TATBO. “Throw All The Bums Out”. It’s an old political dictum, resurrected periodically by taxpayers so fatigued and frustrated by the insufferable behavior of their elected representatives that the concept of a total purge of government officeholders seems preferable to retaining the existing crop of gridlockers and partisan rot.
As a voter who selects my candidates based on their demonstrated principals and values, I am so incensed with the current gaggle of partisan nitwits in Washington, DC that I want a giant septic truck to pull up and suck the entire contents of the legislative and executive branches up and flush them away wherever such effluent normally belongs. Then I want that truck to park in front of the Supreme Court with the engine idling as a warning. Enough is enough.
This President has shown himself to be so intractable in his love affair with himself and his precious agenda that he is unofficially on the record as ordering various federal departments to selectively implement the government shutdown to whatever aspects of their mission would cause the ‘”maximum pain” to the American taxpayer. He wanted this to hurt. He wanted voters so damned mad that they’d jam whatever Capital phone lines were still open with caterwauling at their representatives to cave to the President’s whimsy, just to have their services, paychecks, or programs restored. He is a Chicago politician by trade, after all. His brand of politics would make Huey Long blush.
On the other side of the problem is the Republicans, who chose a bad tactic to try and forestall at least a portion of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, an oxymoron if there ever was one. I believe there are other options available to Boehner and Company that don’t involve handing the President a tool he can use to hurt them.
Voters need a mechanism by which we can apply the same actual pressures on our government that it imposes on us. Government is going to shut down pay to the military? Fine, no pay for you. Going to close parks and recreational sites to the taxpayers who fund them? Fine, your office is closed and your staff furloughed until further notice.
The President wants us taxpayers to hurt enough to complain to our representatives? Okay big shot, ALL your vacations, tee times and junkets are canceled per your employer (We The People) until you start doing the job you were hired to do. Wait until your wife starts nagging you about that one, Jack. You’ll be begging us to restore your privileges just to make that racket stop. Speaking of which, the “People’s” White House is now evicting its current tenant for failure to perform contractual obligations, and will be rented to someone more suitable. Maybe Tony Rezko can set you up somewhere else, Barry, but you can’t stay here anymore. You violated the terms of your lease.
The idea that lawmakers are special people not subject to the same laws, penalties and consequences of their decisions that they foist upon the rest of us is a de facto return to the old English oligarchy we fought to emancipate ourselves from. It was a bad idea then and a worse one now.
I for one favor a Constitutional amendment requiring that every law passed must first fully apply to those who approved it, before it takes effect for the rest of us. No exceptions. Along with this we need a mechanism by which such a lever of power can be implemented without government oversight … call it a Flush Lever if you will, since much of the legislation (and legislators) it applies to should be sent swirling down the nearest sewer.
We need a better means to keep our elected officials accountable than 4- and 6-year election cycles. Too much damage can be done in that timeframe, if we don’t have a brake pedal. This is particularly true when the entrenchment of each political party means that the choices we have in the next go-round are going to be predetermined by the same machinery we are trying to dispose of now.
The two political parties need to hear this message, loud and clear; get busy fixing things now, or you won’t be around much longer. We are all sick and damned tired of the way things are, and the seething and boiling you seem to enjoy fomenting among angry voters is very soon going to scald you badly.
Our politicians need to get the message, as Howard Beale said it in the classic Sidney Lumet film Network; “We’re as mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”
Image: Author: Anneli Salo; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license