Government Shutdown not due to ‘politics as usual’

Common sense indicates that hope for the future resides in public servants who will resist increased spending and increased debt. Photo: Obama, Reid, Pelosi - public domain

SAN JOSE, October 10, 2013 -  The American people are currently witnessing the sinister  destructiveness of politics beyond the “as usual” depiction as the Federal government shutdown stumbles onward. The typical concept of  “politics as usual” normally involves  images of politicians bantering back and forth over legislation until a clever arbitrator steps into the fray with a compromise which appeases both parties; or a backroom filled with cigar smoke where scheming politicians often hammer out… well, those backroom deals. When the wrangling subsides, the business of governing moves beyond entangling stalemates. However, the present stalemate involves a different dimension.

SEE RELATED: Constitution Day: Long live the U.S. Constitution

The fight this time is charged with emotion and tension that goes well beyond “politics as usual,” and although the ladies and gentlemen are trying to remain civil (some are trying   to remain ladies and gentlemen), most players in the arena realize that the future direction, or the very existence of their party, is at stake. To most on either side of the proverbial aisle, their Party is everything. The Party is the basis for their position, prestige, political clout, power, financial status, and their professional reputations. Today, to those on either side of the aisle, their Party must be preserved at all costs – or so it appears. In essence, the fight over spending is a fight over the future of each Party, and that is why it is so extreme.

However, this fight can be more clearly understood from the standpoint of what politicians  stand to gain after the dust of the battle disperses, or more specifically, the debris from the Shutdown disappears. In reality, the Democrats are somewhat locked-in due to historically pursuing a political strategy that has been tried and true. In fact, Andrew Jackson, the granddaddy of the current Democrat party laid the groundwork for such a simplistic, yet effective political strategy. In his time, he successfully conjured up quite a divisive and contentious plan for political manipulation of the electorate and slick domination of the machinery of government.

Essentially, Andrew Jackson, used other people’s land as well as the guarantee of federal government jobs for his friends and supporters to ensure his glowing popularity and two terms as president. However, over the years, most politicians of any political party (but Democrats have superbly perfected) have become aware of the refined art of garnering votes by promising, and often providing the voters with what they wanted, or needed, the most.  The Democrats superbly perfected this under FDR during the time of the Great Depression by providing a majority of folks with employment via the federal government.  It did not solve the Depression, but it sure bloated the federal bureaucracy.

It is no accident that many of those so-called “temporary” fixes mandated during the desperate times of the Great Depression have been indefinitely extended into the 21st century. It is one of the reasons why the Democrats have been nicknamed the “tax-and- spend party” over the years. The Democrats are obligated to keep federal spending high, and justify it, in order to provide a majority of their constituents with what they want or need - mainly today it is government jobs.  When job growth and job security flows from the federal government, what could actually go wrong with such a scheme to obtain, maintain, and retain power.

This is a neatly arranged symbiotic relationship. It provides incredible security, not only for those employed, but especially for those who depend on dependable votes to continue to win elections. It is also one of the reasons why Obama made and kept a promise to give raises in salaries to federal employees, despite the financial difficulties of the nation as a whole, and despite promises to reduce federal spending during the 2008 campaign. Democrats take care of their people, but usually so do Republicans – unless it ha to do with the Tea Party. However, in this day and age, the Democrats are currently raising the stakes for even more control of the electorate.

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is the new law of the land, and the mechanism for Party survival. Obamacare was created by the Democrats through their most recent years of control of both the White House and Congress until the mid-term elections and a new, and more conservatively oriented House of Representatives in 2011. This is why the fight centers around Obamacare in 2013. Looking below the surface of the squabbling, it is possible to perceive that one side may be fighting for their constituency and the other side is fighting for the future generations of Americans. Yet, even the lines of each side are quite blurred because even some Republicans could make money off of Obamacare! Count on it.

The fundamental problem is that common Americans stand to lose as they are being forced to buy into a single Party mandated health scheme they may come to hate. A key word here is “force.” President George Washington expressed serious concern over “the alternate domination” of one political party over another, in which one party would enjoy temporary power over the government that would use it to obtain revenge on the other. He would likely view the continuous domination of one political party over another as rendering freedom impotent. Washington even felt that atrocities directed at a particular party out   of power “…is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.”

Reading the words of his Farewell Address, an adept reader may be astounded at how remarkably prophetic they sound:

The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition   to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty…

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

Washington, especially after serving as the Chief Executive, witnessed firsthand the destructive capacity of political partisanship during his Administration. Today, President Obama, the Chief Executive, is seemingly unwilling to negotiate with the Republicans to generate a settlement over the budget, and the basis of his perspective and of his supporters is that he won two elections; therefore, the Democrats have a mandate to operate the controls of government on their terms only. The subsequent logic is that the Democrats should be able to exert their political will over the Republicans without having to negotiate anything. If it smells like despotism, it may just be despotism.

One fundamental flaw regarding the argument of the Democrats’ claim to victory in the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 is that they won by portraying to the American public that they were going to cut the exorbitant spending of the people’s money. The majority of voters hoped that Obama was the man who could get that job done. They voted for “change.” However, the Democrats effectively won the last two presidential elections based upon fundamental lies regarding the genuine reduction of government spending that was brazenly peddled to the public. They spent even more and increased the national debt.

Common sense would seem to indicate that hope for the future would reside in those public servants who will resist increased spending and increased debt. Hope for the future would rest with those who stand their ground, despite the political flack, despite media marginalization, and despite the fear of losing their precious positions in elected office. Hope for the future generations would reside in those who would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good – not just for their constituents, not just for themselves here and now, but for the future generations of Americans.

It is exactly why the Founding Fathers can be considered great men of vision rather than a bunch of political hacks. As they fought for freedom, many of them could grasp that it was not only for themselves; they sacrificed themselves for the future generations of Americans, for the future of freedom.


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Dennis Jamison
Dennis Jamison
Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Now semi-retired, he is an adjunct faculty member  at West Valley College in California.  He also currently writes a column on history and one on American freedom for the Communities at the Washington Times.


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