Presidential Smackdown

So finally, after the long build-up to the New York Primary, the two frontrunners emerged victorious as expected.

Yawn. So it looks like there will be a Hillary vs. Donald smackdown in the general election. Clinton has coasted on the wings of her breathless helpers in the media and by the Democratic Party’s helpful superdelegate rules. Trump Nation has been energized all along by the media in its wall-to-wall coverage that has sucked the oxygen out of any other more qualified candidates on the Republican side. All of the campaigns are demonstrating new lows in message and language. There is little substance and much hyperbole. It’s no accident. This is the result of American-attention-deficit-disorder, 24-hour news cycles, and hyper partisanship have caused: a WWF wrestling match election.

There was a time in the not too distant past when Democrats and Republicans fought each other over issues, but in governing, came together for the good of the people.

Now look, I’m no dewy-eyed virgin, I’m well aware that politics have always been ugly. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were mortal enemies, and in the run-up to the Civil War, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina, beat Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts so badly with his cane that Sumner didn’t return to the Senate for three years. Lots of ugly things have been said and done in the name of politics in the United States. You can look it up.

However, there have been times when through bi-partisanship, when we’ve had some our finest hours. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of them. That landmark legislation was initiated by a Democrat President, Lyndon Johnson and supported (despite what you’ve heard) by Republicans. In fact, Republicans in the House supported it by 80 percent to just 63 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, Republicans with just 33 members, voted 27-6 in favor of Civil Rights and Democrats voted 46-21 in favor of the bill. It would have never happened without Republican support!

Contrast that with the passage of Obamacare just 45 years later. The Democrats held the majority of both houses similar to 1964. However, President Obama made it clear that he could do what he liked with the majority and the Senate and House leaders, Reed and Pelosi rammed it through Congress on Christmas Eve 2009. Virtually no one in Congress even read the whole bill. Pelosi famously remarked that she would figure out what was in there after it passed! Only one Republican in the House voted for passage and none did in the Senate. Well, as of yesterday, when United Health Care, the nations largest health insurance provider, pulled out of the exchanges, it appears that the next President and Congress will have to rebuild our shaky health insurance system. It remains a very contentious political issue. Meanwhile, virtually no one is against Civil Rights. Progress in this regard has been made in America, but of course it’s a work in progress, isn’t it?

Here’s another contrast; Watergate vs. The Clinton email scandal. During the Watergate hearings, Republican Senator from Tennessee, Howard Baker emerged as an important leader on the Democratic Party led Watergate Committee. He and other Republican leaders met with Nixon and told him he didn’t have the votes in the Senate, including Republican votes, to survive impeachment. Contrast that with the hearings around Clinton’s alleged misconduct with emails while Secretary of State. The Republicans in unison want her prosecuted and the Democrats deny that anything seriously wrong has happened. Really, something happened — 18,000 of them. This won’t end well.

There was a time when you could actually be a Conservative Democrat. Remember Sam Nunn and Henry “Scoop” Jackson? What about moderate Republicans? How about Arlen Spector, Gerald Ford or Charles Percy? There was a time when George H.W. Bush was considered to be one of those moderate Republicans. His choice to run as Vice-President was seen as a betrayal by some Republicans who supported him.

And think of this, I had the honor of knowing and working with the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois. He was a combination of liberal on social issues and conservative on defense and the economy. His best friend in the Senate was Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who was as rock-ribbed a Republican that ever existed. Yet, they collaborated on many issues. Imagine that happening in today’s hyper-partisan environment? Paul Simon was an amazing man who might be unelectable right now. The same goes for that “Rino” Simpson.

Now we are faced with a choice between an arguably successful businessperson who doesn’t seem to understand issues, and who has no filter on what he says in a dangerous world; a socialist who would bankrupt us; a qualified-on-paper former Senator and Secretary of State who is thoroughly disliked and untrusted; and a Senator who is so ideologically pure that he once actually defended the State of Texas on its legislative ban on sex toys. You can’t make this stuff up.

Sometimes we get what we deserve – like this bunch. “We The People” have been lazy in learning the facts and in learning American history. Our attention span is about two clicks on a website. Our mission at Political Storm is that through a dialogue between all views we can restart the spirit of working together that made America great. We need to get out of our echo chambers and away from our Facebook friends and engage in a real dialogue and face the risk that someone might disagree with us before it’s too late.