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Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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Capitol Hill Road Rage

By on February 12, 2014 in See It Here, The Way I See It, Writing

Just in the event you’ve been on the planet Pluto recently—oh wait, Pluto is no longer a planet (it’ a “Kuiper Belt Object”), negotiations between Democrats, Republicans and the White House have failed resulting in the shutdown of the government. The Cliff Notes version is Republicans don’t like Obamacare despite the fact it’s passed both houses, signed by the President and has been ruled legal by the Supreme Court, so they added its defunding, then delaying and now denying government being in business to a budget bill. In case you’ve been on a Kuiper Belt Object, Congress is supposed to pass a budget.

The antics (and antagonism) we’ve watched is going to be taught in future political science classes in high school on How Not To Do Things. One really has to try to act this way. Now, a lot of people are critical of Congress and the events of shutting down the government have taken opinions of House and Senate members lower than that of mosquitos.

Republicans like to quote Ronald Reagan a lot so here’s one they may have missed:

I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: ‘I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.

President Reagan used to have drinks with House Speaker Tip O’Neill a few times a month where they discussed policy positions—-President Obama hasn’t done this with House Speaker John Boehner. I’m not suggesting this will solve every problem but the beginning of every conversation has to include a willingness to set pinions to the side for a moment and learn where the other side is coming from. Usually, there’s a solution in the middle.

So how does this get resolved?

Children are given a timeout (yeah, that transition is there for a reason). Step back and look at the big picture. The White House needs to tell Republicans it’s time to do their job and pass a budget without links to Obamacare or whatever the Complaint of the Day happens to be. Once done, the White House should offer to make some changes to Obamacare. This is something adults do; see a problem and fix the problem. Make a statement in the White House briefing room that The Affordable Care Act (“ACA” in Washington-speak) that there are 6 Democrats ready to have a conference committee with 6 Republicans who are concerned about the ACA. The burden shifts to Republicans to accept that offer. Americans will applaud it. And you know what? Congress will rise above mosquitos.

Making speeches rarely gets anything done but stir emotion and there are times when that’s needed. Talking, however, is what gets results and that’s what’s needed now.

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