Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is This a Game?

It seems our politicians will never get past whether their side will be perceived as winners or losers. The final negotiating points of this latest fight were over less than one-fifth of one percent of the federal budget.

Of course it was really over the symbolism of not funding Planned Parenthood. Less than 1 percent of the American public views abortion as their top priority issue.

Our leaders in Congress nearly brought government services to a halt. If one side wins a little ground, it’s seen as a victory and a mandate.

We need a functioning government not held hostage by extremists. At least avoiding a shutdown was a loss for the tea party, who seemed eager for a shutdown. I hope they’re at odds with public opinion.

We have bigger issues coming up with the debt ceiling and next year's budget. If it was this hard to settle the minor question of the remainder of the year's budget, the prospects of another shutdown or economic upheaval are much greater when actually important issues are on the way.

No one gets off without blame. Democrats should have passed a budget when they had majorities in both chambers and the White House. It was stupid to go into the fall 2010 elections without passing a single budget bill, when they knew they were going to lose their majority.

Republicans are incapable of bargaining coherently or effectively. Unfortunately, they fear the tea party in the primaries more than they fear the general electorate. There can’t be compromise in the House GOP.

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