Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Even Worse Than It Looks- a book report

(How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism) By; Thomas F. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein This book was used as a text book for a class I attended at the University of Arizona. The class title was “Our Broken Democracy-Can It Be Fixed”. It was an excellent course attended by a restricted number with a maximum of 20. The reason was to assure adequate discussion by the attendees. I thoroughly enjoyed the interchange of ideas from each of them. This book provided a great deal of information relative to the hardening of positions by both political parties over the past 30 years or so. Its premise was that the war began when Newt Gingrich in the1984 election promoted “The Contract with America” which included a balanced budget amendment, a tough crime package and term limits for members of Congress. He believed that President Clinton was soft and would cave to pressure. He was wrong and had to face reality and did try to work with Clinton on issues such as reforming welfare work rules. None the less the seeds of confrontation were sown and have continued to this day. The election of Barack Obama infuriated the Republican Party and the re-election even further. They have made their goal to fight him at every turn. I do not dispute this premise. I do have a problem with the authors as the preponderance of the book places the blame almost entirely on Republicans. I consider myself to be a moderate with fiscal conservatism as a fundamental base. I agree that the party is no longer the party I can support totally. I am registered as an Independent joining with millions of others who are trying to tell the major parties that they have run amuck and no longer represent our values. We have reached the point to where the far right and the far left are dictating policy where most of us only want them to address the major issues of concern and solve the myriad of problems our country is facing today. Squandering their time fighting each other accomplishes nothing but increasing bitterness. I too long for the days when opposing sides would come together and forge compromises which while never perfect, at least made some improvement. With the advent of unlimited fund raising the system is completely out of focus. Only those willing to grovel for funds stand a chance of getting elected. The Supreme Court was totally wrong in granted personhood to Corporations and Unions. The average citizen’s contributions are meaningless compared to the funds available to these huge mega groups. This is the premise of the authors and also me. Congress should be passing legislation to overturn that decision. There has to be some wording that could stand up to the Court’s review. On page 198 of a book with 201 pages the authors finally show their total bias by stating “Punish a party for ideological extremism by voting against it. (Today that means the GOP). It can’t be any clearer than that. The sum total of this book was anti-Republican. Where the writers erred, in my opinion, is that they did not say enough about why the Republican Party became so abusive. It is the spiraling down of every principle they hold dear. Referring to Obama specifically, I voted for him the first time. He said he would make us energy self-sufficient. In my opinion he has done everything to prevent that. He would lower the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Instead he doubled it. He was going to end the wars. Instead he tried his best to keep troops in Iraq, he ordered the surge in Afghanistan, he is trying to keep troops there after the end of this year and he has pledged billions for the next ten years to support that government. He had both houses of Congress Democrat in his first two years. He could have created a health care system for all Americans that was reasonable and affordable. Instead he created an albatross which will cost us untold billions and is so complicated no one seems to understand. His love for Islam has prevented those in government positions from confronting the terrorist organizations who are predominately persons adhering to the Muslim faith. In other words he has proved to be untrustworthy in my opinion. In conclusion, while I strongly disapprove of the antics of the Republican Party today, they will probably get my vote as I abhor everything Obama stands for. Jack B. Walters March 28, 2014

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