By Brent J. Budowsky - 02/21/13 05:19 PM EST
The great sickness of Washington, D.C., that is hurting America so severely is not merely the posturing about the sequester but the small-minded, shallow and second-rate attitudes that permeate both sides of the aisle in Congress and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, which have brought the nation the latest installment of banana republic politics that is the enemy of workers and taxpayers.
Today American troops face the danger of death serving our country in combat. Jobless Americans face the continued agony of searching desperately for work. Poor Americans face continued cruelty from poverty and hunger. Middle-class Americans face continued destruction of their wages and standard of living.
Yet official Washington stands idly by, like modern-day Marie Antoinettes, effectively saying of Americans “let them eat golf, let them drink Merlot, let them wait while we take our junkets to exotic places and hold our fundraisers with wealthy donors and give our speeches that nobody believes telling constituents how wonderful we are, while our putting is praised by Tiger Woods.”
If the last shall be first and the first shall be last, my sympathies in this putrid fiasco are with the resurgent House Democrats who call on House Republicans to call the Congress back.
We live in a land where the accepted new normal is a real jobless rate that is almost one-fifth of the nation. We live at a time when the accepted new normal is that our troops in war do not have a Defense secretary and so many of our workers do not have jobs. We live in a town surrounded by Americans who have lost confidence in their leaders while the accepted new normal is another prolonged recess, between bouts of impotence and inaction and binges of name-calling and blame-shifting, where lawmakers whose sole purpose is for one party or the other to rise a point in polls that courageous troops and hard-hit workers do not give a damn about while their lives are threatened in combat and their jobs are destroyed by greed and neglect.
It is time to end the banana republic farce of groups of eight and gangs of six. It is time to end the banana republic fiasco of force-fed fiscal cliffs and idiot-stupid sequester plans. It is time to end the banana republic frauds of photo ops that do not matter, and well-intentioned commissions that are routinely ignored, and supercommittees that meet in secret and then do nothing, and ridiculous recesses that never end while the people’s business does not get done.
America needs a president who stops acting like a philosopher king who is above doing the things that get things done in this town, and starts meets with opponents in Congress to build the relationships that every president needs and this president does not have.
America needs loyal opposition Republicans who are not full of anger, hatred, invective and derision towards this president and not terrified by which extremist nut might run against them in the next GOP primary.
The sequester is the latest proof that there is a cancer on the presidency, a cancer on the Congress, a cancer on the body politic and a cancer that is metastasizing against the confidence of our country and killing the jobs that our people desperately need.
It is time to kill the cancer, not the jobs. It is time to confirm a secretary of Defense to support the troops, not tolerate a sequester that will hurt the troops. It is time to stop banana republic financing and end banana republic legislating. It is time to create a new new normal that does not shame us. It is time to call Congress back and vow to never again permit the banana republic farce that continues today and gravely hurts our country.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.