Columns 2017

Both parties need to retire

Has it occurred to anyone else that both the Democrats and the Republicans have become the parties of dysfunction? Is it perhaps time to retire them both to the dustbin of history and start anew?

Look at the Dems. They lost the election and since then have pretty much been curled up in a whimpering ball of shaking goo. If Hillary had won and then it became public knowledge that her win had been at least partly assisted by the Kremlin, the Republicans would not be curled up and quivering. They would have fourteen special committees investigating it. They would have her impeached before she took the oath of office and then demanded that she be tried for treason. We’d be hearing screams from Republicans of collusion with the enemy. Hillary would be vilified as un-American, a person not worthy of being sworn in to lead our country. This would be especially true if she continued to defend Putin even after our intelligence agencies all agreed on what happened. My god, the Republicans would have her blood running in the streets over her betrayal of her country.

But what has the Dems response been? Well, maybe their timidity has had a bit more of a self-righteous aspect to it.

But it didn’t happen to a Republican. It happened to a Democrat. And suddenly the Republicans, except for a select few like Senator McCain, have decided that treason is not so bad after all if that’s what it takes to get a puppet into office that will sign any half-baked bill sent to him. And the Dems remain curled up, afraid to yell treason and demand the release of campaign emails to make sure there was no collusion.

And that brings us to the biggest dysfunction of the Republicans. For years they have focused pretty much on one cause and one cause only – repealing the Affordable Care Act. They claimed to be prepared to replace it with a better plan. Only it turns out they don’t have one. In all their years of bitching, they apparently forgot to actually come up with a replacement plan. Oops.

The ACA has a lot of problems, not least of which is the premium cost that some people have to pay. On the other hand, it has some very good parts, like the fact that you can’t be refuse coverage for a pre-existing condition or that you’re allowed to cover your millennial when he or she moves home because they can’t find a job. So no one is saying it doesn’t need to be tweaked and adjusted. But given the amount of time the Republicans have spent trying to repeal it, you’d think at least one brain in the group would have suggested having a replacement plan ready to go.

I have personally had it with both parties. I never really believed in a third party in the past, thinking it would always just be a spoiler in a two-way race. But now I’m thinking that both major parties are creaking with old age and acting like grumpy old men who want those darn kids to stay off their lawn. If they continue along the path they’ve illuminated, we may never have a full Supreme Court again. We may never see any legislation coming out of DC that actually works. We will only see two old men going tit for tat and swinging wildly at the air in front of them as they blame each other for all the ills of the world.

I think we need a new party, a party of the middle, a party that represents where most Americans live, and that is not on the fringe. Talk to moderate Republican and moderate Democrats and you come away with the feeling that they are a lot closer on a lot of issues than the hot air coming out of DC would indicate. They don’t hate each other; don’t think the other represents the devil incarnate; don’t think that compromise is a dirty word.

So here’s to the hope that a new party emerges in America between now and whenever the next election happens. We can call it the Moderate Party. Extremists on either end of the spectrum not welcome. Our symbol would be a yellow Lab. Friendly, noble, anxious to please, willing to compromise to move ahead and fun to have around. None of that can be said of our current political parties. Democrats – wimps. Republicans – two faced. America deserves better.