“This is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation’s economic health,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss in a formal announcement last month that he would not seek re-election to a third term as one of Georgia’s two senators.
Whether you like Chambliss or loathe him, it’s almost impossible not to bellow a hearty “amen” to his description of what government in Washington has become.
“A lack of leadership ... and a dearth of meaningful action …” sums it up nicely. Sadly so.
Had Chambliss offered for re-election, there is no guarantee he would have won what was expected to be a tough primary battle against a Republican opponent almost certain to have been portrayed as more in step with the true conservative cause.
Chambliss, after all, had shown a willingness to put partisanship aside in an effort to address significant issues such as the national financial picture and immigration reform. In a political climate where bipartisanship is sometimes considered to be akin to treason, he and the very few others of his ilk have been ostracized and targeted for replacement by their respective parties.
We all know we can’t have any Republican suggesting that a tax increase of any sort might be necessary; can’t have any Democrat willing to make a budget cut rather than raising revenues; can’t have members of either party perceived to be willing to ignore their party’s leadership in order to work for the common good.
The Washington political arena has become so divided as to make it seem impossible that any truly meaningful change can possibly take place. Republicans have to prove how conservative they are, no matter the issue. Democrats have to pledge allegiance to the progressive movement. The president can neither lead nor build bridges of compromise. Statesmanship is a foreign concept.
Nothing gets done. And nothing is getting better.
So who is to blame? Well, it isn’t just the politicians. If one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing time and again and expecting a different result, then one can only infer that the American electorate as a whole is in need of mental health therapy. We keep following the same pattern expecting change and are then surprised when it doesn’t happen.
Well, that’s not totally true. One thing has changed. Sen. Chambliss won’t be part of the equation after the end of his term in 2014. Given the political climate in Georgia, odds are he will be replaced with a Republican determined to prove his or her conservative credentials by never taking part in any bipartisan effort on anything.
And on it will go.