by Les Weaver
Clash Daily Contributor
Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (December 9, 1912 – January 5, 1994) was an American politician and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. O’Neill was an outspoken liberal Democrat and influential member of the House of Representatives, serving for 34 years representing the northern portion of Boston, Massachusetts. He served as Speaker of the House from 1977 until his retirement in 1987, making him the only Speaker to serve for five complete consecutive Congresses, and the third longest-serving Speaker in U.S. history.
The phrase “All politics is local” is credited to Tip but in fact was first used by Washington AP bureau chief, Byron Price in 1932. Tip O’Neill first used the term in 1935, when he entered politics but he deserves the credit for keeping this truism phrase alive.
Tip was an “old time”, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. He knew how to “reach across the aisle” and did so throughout his political life. He strongly argued issues but did not prioritize promoting, nor practice the personal destruction of anyone that held a different opinion. But that was before entered the “Progressive Movement” to replace that honorable Old Time Democratic Party.
To fight fire with fire, (an un-acceptable excuse) the Old Time Republican Party has reciprocated in kind. It seems the agenda of both major political parties is dirty politics. The norm for all political parties has become the personal destruction of opponents and dividing the citizens to include physical battle. Respectful debate are words from a past history and now our Republic seems hell-bent to become a Totalitarian Banana Republic.
Here I insert that my wife and I are best described as “political mongrels”; part Constitutionalist, Libertarian, Conservative and a dash of Tea Party. When marking a sometimes confusing ballot, we attempt to cast our ballot for the lesser of the evils generally offered. We reside in a dark blue city, (Springfield), in a dark blue county, (Lane), in a dark blue state, (Oregon). We have been vandalized and I believe as the result of our political writings and views.
As many of you know, for the past two years I have been privileged to be a guest contributor of opinions published on the conservative web site ClashDaily/Doug Giles. My opinions range from VERY neutral to the right. (I do NOT accept that complaining to an “in lock step, Extreme Progressive Democrat as being a right wing nut job”.) My wife and I have begun to grow emotional abject loathing for many Politicians of both major parties and are not hesitant to express same. (This though she is terrified of most government).
My two Senators (Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR 4th) are all “experienced”, Progressive Democrat politicians. Their response to my writings has ranged from silence through responding on unrelated subjects, to total spin, up to and definable as pure Bovine Excrement. But there was one exception. Weeks ago, a Merkley staffer telephoned me at my home to intimidate (surely not done without Merkley’s pre-approval). Intimidation didn’t work and we terminated the conversation agreeing that we didn’t like each other. I have continued to express my opinion as is my God given, (not government granted) right and will continue to do so.
Including the three above, too many of today’s elected officials cannot admit to error. Whether Shrimp treadmills, Obama-Care, Bridges to nowhere or overpriced and subsidized “Green Energy”, their solution to failure is: “For success, we need more money and more staff to manage it”. All the while they neither hear the citizens nor heed the growing anger as they continue to enrich their egos and the pocketbooks of they and their friends. (The exposure of the Clinton Crime Family Syndicate will confirm this).
Whoa! To my surprise, I may have met a rare, thought to be extinct, “old time Democrat” down here at the local level. Yes, he labels himself as a “Progressive” Democrat but he just may be the “ugly duckling” in this pond of mostly disguised, self-described swans that are in fact political vultures. His name is Pete Sorenson and is again running for a seat as a County Commissioner. He may be politically endangered only because he has expressed an aura of uniting; the exact opposite of dividing expressed by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Janet Napolitano, Clinton and so many other Progressives. To them I remain an un-American deplorable.
For my purposes, I will not address Pete’s political views but rather his character. Very recently I have questioned my property taxes, (#63 of my ClashDaily opinions). Although I am not in Pete’s voting district, he replied with interest and cordial acknowledgement. I do not even imply that Pete either agreed with me or not. Only Pete, from Senators, Representative, other County Commissioners, (our district Commissioner having a Republican history) or City Hall did not so much as acknowledge that we exist, let alone that we have expressed a complaint worthy of reading.
It is truly stunning to find a modern day politician that can acknowledge that there are non-campaign contributors that also are not voting constituents but nevertheless merit an ear. Although we have agreed that we may be generally polarized opposite on many issues, Pete has made his ear available and gives me hope that even, (as Obama phrases) a “smidgen” of his positive character will rub off on other politicians he may meet with. But I fear that because he alone acknowledged us, he may fall victim to an old farm adage: “If you run with skunks, you’ll soon smell like one”.
Tip was right to a point. Whether politics are local or not, both are just as important to the average citizen. Pete, though we may disagree; please continue in the mold of Tip O’Neill. Serve all the people with dignity and respect. You are a rarity and as the saying goes; “With all this horse S**T, there has to be a pony somewhere. You may be that pony.
Differ though we may; thank you.
Les Weaver: Born into abject poverty in 1934, he spent his teen years on farms as a foster child and was classified as a farm laborer when he joined the Navy in 1952. After that service, he had a short stint at a University but moved on to 35 years associated with the engineering and technical sciences in Aero-Space, retiring from two Aerospace giants in senior positions and a small business. Until retirement, his writing experience was limited to technical occupational reports. His wife is a German immigrant, now a proud American and together they enjoy gardening. Les takes breaks from gardening to express himself to the politicians by phone, email and now thru ClashDaily/DougGiles.