Opinion | Morgan Liddick: A moment of truth from Senator Toomey
Finally, thank God, a politician who isn’t afraid to tell the truth. Or maybe he was just taken by surprise and blurted it out without thinking. Whichever is the case, praise for Pennsylvania’s Senator Pat Toomey, whose honesty cut through months of analytical nonsense about why both a Republican Senate and a Republican House have such monumental problems inching forward the agenda of a Republican president. An agenda most of them embraced before Nov. 8, 2016.
“I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win,” Toomey admitted in a town hall meeting on July 5. “I think most of my colleagues didn’t, so we didn’t expect to be in this situation.” And the truth shall set you free.
Here in plain language is the answer to much of the frustration that has plagued Trump voters over the past few months. Yes, House Republicans voted many times to repeal Obamacare. Yes, their brethren in the Senate followed suit. When it didn’t matter. And there was lots of bold language about what would happen when a Republican occupied the White House. But now that’s happened and they’re frozen in place like ducks stuck to pond ice in winter.
They all said repeatedly they had a plan, and we believed they did because, well, it took six years to give them the one-party government for which they begged. Six years was enough time to win World War II. Enough time to develop and execute the Apollo program. To build the first transcontinental railroad. So what happened to “repeal and replace,” at a minimum?
Turns out that it was all hogwash. Sorry to say, our Republican friends sat on their hands instead of planning a better health care system because that would take work. People might have to compromise; various oxen would be gored; there would be hard feelings. And it was politically expedient to keep Obamacare’s tottering structure before voters, so there could be something to rail against come campaign season. But there was a problem.
As with Aesop’s little boy who cried wolf, if you promise or threaten something often enough without follow-up, you eventually lose credibility. After that, no matter how clear the danger, no matter how earnest the plea, you will be marked as a liar and charlatan, and ignored. So if you’re a Republican Senator or Congressperson, it’s long past time to do what all those people you claim to represent do: Get up, get your boots on and do what you’ve promised for years. Health care reform. Tax reform. Border control. You all said you’d do it, and now’s the time.
Fat chance. As Senator Toomey’s brief moment of truthfulness made us understand, the mainstays of the Republican party have no interest whatever in doing as they said they would. They prefer to leave things as they are because that allows them to argue, come election day, that the great work of reform still needs doing.
Note the similarity to the Democrats’ plea: As long as one person anywhere is poor or feels abused, our work is undone… Never mind that our purported fixes have often made things worse; we need to stay at it.
All this is purposeful shadow play by our rulers. Without perpetual crises, what need would we have of this or that group of legislators to sway outcomes in favor of one clique or another? What argument could there be for re-electing team A instead of team Z? Refusing to solve the metastasizing problems our country faces may not be good for America, but it certainly serves the interests of our political class who are clever at manipulating public emotions and diverting our attention with shiny objects and rabbit holes.
Thus the current impasse, helpful to both political flavors in the Washington swamp, but noxious to the needs and desires of everyday Americans who believed those who told them that solutions were in hand, that it was only a matter of electing them, that all would be well…
Except they weren’t, it wasn’t and it’s not. So now, as with any situation in which one realizes one has been flimflammed, there are two choices: Accept the fact and swallow the next whopper like the bumpkins our leaders obviously think we are, or repay falsehood with truth and double-dealing with action. November 2018 is looming, so we can fix this situation if we wish.
Do we so wish? Or is the current circus good enough for us?
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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