Instant Gratification

Obama promised to make government more transparent. He promised to try to lessen the power of special interest groups. He did not promise that he would do these things immediately because I’m sure he knew he couldn’t. Washington has done business in certain ways for many years. Washington has always had a love affair with business. After all, there was, first and foremost, the matter of campaign financing. Business has always had money politicians need. Very difficult to pass up money even it if comes with expectations of favors. The money gets delivered before the favors come due and it is, therefore, easy to pretend there is no connection.

Secondly, there is always the matter of attracting business to your home state. If you keep your state prosperous, you keep getting reelected. You get the plush committee appointments. You get to tuck little presents for your constituents back home, little projects (earmarks) into the bowels of bills and use your influence to get them to pass. These “you oil my palm and I’ll oil yours” tactics have been used successfully for decades. What will Congress switch to? How is business to be accomplished? Pocketbooks will suffer if these strategies go away, all kinds of pocketbooks; the government’s, the politician’s and the citizen’s. Can we afford to become transparent and above-board? We can see that our economy gets unhappy if our corporations all go away. If we really want transparency and above-board politics, all these financial issues must be addressed. The Supreme Court just ruled that a corporation is a citizen, just like any other constituent. This makes it Congress’s duty to consider a corporation’s needs and rights. I don’t think we’ve experienced the full implications of this ruling. Our tight economy makes it especially difficult for Obama to fight this fight right now.

People say they were carried away by the excitement of the campaign. They are acting like they were tricked into voting for Obama. Now he’s so boring, they say. Governing is never as exciting as campaigning. Obama had a lot of charisma during the campaign. Perhaps he doesn’t get to sparkle quite so much in the world of recessions and bank bailouts and stimulus packages and oil spills.

Did we really believe that things in Washington would change, boom, overnight? The Republicans have been running scared. They have been blaming any and everything on the Democrats and they have used this game plan before. Because they are not happy unless they are the party in power they have been trash-talking the Democrats and creating obstacles to any progress in the Democratic agenda. And many people seem to be falling for all this. Even though most of us are not rich enough to be Republican. They have used the deficit to put themselves in position to resume stealing our money for special interests and big business and to end services to American citizens. And people are falling for this. We are thinking of abandoning Obama already and sending masses of Republicans, who have promised to lower the deficit, back to Congress They will control spending by redirecting it right back to big business, special interests, their own pockets, and their campaign chests.

Maybe we will be disappointed by Obama, he doesn’t seem as liberal as I would like him to be (but he didn’t even when he was campaigning.) He still is more liberal than any Republicans. I don’t think we have given Obama a fair chance yet. We need to keep a Democratic majority in Congress for at least two more years.

It’s our fault. I guess we like a good dog and pony show better than the daily tasks of governing a country. Minute-to-minute thrills are our current addiction. Government as entertainment.

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