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Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Time to Fish or Cut Bait

Wednesday I wrote a piece called I'm So Tired. It was about my frustration over the inability of our elected officials to compromise in order to make progress on the issues that face us. It was about the delight I sense from politicians and bloggers (oh, yes, especially) as they revel and take joy in the supposed failures of the other party or other party's nominee. It seems that bloggers and pundits are as purely partisan as our elected officials. Events of the last two days pretty much prove the point.

In fact, the President, the Democratic Leadership, and the Republican Leadership each and all have legitimate concerns. There was no bipartisan deal sunk by McCain because there was no bipartisan deal that included House Republicans. But there must be a bipartisan deal or there won't be a deal. McCain has some leverage with a sector of the Congress that impacts this matter in a big way. I think he is trying to help a bipartisan deal happen. I have no idea why people cannot give him the benefit of the doubt. It may be that Obama's roll is less crucial right now, unless perhaps it would be to persuade his party leaders to listen to the House Republicans.

All the cynical dishonest slander about McCain's motives is just that. The smug criticism that a President needs to be able to "multi-task" and deal with more than one thing is silly, as if the debate were a matter of national security. It is just a dig, maybe aimed at McCain's age. There is often great virtue in uni-tasking, in not being all over the place.

Several debates will happen whether this one does or not. The timing for this one is bad. It would be good if their purpose were to join hands and show us that even now in the midst of a election campaign two candidates can suspend their arguing and show common cause. They will probably do the debate because it would be political suicide for McCain not to; I just think it's a bad idea.

The people of America are unsure and divided over the best course of action. There are strong and divergent opinions. Each party has a legitimate concern. Bipartisan legislation cannot pass if it is not bipartisan. The Republicans have to be on board.

I don't know if the debate should go on tonight or not. Personally I think it is not wise. If they focus on foreign policy then it would seem disconnected from the most pressing matter. If they focus on the bailout (causes of the problem, disagreements about solutions, etc), then it would seem that they would doing what folks are accusing McCain of doing, that is,of politicizing the debate (as if it isn't already - what a laugh). It would be like talking about an extremely delicate matter to the press and public while it is still being negotiated. I think the debate should wait a week. Unless a real deal is reached - very soon - maybe even I type. Otherwise, to me anyway, the debate just seems unseemly.

Now is the time for our elected representatives not only to defend their partisan base and their precious political principles, but also to compromise and reach a deal before it is too late to matter.

If they cannot do it we should vote all the bums out - each and every one of them - and start over. Fish (come up with compromise legislation now), or cut bait (as in, go home, for good).

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