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Straight Up

Bob Richardson

I have said before that Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert are the worst Congressional leaders in my lifetime. I reiterate that and lament Republican performance generally in Washington, D.C.

Certainly poor leadership is problematic, but even a modicum of principle and integrity in the rest of the Republican gang on The Hill could overcome that, but alas, there is none.

It was downright amusing (at the time) to watch Slick Willy roll both Gingrich and Bob Livingston out of the Speaker of the House position. They were run off because of marital infidelity! What a hoot. Impeachment, of course, was never about marital infidelity, but the Republicans were stupid enough to let the liberal Washington press corps successfully bury the only two Republican leaders worth their salt. It is just too bad that the entire populace has to now pay such a heavy price.

That brilliant intrigue puts Hastert at 3rd choice, and is performing considerably worse than that. Trent Lott is a wimp by any standard and was no match for Slick – nobody was ever even close – but even Daschle, a less than stellar talent to be sure, manipulates Lott to the point of embarrassment.

These two men will be soon forgotten when they leave Washington, D.C. (before they even make it to Dulles International Airport) but the damage to federal policy and the conservative agenda will not.

It is critical to understand the importance of effective conservative influence in Congress which is so necessary to counterbalance the liberal influence there – which is lethal given the constant leftist drum-roll from the media.

The Republicans and the White House have dropped the ball big time and their performance borders on outright deceit. We know and understand the liberal agenda, but have been led to believe over the years that the Republican agenda is quite opposite resulting in something approaching reasonable fiscal policy. Reasonable by Washington, D.C., standards, that is. No longer is that the case, and it is infuriating.

What we have been watching is a “guns and butter” juggernaut from which will result a staggering tax increase. Dubya’s flag-waving is getting old and is already way beyond just unreasonably expensive. I wish he’d wave the flag with both hands so he wouldn’t have one free to sign the outrageous spending measures.

And I speak not just of the War on Terror. The domestic debacles such as the education bill and farm bill are beyond my comprehension even in an election year. There are those who would say it doesn’t take much to get beyond my comprehension, but they are reading this! And don’t get me started on the absurdity of the two new Jobs Programs called Transportation “Security” and Homeland “Security.” The devil doesn’t really make me put “security” in quotes. These folks have earned them.

And worse in many ways is the Patriot Act which is an astounding piece of legislation even from this Congress. And (un)worthy of a separate column. And so is the Campaign “Reform” Act.

I am wondering if any Republican in the country can in good conscience campaign on a limited government, individual rights, low tax, etc., platform. I can’t imagine any of us buying it any longer. The fact of Republican default is bad enough, but it is the hypocrisy and pretense that is so galling.

Will Rogers once said something to the effect, “It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you, it is what you know that just ain’t so that does.” Did he have Republican voters in mind, do you think?

It is all indicative of the low echelon of society that is drawn to politics. I know that is heresy in political circles, but it evidences itself every single day. Clearly the best among us are not drawn to politics in the first place, or having been, leave as soon as they recognize the reality of the shallow, selfish deceit of it all. We have long since lost any semblance of statesmanship. We all know it and accept it. What does that say about our society and future prospects for this country?

Hey, I’d be saying the same things even if I were a Republican. These days I’m particularly glad I don’t have to look anybody in the eye and say that I are one.

To old Republican cohorts may I suggest that you direct your ire at Congressional Republicans (and the White House) rather than at me. I still speak out of just one side of my mouth.

Glenwood Springs resident Bob Richardson’s column runs every other Friday in the Post Independent.


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