Young: America speaks (again): Get on with it
October 23, 2013
It had every ingredient of Election Day — the crispness of autumn, the electricity of pronouncements, the winners, the losers.
It was as if Americans had voted. In fact, they had. And for the second time in two years, Republicans finally conceded defeat. They would cede to the popular will and, in this case, let our government govern.
So lopsided was the result this time that not even Karl Rove could say it wasn't so.
And, let's face it. If the 2012 presidential election was far less close than GOP strategists thought, this one, the public's pronouncement on the shutdown, was a true rout.
Poll after poll found most Americans angry at the tea party obstructionists. "A pox on both houses"? The House could only wish.
This quest to disrupt government for show was received much like a sporting crowd greets a streaker.
In pro sports, when a grandstander strips naked to get some air time, the cameras point elsewhere. It's too bad CSPAN's one camera has had to indulge Ted Cruz in his exhibitions.
Once again this time, anti-government types didn't get the answer they wanted — the one posed by Sen. Phil Gramm about government during the last shutdown: "Do you miss it?"
Yes, Americans did — missed the paychecks, missed the services, missed the parks and attractions.
More importantly, the shutdown gave them time to think about how much they miss government that actually functions. They realized how tired they are that governing has become a zero-sum morality play by those more interested in emoting for the camera than doing what the founders established three branches of government to do.
Oh, and Sen. Cruz, as you gun for the GOP nomination, you may be interested that one Democrat is gunning for you.
There could be no mistaking what Hillary Clinton meant when, in endorsing Terry McAuliffe in the race for Virginia governor the other day, she blasted politicians who choose "scorched earth over common ground." She was calling out Cruz. Indeed, she was inviting the hard right to put him forth as the GOP's choice. Go ahead. Make her day.
She pointed out that McAuliffe wasn't so dogmatic that he hadn't supported some of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's policies. I invite anyone to supply one policy, one thing whatsoever that President Obama has proposed that the tea party has ever supported. One. Thing.
Americans see this, and they are not pleased. Favorability ratings for the political brand Cruz seeks to put before voters in 2014 have dipped into the low 30s; yes, below freezing.
So, once again, make the Dems' day, GOP, and saddle up with The Streaker.
The shutdown crew bet everything on perceived public antipathy toward the Affordable Care Act. Without question, the public has questions and concerns. But what it has said, first in 2012, and now in 2013, is, "Get on with it."
Get on with health reform. Get on with whatever government can do to keep a precious recovery going. Get on with reining in the deficit.
Contrary to the right's boombox rhetoric, Obama has made budget concessions. He will again. So doing, he will infuriate members of his own party, as he has before.
Get on with it, or get out of the way.
Republicans like John McCain, Bob Dole and Alan Simpson have watched in horror as pouting, petulant, tantrum-throwers in their party have held their breaths until the nation turned blue.
Get on with immigration reform. Get on with entitlement reform. Get on with real-world education policies not pinned to dubious testing, false comparisons and meaningless slogans.
Ask the people what they want. They want all that. How many times must they say it?
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.
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