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Jerry Shenk


Washington's Montagues and Capulets

by Jerry Shenk
 

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet featured a feud between the fictional Montague and Capulet families. Similarly, the "feud" between American political parties is mostly fictional, especially since Republican and Democratic "moderates" have formed a House "Problem Solvers Caucus." In Washington's version of Romeo and Juliet, though, the only thing likely to die is the American dream.

Bipartisan, "moderate" cooperation is misleadingly sold as an altruistic attempt to "get things done." Granted, some matters need adult attention, and the putative polarization of the parties makes the notion of "centrism" attractive to frustrated Americans, but, in actual fact, centrism has created a Fusion Party committed to big-government's interests over preserving the freedoms and independent welfare of the governed.

There are no nationally-prominent "moderate" Democrats anymore. Actually-liberal, so-called House Blue Dog "moderate" Democrats were decimated in the 2010 wave election, and most disappeared by 2014, some losing primaries to even more-liberal challengers.

Democrats have moved so far left that there's no room remaining in their party for truly-moderate, fiscally-responsible, math-capable officeholders.

That's true of some Republicans, too. Sixty years ago, today's "moderate" Republicans could easily have been Democrats. It's doubtful that JFK would be acceptable to modern Democrats, but he'd be welcome in the Tuesday Group, a gathering of "moderate" House Republicans who outnumber the party's conservative wing and are fond of describing themselves as the party's "governing wing" — self-congratulatory, egoistic posturing, really, that masks their legislative timidity.

Centrism is easy. Fiscal restraint is difficult. Think it over: If one political faction supports additional programs, spending and debt, and the other opposes them — or, at least, says they do — compromise inevitably results in increases in all three. Centrist "compromise" has ballooned the non-military federal payroll to 2.9 million. In about twelve years, "compromise" has more than doubled the national debt to $20 trillion — greater than the nation's annual economic output — and counting. "Compromise" has burdened our kids and grandkids with obscene financial burdens they may never be able to repay. The immorality of transferring debt doesn't disturb moderates.

In order to repair the damage done by compromise, one of two things must happen: Either fiscal conservatives must prevail in time for a financial course correction, or Democrats, along with "moderate" Republicans, will "compromise" the nation into default -- after which the most genuinely-needy among us will suffer most -- until fiscally-responsible adults take charge to restore America.

Until one or the other occurs, "moderate" Republicans will continue to cynically express their frustration that the House has occasionally advanced (necessary, publicly-popular) legislation and more-austere spending plans that "couldn't pass the Senate" -- which is precisely why Senate Republicans should nuke the legislative filibuster.

Removing the Senate filibuster will enable the conduct of necessary congressional business and also create a perfect Trifecta: "Moderate" Republicans will lose 1) their final excuse for opposing and obstructing necessary reforms (their "presidential veto" excuse is already lost), 2) the political cover for their fiscally-irresponsible policy and spending preferences and 3) their coveted fawning attention from liberal national media.

http://www.ldnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/2017/04/26/opinion-washingtons-montagues-and-capulets/100929864/


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