I was reading Friday morning’s updates on the House fracas over H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” and began to feel a curious sensation in my throat, as if I were choking on something very large and unpalatable that refused to go down. The more I read, the more the sensation bothered me.
The negative fallout from the newest unemployment figures led to Vice President Biden’s admission last Sunday that the fledgling administration “misread” the severity of the recession when gauging their response to the financial crisis and bolstering support for the stimulus plan. The only surprise to most of us is that anyone could be surprised at how bad the economy had become by the end of 2008, but Washington pols are famously insulated from the cares of the rest of the country, and seem incapable of comprehending realities that are crystal clear to the rest of us.
When you set out to solve a problem, a good place to start is defining what the problem is. Very often, when the real problem facing you reveals itself, it turns out to be a very different beast from what you first thought you were dealing with.
Government does not usually address problems in this fashion, and is anything but methodical, though the slow pace of progress in constructing legislation might cause you to believe otherwise.
I have been trying to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt. He inherited some difficult, perhaps unsolvable problems, and took office amidst impossible expectations at the behest of a notoriously fickle electorate willing to deify or crucify their candidates on a whim. Our president is in a tough spot, and up to now I felt it appropriate to cut him a bit of slack.
An elderly woman sits by an old wood stove, shivering, clutching a cracked cup of tea. She takes solace in her grim retirement from her only companion, her cat, who watches quietly as the woman rocks in her chair, alone and forgotten, dreading the landlord’s knock at the door.
A long-suffering, underpaid civil servant or a private sector retiree?
The recession has devoured much of our attention this year, but relief has finally arrived with the escalation of partisan bickering over just what House Speaker Pelosi knew or did not know about waterboarding and the enhanced interrogation techniques employed by the CIA at the Guantanamo Bay prison. The press releases and news conferences on Capitol Hill have provided a distraction from some truly unsettling events on the world front, ominous because they have progressed inexorably for years and may soon come to fruition.
When good behavior comes from a place where you least expect it, that good behavior should be reinforced in hopes that it will become something other than an aberration. We slighted our government by not commending it for something it did correctly last year. Frankly, there are very few instances where we can point to our public officials and say “Nice job.” This was one of those instances, and not only did we drop the ball by not giving credit where it was surely due, but we condemned the incident and our officials in favor of defending individuals who entered our country unbidden and broke our laws.
My commute to the office each morning is brief, allowing just enough time to listen to the headlines. I am largely unacquainted with talk radio, a media genre popular with those who are stuck in their vehicles for hours on end, so when Michael Savage was mentioned in a recent news article, I did not know who he was.