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When will the madness stop?

October 28, 2012
The Herald-Star

To the editor:

As we finally see the light at the end of the presidential electioneering tunnel, it seems both Democrats and Republicans viscerally fear that the light they perceive could be the opposing party's train barreling head on, and obliterating the hard won political victories that faction finds comforting.

Less sublimely put, the contest between President Barack Obama and Gov., Mitt Romney has brought out much fear and loathing on both sides.

I have an opinion on why the mutual resentment is so severe.

When Obama took office he promised to be "post partisan," to rise above the rancor and work "with" the Republicans. Then came the full court Democratic Party press for the Affordable Care Act, contemptuously christened "Obamacare" by its detractors.

To achieve victory on this major piece of legislation, Obama eventually discarded any notion of working across the aisle. For his plan to work, he said, the compromises the Republicans wanted, the horsetrading that normally accompanies legislation, would not do. His plan would not work unless certain things were left untouched, and other things were not added or subtracted. Whatever compromises he was willing to make, he had made with himself.

The legislation, after much intra-party horsetrading (apparently political favors and riders within ones' party were OK), was passed without a single Republican vote; and by using the conciliation, or nuclear, option gambit a shameful first was achieved - major social legislation passed by a parliamentary trick, bypassing the usual U.S. Senate requirement of 60 senators assenting to debate the issue.

The Republicans have never forgiven this.

The bottom rail on top elation, if you will, of the Democrats was well earned. They felt they had suffered through eight years of disaster with President George W. Bush.

The world, and the Democratic Party, had understood our response to the attack of Sept. 11, 2001, when we went after Afghanistan. It was just. But then came Iraq, and Bush's self fulfilling proclamations of another imminent danger.

The war hawks had their way as we made preemptive war, striking without having first been struck. The weapons of mass destruction turned out to be as illusory as the neo-cons consideration of the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion.

Bush was vilified, and the seeds of party hostility stoked by Democrats, appalled at what they now thought a ruse.

No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, but our two parties, Republican and Democrat, have in the real weapons absence, hurled megatons of vitriol upon each other ever since.

When will the madness stop?

David L. Jenkins


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