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A month ago, in the aftermath of the government shutdown debacle, President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats rode high in the polls and the Republicans looked like a party sinking into its own morass of political mistakes.
That, as the often-used stereotype goes, was then and this is now.
Just 30 days later, Obama is sinking under the worst public disapproval of his Presidency, his so-called “signature” health care plan needs life support and Republicans are lighting cigars and slapping each other on the back while claiming “we’re back.”
Such is the nature of politics. Little if permanent in that world and fortunes rise and fall on single issues and slight shifts in public opinions.
Polls and public opinion ride more on whims than reality. The issue of the day drives both fortune and misfortune.
Obama’s headlong slide into the pit of public disapproval rides, primarily, on the failures of a web site. Last month, the doom and gloom at the Republican National Committee stemmed from an ill-fated decision to put Obamacare front and center of a plan that relied on obstruction.
In politics, timing was everything. Had the debate over the government budget began a few weeks later during the massive failures of the HealthCare.Gov web site, the outcome could have been far different. We could see a repeat of the same issues and rhetoric when deadlines on a budget and another debt limit extension hit center stage early next year and the outcome this time could go other way.
Add Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid‘s decision to nuke that body’s longstanding filibuster rule and, as Mr. Spock once observed in Star Trek: “the defecation will almost certainly strike the rotary oscillator.”
A question often asked in all of this is something along the lines of “is this any way to run a government?”
Of course not, but — at the moment — it is what we’ve got. Legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once called “democracy the worst form of government imaginable…except for all other forms.”
In America, our government is supposed to be a bastardized form of democracy called “a democratic republic.” What we have today is a far cry from what the nation’s founders perceived as a democratic republic but, again, it’s what we’ve got and our challenge is to make what we’ve got work.
Perhaps the first step towards making all this madness work for our benefit is to realize that we are all in this together — Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, independents, conservatives, liberals, radicals, right and left — and the only way to accomplish all of this is to find some way to work together without resorting to insults, name-calling, threats or stubborn hardheadedness.
If the past has shown us anything, it is that America works best when this nation of diverse peoples come together to face a common problem.
We’ve done it before and will — in a couple of weeks — remember the horrific events on December 7, 1941 — a day that brought us together to fight a common enemy for a common goal.
It is our nature to shine best when times are bleak and dark.
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