×

McCain sums up problems in DC

In the end, Republicans have no one to blame other than themselves.

For years they have complained about the Affordable Care Act, about how they would repeal it once assuming control of leadership. Yet when in the position to do so, they flopped in the halls of Congress like fish out of water. Over these past several months first House members, then senators have proven they were ill prepared and lacked conviction when it came to health care reform.

After much wrangling the House eventually did come around, but it wasn’t easy. But all that came to a stunning halt Thursday night as the Senate failed to repeal what has generally come to be known as “Obamacare.” It is beyond me how GOP leaders could allow that to happen by not having a viable alternative ready to introduce in its place. How can all those years pass without a new health care package prepared and ready?

In what could be the quirkiest year yet in national politics, Thursday’s vote was but yet another circus sideshow act in Washington.

The trouble is, the sideshow is growing old and while it still might play in D.C., it sure as heck won’t have a chance in Peoria or anywhere else outside the Beltway.

In the midst of everything this week was one senator, John McCain, who had the spotlight constantly shining on him.

By week’s end some would praise him as a hero while others would like to tar and feather him as a traitor.

I care less what label you want to brandish him with. I choose to think of him as the orator, the purist, the historian of the Senate. During this week in a speech on the Senate floor he gave an honest and accurate assessment of the current political gridlock. Because of its insight I believe it deserves sharing with readers this morning.

Because the speech is long, I will share only snippets of it. The full text can be accessed from a number of sources on the Internet.

“Our responsibilities are important, vitally important, to the continued success of our Republic. And our arcane rules and customs are deliberately intended to require broad cooperation to function well at all. The most revered members of this institution accepted the necessity of compromise in order to make incremental progress on solving America’s problems and to defend her from her adversaries.”

“Our deliberations today — not just our debates, but the exercise of all our responsibilities — authorizing government policies, appropriating the funds to implement them, exercising our advice and consent role — are often lively and interesting. They can be sincere and principled. But they are more partisan, more tribal more of the time than any other time I remember. Our deliberations can still be important and useful, but I think we’d all agree they haven’t been overburdened by greatness lately. And right now they aren’t producing much for the American people.”

“I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us. Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.”

“Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order. We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle. That’s an approach that’s been employed by both sides, mandating legislation from the top down, without any support from the other side, with all the parliamentary maneuvers that requires. We’re getting nothing done.”

“What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions? We’re not getting much done apart. The times when I was involved even in a modest way with working out a bipartisan response to a national problem or threat are the proudest moments of my career, and by far the most satisfying.”

“The success of the Senate is important to the continued success of America. This country — this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, restless, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, good and magnificent country — needs us to help it thrive. That responsibility is more important than any of our personal interests or political affiliations.”

Love him or hate him, McCain called out his colleagues and urged them to start working together across party lines in bipartisanship fashion.

Imagine that.

Bill Speer can be reached via email at bspeer@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13.