Don’t believe the hype America; we the people can agree (almost unanimously) on one major political truth. We cannot stand Congress. Every news service, from the supposedly left-leaning mainstream to the obviously right-hammering Fox News, and all points in between, agree that Congress has never been less popular. Gallup has tracked an approve to disapprove spread in excess of 75 points (approval 11%, disapproval 86%), and their results aren’t an outlier. As such, fixing Congress becomes a prime subject for debate in an election year, with both parties struggling (along with other entities with an ax to grind) to find a vehicle for reform that supports their particular cause.
For the last year, chain emails and notes on social networks like Facebook have been pushing a very particular type of fix, variously referred to as the “Congressional Reform Act of 2011″ and the “28th Amendment”. This type of grass roots activism has, in our recent past, been successful at changing laws, if not at changing reality. The move towards term limits eventually placed term restrictions on nearly 40% of state legislators and almost 75% of state governors. Whether these limits do any good is an open question that isn’t, in the view of The Rational Middle, asked enough. But the term limit question, at a minimum, was directed at a relevant and real subject. As we will see, the various incarnations of the “28th Amendment” represent nothing more than the nexus of frustration and ignorance in our democracy.
Obamacare…the most effective political boogieman since Julius Caesar, has overtaken our nation. Senior citizens it seems have been the first to experience it’s horrors. While the conservative mainstream media focuses on the nearly irrelevant question of whether the individual mandate is constitutional, Obamacare has been hard at work changing the lives of Americans in their golden years. But what actually has happened; what is the terrible cost of this program?
Obamacare is the direct cause of at least 80 layoffs in Congress, although it is difficult to feel pity for former House Democrats (and a handful of Senators) who were too cowardly to run for reelection on the merits of a bill they voted on.
Obamacare is an underlying cause in President Obama’s fall from political grace to political reality. A significant fraction of liberals continue to insist that the President pushed a bill on the public that was too conservative. A significant fraction of independents believe that the President pushed a bill on the public that was too liberal. Finally, a significant fraction of conservatives believe the President pushed a bill on the public that was too Sharia.
In 2008, many Democrats were struggling to come to grips with why lower income and working class Americans were so unwilling to support the party platform that most closely aligned with their economic interests. The folks whose parents were Reagan Democrats in 1980 were still, stubbornly and inexplicably, swing voters nearly thirty years later. When some of those Democrats asked candidate Barack Obama why, he (infamously) gave an answer long on thoughtful academic substance and short on political style. Bitter folks clinging to guns and religion were anchored around Mr. Obama’s candidacy for the duration; they cling there to this day, in the political felony charge of elitism.
Given the weakness of his opposition, it is difficult to see anyone but Mitt Romney being the Republican nominee for President. Gingrich isn’t taken seriously by enough conservatives any longer, Perry is seen as a flake (or worse, W. Part Deux) by the establishment, and Ron Paul’s views on foreign affairs are persona non grata in the conservative big tent. All of which leads us to today’s post:
Who gets to be this election’s Sarah Palin?
The rules for selecting a V.P. candidate are well established; the running mate must help the nominee get elected. Period. Were you looking for something more complicated? The Vice President, in our system of government, has few constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, and none that can’t be fulfilled by literally dozens of other persons in the Executive Branch. What the running mate can provide is ticket balance, giving the nominee leverage with a voting block or a leg up in an electorally critical state. Beyond that, the running mate can only really harm the ticket, through an embarrassing admission or gaffe (or by confessing the ability to see Russia from one’s doorstep.)
Mitt Romney isn’t a bad guy because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Mitt Romney isn’t a bad candidate for president because he is a multimillionaire with three large homes. We the people have enjoyed the results of successful presidents from many points in the American spectrum; rich, poor, and middle of the road. The problem for Mitt Romney the candidate, is that he does represent the kind of business that has nearly destroyed our way of life, and did destroy the lives of millions of our fellows.
Mitt Romney is a corporate raider; Mitt Romney is a Wall Street vulture. Mitt Romney is a believer in the notion that wealth harvested from fancy takeovers is as pure as that earned by the sweat of the working class. The former Governor of Massachusetts and savior of the Salt Lake Olympics was a founder of Bain Capital, a firm that specialized in building wealth for its partners by stripping away the value from other firms. To be sure, Romney didn’t invent the corporate raider, and he didn’t violate any laws that we have heard. Romney was true to all the values he was raised with, and it is that point that is concerning, because his are the values that have defined our nation since the early 80′s. America, during the last thirty years, has begun to prize a very different definition of success than that acknowledged during the bulk of our national golden age. Wealth has become synonymous with achievement, and great wealth at that. And the type of wealth it takes to succeed in Mitt Romney’s America is only available to those individuals who can be partners at firms like Bain.
In breaking news today, Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Everyman from Middle America entered a deep and uncharted wilderness today as their household debt has nearly doubled the size of their economy. Economists reported that they had long feared this shocking turn of events, as the lingering effects of Mr. Everyman’s decision to be laid off from his job in 2008 have persisted. The economic shock caused this year by the Everyman’s decision to have a child, despite their apparently self-inflicted poverty, has also proved insurmountable.
Fox News commentators have so far been unable to agree whether reaching this previously unheard of threshold will inevitably lead to bankruptcy for the couple, but they are unified in their assessment that the Everyman’s were reckless and fueled by a sense of entitlement when they chose to buy a home back in 2005. “Investment and property ownership are the province of the job-creators”, writes Bill Kristol, “working class salt of the Earth types like the Everymans should appreciate that their standard of living is higher than Equatorial Africa, and be grateful for the blessings of liberty.”