For all intents and purposes, the Presidency of Barack Obama is over. While that might not be such a terrible revelation to some people, it means three more years of gridlock for most of us, and brings us three years closer to the end of the empire.
Before I start, let me set the record straight by saying that I did not vote for either Sen. Obama in 08′, or President Obama in 2012. It had nothing to do with him being a socialist, or a Muslim, or a Kenyan or any of the hyperbole that republicans and conspiracy theorists were so quick to bandy about. I thought that he lacked experience on a supervisory and executive level and I think that I have been proven right. However, unlike most of the other incidents where I get to tell all of you that I was right again, I gain no solace this time.
This past week has seen three different scandals land on the doorstep at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave; The Benghazi affair, the IRS enemies list, and lastly, the AP phone debacle. By themselves, each of these items would last a week in the press, but collectively they grow exponentially. Without a legitimate explanation, or worse yet, a bigger scandal, these items might rotate on the front page for the next year.
While each of these scandals are both embarrassing and deplorable in their arrogance and ineptitude, they are not impeachable offenses. The more concerning part, in my opinion, is the absolute glee on the faces of republican legislators, knowing full-well that it will halt any progress in the Obama agenda. Whether that is a bad thing or not is not the scope of this article. What concerns me is the constant gridlock in Washington and the unabashed partisanship on both sides of the aisle. We have entered the age where the concerns of the country are no longer paramount. In Washington, it is party first, country second. Sure, every once in a while someone will stand against his party and make a bunch of noise, but most of the time it’s just grandstanding when the outcome has already been decided.
If the Obama administration did suppress the facts of the Benghazi attack in order to increase the chances of winning election in November, and it does appear that this is the case, then shame on them, but was a crime committed? Of course not. This type of behavior occurs all the time in Washington. The only time it results in removal from office is when the cover-up is of a sexual nature, just ask Anthony Weiner and Larry Craig.
The biggest obstacle contributing to the logjam in D.C. is incumbency. Short of getting caught in a men’s room stall with your pants down, once you get into your office at the eastern end of Constitution Avenue, you’re in for good. If the framers made one glaring mistake when writing the constitution, it was not including a clause about term limits.
Few of us can forget about Ol’ Strom Thurmond, that Jim Crow supporting political giant from South Carolina who reigned unchecked for 47 years until he retired in 2003, but how about John Dingell, from Michigan. Ever hear of him? Me neither until today, but he’s been collecting government checks since 1955. That was 58 years ago. The Dodgers won the World Series that year. The Brooklyn Dodgers.
Then there is John Conyers. He’s also from Michigan. He’s a real prince. He’s been implicated in about a half-a-dozen different scandals. His wife was sentenced to 37 months in prison for bribery. No matter. He’s still in congress. Since 1965. That’s 47 years. I know because that’s the year I was born.
Then there is the disgraced Charlie Rangel of New York. He’s been in office since 1971. He’s been found guilty of 11 house violations. He’s been censured. He’s still in office.
I could go on. There are several dozen more like these three. Congressman and Senators that have been entrenched in Washington for 25, 30, 35 years, more often than not with scandals hanging over their careers. Not that it matters, anytime there is some sort of impropriety, they go before an ethics committee, which is made up of course, of their fellow Senators or Congressmen. It’s a lovely incestuous existence.
I always love how members of Congress criticize the President of the opposition party as being unethical or incompetent. Hell, those two qualifications are prerequisites for being elected to federal office. And there really is no difference between the parties despite the rhetoric coming from both sides of the aisle.
The only difference between Democrats and Republicans is as such:
Democrats want to ban guns and smoking in public places because they fear for their own well-being.
Republicans want to ban gay marriage and abortion because it offends their sensibilities.
While I happen to find the whole lot of them detestable, I can at least understand the reasoning of the democrats. Not that it makes a difference.
The majority of the country lives in the political middle of the spectrum. We identify with one party or the other simply because we have no party to call our own. The centrist party doesn’t exist yet. If it did, we would dwarf the other two parties instantly. If a 3rd party of centrists was created, it could end the logjam in an eyeblink. The 22nd amendment, establishing Presidential term limits, was passed in 4 years. In this day and age of instant messaging and social media, it would take less than half that time to limit Congressman to 5 terms (10 years) and Senators to 2 terms (12 years).
In the wake of the election of Barack Obama, both the Tea Party and the Occupy moments were born. Both groups managed to grab headlines for months at a time and may even have caused the needle to move a little in Washington. Unfortunatley, neither group represented people like me. Maybe it’s time that the center stood up and made their voices heard.