comfortable in their offices in Washington, failing to do the people’s business who require azz stomping? Or alternatively, is it those who continue to put them there either through their failure to exercise their right to vote or worse by actually voting to return these dinosaurs back time and again. These are questions that are weighing on my mind, they trouble me deeply.

In 2008, after the election and swearing in of President Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell (R) Minority Leader said in an interview to the National Journal (available only to subscribers):

The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

Since that time, the GOP in both the House and Senate have their marching orders and have done nothing but obstruct. Do not get me wrong, they are often assisted by their opponents on the other side of the aisle who fail to lay clear terms and draw clear lines. The problem is, no one is working toward common ground that is in the people’s best interest. Each and every elected official we send to do our business in Washington is beholden to some entity that is not us, not the people. They seem to forget they are there to do the peoples business, that it is us that foot the bill with our tax dollars, they forget us once they have attached themselves to the golden teat that is the public fund.

Let’s take a look at recent events and recent legislation (pass or fail).

House votes to repeal Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), not once, not twice but 33 times in all. Hope springs eternal says Speaker of the House, John Boehner. The cost of this wasted time, it is good question and here is the answer; $71,225,000,000.00 in real terms, I could buy a lot of school lunches and back to school books with what John Boehner and the House Republicans wasted with symbolic debates and repeal votes to

John Boehner
Official Portrait Wikipedia

pacifying the Tea Party.

Since 2008 there has been a war waged against women and their reproductive privacy and rights. This war is at every level, State and Federal. It is waged on Senate floors and on the airwaves. No low is too low and no insult to ugly. No fewer than 1,000 pieces of legislation have been introduced to restrict women’s access to health care services, birth control and abortion. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice is irrelevant at this point, these are just two at a national level.

  • Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced a HR 358 – the “Protect Life Act” allowing states to deny insurance coverage for abortion including transport to a facility that would provide a woman with an abortion even if failure to provide an abortion would mean the death of the woman. The “Let Women Die Act” passed the House on 10/13/11.
  • Finally, last but not least is HR 3803, introduced by Rep Trent Franks (Rep), this lovely piece of trash had no less than 220 co-sponsors. Named the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, it is a nothing more or less than another end run around Roe v. Wade, another clear message to women everywhere, ‘you have no value.’ This Bill clearly says, save the ‘fetus’ first, never mind the pregnant woman. Thankfully, it failed despite the 17 Yea votes by Democrats under Suspension of Rules.

So what is really happening, these days? We have a few Democrats walking off the farm, they do this consistently. Take a look at them, where they are from and you have to ask yourself why do they even bother to call themselves Democrats, why not call themselves Moderate Republicans, centrists? But then, they would face a Tea Party challenge and like Dewhurst in Texas last week, they would lose, they would be

Mitch McConnell
Official Portrait Wikipedia

unemployed faster than they could spend their own money in their campaign.

The world of politics is changing, in truth it is getting damned ugly. Members of the GOP are walking away from their seats, simply walking away. They are leaving us with these thoughts on the state of politics and government in Washington.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R) has announced his retirement two days ago with these words:

I have to say that I’m frustrated by how much we — I mean the Republican Party — are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history.”

Rep. Steve LaTourette (R) has announced his retirement this week as well, here is what he had to say:

“The time has come for not only good politics, but good policy and I have reached a conclusion that the atmosphere today and the reality that exists in the House of Representatives no longer encourages the finding of common ground.”

Earlier this year Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) announced she would not seek re-election, here is what she had to say:

As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first

Olympia Snowe
Official Portrait Wikipedia

day in the Maine House of Representatives.  I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.

We have lost some of our Democratic stalwarts as well, Barney Frank and Charlie Gonzalez, just two among the nine who have announced their retirement in the past year. The field is changing. Nothing is certain and we will see shifts in both houses of Congress with the next election. The problem though, if we don’t see a Congress that is willing and capable of compromise, willing to seek common ground we will continue to be mired in the muck. Our nation will continue to flounder. If we do not elect to Congress public servants capable and competent to govern, we as a nation will continue to degrade in the eyes of the world and as a player on the world stage.

If we don’t seek excellence over a good sound bite, statesmanship over single-issue we fail our today and all our tomorrows. I am sick to death of being afraid of having a discussion about politics for fear of losing a friend. I want to shine a light on our very real need to have those discussions, join those debates and not be afraid of disagreement. We can disagree and still be friends that is what makes us great the ability to debate our ideas without killing each other, at least that is what use to make us great.

These days though, the debate isn’t so pleasant people are afraid to add their voice to add their comments. There is only three ways it is either the vicious attack dog style, the ‘I love you but disagree’, or ‘I agree’. In the first there is never a good ending. In the second there is never a discussion and in the last we already agree.

What comes next? Where do we go from here? I certainly have my own ideas of what needs to happen. Clearly some of the GOP are beginning to feel the same way I do, put on their boots and wade out of the quagmire, but that doesn’t fix the problem does it?


  1. The Republicans are bullies and the Democrats are wimps! They all tick me off so bad it’s almost not worth voting. I’m afraid the state of Texas will end up with Ted Cruz as a U.S. Senator. I don’t like Dewhurst, but he’s the lesser of 2 evils. The overall level of animosity and obstruction in the American body politic is turning off a lot of people.

    • It is indeed turning many away from the polls but that is the last thing we can afford to happen. It is now more than any other time in our history we need an energized and committed electorate. You are right Dewhurst is horrible, but Curz is a downright lunatic. What is worse, it was outside money that came into the state and got him elected.

  2. Not wonder you’re politically spent for the week. You must be exhausted after writing this! (and understandably so). Simply put, the GOP has worked hard at not getting my vote … actually very hard. Meanwhile, here’s a fitting headline from Yahoo News this morning: “Congress, with much left to do, takes 5 weeks off”

  3. I do not think getting candidates in office more in touch with the people will solve anything. They are bought and paid for by special interests and their own parties, which, incidentally, are more than a couple bubbles off level and not at all in touch with anything beyond what fills their private, party and corporate coffers. This is not merely an accusation levelled at the GOP but one equally applied to the Democrats.

    I was long tired of the quagmire. About five elections back. Presidential elections, just to be clear. Our government is not about our country. It is about the power delirium produced by billions of dollars being wasted getting into and staying in office.

    *kicks soapbox with someone else’s foot*

    • While I would normally agree there is equality in the bought and paid for accusation, I don’t think it holds water currently. I think the GOP holds the gold medal right now with the rest of them running a distant second and third. Hell, I even think the moderates in the GOP are falling by the wayside today.

      I to grow weary but want to bring change, want to fight for change. I remain a believer in the dream that was America. Not to sound maudlin, but I want to take our government and our nation back for our children. I want the dream back for our future and theirs.


      (Kicks the soap box with my own foot)

      • It is why I am seriously considering if the suction here really is better than the suction everywhere else…

  4. Very well put! It is really getting nasty out there. Never have I seen such hatred by some who call themselves Christians. What happened to civility and intelligence? I do not agree with our President on everything but I will vote for him again. Thanks for voicing your opinions in a logical way!

    • Believe me I don’t agree with everything this president does either, in fact there are many things he needs to be taken to task about. I am extremely angry we are now at the point where we are comparing the parties in total and saying they are both wrong, both bought and paid for. But, one is only taking $1 and the other is taking $100, I will have to accept the one taking only $1 is doing less harm for today. The fact is both are doing wrong. Both are acting against our best interest, it is simply one is doing less harm and we can only take on one battle at a time.


  5. This is a problem caused in part by how rancorous and divided as a people we are. The late Gore Vidal said, “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.” We have become so spiteful in our speech toward each other, we no longer simply want a politician we disagree to be wrong. We want them to fail , all the better to justify our pettiness. We reward those who divide us like a Ted Cruz or Mitch McConnell, and say nothing when the few who still have friends on the other side of the aisle point out that politics is the art of compromise.

    You can’t compromise with someone who not only thinks you’re wrong, but bad as well.

    Thanks for a thought provoking piece.

    • In some cases some are wrong, but so many of the elder statesmen know better and worked for years at finding the middle ground and crafting legislation that made sense for us as a nation. This is why I am so stunned by what I see now in not just Washington but across the nation. You are right, the entire nation has become petty and spiteful. I fear for all of us.


  6. I suppose the best we can hope for, with so many releasing their seats, is that more will in order for someone who can better connect with the people to step in.

    • I would like to hope we will get some that will work for the people, that there will be some shake up. But if 2010 is any answer that isn’t what we will see. This is especially true if Obama wins another term, which I pray is the case.


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