Jewish World Review Jan. 12, 2011 / 5 Shevat, 5771
For the 112th Time: New Congress, Same Challenges
By Paul Greenberg
It's the way every new
Change places, allemande right, do-si-do and off we go. Or maybe just march in place to much ado. If this change proves only ceremonial, the other party may soon enough get to call the next dance.
The American people have humbled us. They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is. They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them. That includes this gavel.
The new Speaker's fellow Republicans in the ever-changing House would do well to remember their leader's words. The other party forgot caution and, intoxicated by its sweeping victories at the polls over the past few years, must have thought the Millennium had arrived. It learned better last November.
After the congressional elections of 2006 and the coming of the messiah with the presidential landslide of 2008, Democrats may have believed all that guff about a Permanent Democratic Majority -- much as giddy Republicans believed
The taste of victory can be so intoxicating it leads straight to defeat. The Greeks had a word for it: hubris. And it's as present in every new
It's so sad it's almost funny, but mainly it's cautionary to re-read all those assurances Democrats were handing out as ObamaCare was whisked through the last
But the more Americans find out about ObamaCare, the less we seem to like it. By now even the administration is backing away from it, or at least from the stealth regulation about end-of-life/death consultations that one of its bureaucrats tried to put over ever so quietly.
For now it is the Republicans who are riding high, which means they're heading for a fall if they think all they have to do is oppose an increasingly unpopular president. If it's the duty of the opposition party to oppose, and it is, it is only the beginning of duty. For a party to be successful, it must also propose.
In this, the centennial of
What is it the
The same principle applies across the board. Isn't it time to fix the problem of illegal immigration rather than just fight it, and so wind up doing nothing and pleasing nobody? Why must a system that leads to eventual, earned citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and their children have to wait till the country's broken borders are finally fixed? Aren't Americans capable of doing more than one thing at a time? Of course we are -- but only if given leaders who can envision, not just gripe. Leaders who can pass laws and not just repeal them.
You name the challenges that our leaders have long ignored -- undisciplined spending, a tendency to temporize abroad rather than confront the most serious and increasingly nuclear-armed dangers, a short-changed and over-stressed military, free-trade agreements that have been allowed to languish forever ... and there are none that a people recalled to its dream cannot face -- and overcome.
Some of us remember the malaise that faced
Does the new Republican majority in the House have that kind of courage and, at least as important, that kind of vision? The John Boehners and Eric Cantors and Mitch McConnells of the party are known for being political mechanics, and their skills are not to be dismissed. But to put this country back to work, and back in touch with itself, that mythic self
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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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