Obvious to even the most casual observer in Tibet is the fact that the United States Congress’ interest in the American people is limited to fundraising and mounting attacks against the other party. The Hatfield and McCoy style feud on the hill has nothing to do with serving the public.
The impetuous freshman Democrats in the senate, who breached feud protocol, handed the GOP an opportunity to redefine itself as the adult in the room. The question is whether the GOP can accede to the task.
Rumblings from the hill clearly indicate the GOP is inclined to childishly retaliate for what it considers to be an egregious transgression; and as it has demonstrated, the effect of a government shut down on the American people nor the effect an inordinate delay in raising the debt ceiling has on the national debt, credit rating and interest rate is sufficient to deter its pursuit of retribution.
The question then becomes whether or not the GOP leadership can suppress such juvenile urges and do the country’s business. Is the GOP leadership mature enough to realize numbers do not equal control; the GOP controls the House; Democrats control the Senate; which means neither party actually controls anything. Control belongs to the person who controls the narrative with a cogent argument; not hyperbole, mantras or sound bites.
Take food stamps for example. It is perfectly reasonable to remove them from the Department of Agriculture; they belong under Health and Human Services. It is also reasonable to require the purpose of the program be clearly defined to facilitate evaluation of the program’s effectiveness. There should also be numbers to aid in determining whether the program is meeting or creating a need. Further, there should be a criteria for periodic review of each case and a mechanism for denial of increased benefits necessitated by irresponsible behavior such as additional children while still receiving public assistance.
This is a grownup approach so naturally the kids will whine and possibly throw a tantrum; but they cannot oppose implementing controls while claiming to be serious about controlling spending. If they claim such a policy unfairly discriminates against racial minorities, they must explain why the need is race specific and entertain debate on whether the food stamp program should be conflated with a program that more effectively addresses the specific racial problems that create a disproportionate need.
Immigration; forget debating whether or not there will be a path to citizenship and instead enumerate the responsibilities of naturalized citizenship. Establish a date certain by which all undocumented persons will have to have come forward to be identified. Each person who entered or remained in this country illegally, before being granted any legal status, must promise not to facilitate anyone else’s illegal entry or illegal stay in this country; with the understanding that doing so could result in immediate revocation of their own legal status regardless of the effect such revocation would have on the person’s family dynamic. Establish a method of expedited deportation of all found to be in the country illegally after the established date.
Establish a date certain, after which a birth mother will be required to be a United States Citizen before citizenship is conferred to children born of her in the United States.
In assuming the role of adult and moving these issues forward, the GOP will earn the respect of Americans across party lines. Partisanship cannot always be a paramount consideration.
The signatories of the Constitution, in the Letter of Transmittal to the President of Congress (http://constitutionus.com/#transmit), wrote, “Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest.” Just because something is not uniquely Republican or perceived as conservative does not mean it is not the right course of action. However, more often than not, inaction is the wrong action. Do not let the media, polls or lobbyists tell you what is right; you were elected because you supposedly already know.
Can the GOP grow up in time to prevent more harm to Americans and our economy or will they spend the holidays like frat boys; plotting on ways to get even? Let us hope for the former, because the Democrats are having too much fun behaving like a kid home alone with dad’s credit cards; they have not incentive to grow up.