Tom Clyde: Ebola re-elected in a landslide
November 7, 2014
It’s said that we get the government we deserve, but somehow, I don’t think we are as undeserving as the results of the election would suggest. The Democrats had their butts handed to them, and they earned that fair and square. Six years of nothing doesn’t really call for a big bonus unless you are on Wall Street, where the too-big-to-fail banks have been getting bigger. Iowa elected a woman to the Senate whose main qualification seems to be that she grew up castrating hogs. A congressman in New York, under federal indictment for tax fraud and other criminal charges, who threatened to throw a reporter over a balcony for asking him about the charges, was re-elected. His opponent was an idiot.
Congress is only slightly more popular than Ebola, but incumbents were overwhelmingly reelected. In the few open seats, the Republicans did very well. In poll after poll, Americans are saying the country is headed in the wrong direction, lacks leadership, and is falling apart. So let’s re-elect them and keep going the same wrong direction for a while longer. Somehow it will be different this time.
Of course a lot of it is that the congressional districts are so gerrymandered that the incumbent is untouchable. That makes it very hard to come up with a challenger who is willing to make the personal sacrifice, grub for cash, and put up with all the crap that is involved in running when the outcome is pre-determined. So the typical race ends up being an incumbent corrupted by huge corporate money running against an underfunded dolt. There are a lot of idiots out there, and it’s amazing how many of them run for Congress.
That wasn’t the case in our congressional district. Donna McAleer was a solid candidate. The district is just so Republican that there are some precincts where they have never seen a Democrat or a woman in pants. God bless her for trying.
We re-elected three of four congressmen in Utah, and filled an open seat. Chaffetz is in front of the TV cameras all the time because he is one of the non-drooling Tea Partiers. Not even his wife could pick Rep. Chris Stewart out of a police lineup. And Rob Bishop will continue to occupy space that could be put to better use as a coffee break room. And now we have Mia Love, a black, woman Republican from Provo, Utah. The spotlight will be on her, relentlessly.
The big news was that the GOP took the Senate. So now Mitch McConnell will be in charge of doing nothing, and Harry Reid will switch to the position of opposing the nothing McConnell is doing. It still takes 60 votes to act in the Senate, and 67 to override a presidential veto (Obama hasn’t gone away, it only seems that way). Nothing will change.
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Obama has vowed to be aggressive in the month remaining before the new Congress takes office. Well, there’s an idea. I wonder where that’s been for the last six years. Now he will give two lovely speeches a week, and then not follow through. I know he has had a difficult time with a Congress that was determined to prevent anything from happening. They would have tried to block the sunrise if it had been Obama’s idea. Nobody said it was easy. But after getting his health care proposal passed, complete with payoffs to the drug companies and protecting the insurance company profits, he pretty much quit. Except for the update of Iraq War 3.0. And that seems pretty buggy.
I binge-watched the PBS series on the Roosevelts a couple of weeks ago. Teddy is a real hero of mine, and FDR was more or less a deity among my farmer grandparents who got indoor plumbing in their house in 1938 because of his programs. Those guys were leaders. They had a vision, they had ideas, and they had the ability to bring the American people and Congress along with them. Given the full Ken Burns/PBS treatment, the Roosevelts appear larger than life, warts and all.
It’s a sad and disappointing contrast to where we are now, with a president who can’t deliver, and congressional leadership that looks like a bunch of second-graders throwing sandbox toys at each other while the school burns behind them. The country needs a Teddy Roosevelt or an LBJ, or hell, even Nixon is looking pretty good about now. Instead, we have John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Mitch McConnell.
They are making snow. Even though it’s getting pretty late in the year without any serious dose of the real stuff, winter is coming. There is skiing to be done, and PCMR is set to open in two weeks. There’s something to look forward to.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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