THE VOICE OF REASON
Alienation

ANGRY AND ALIENATED 

If there are words to describe the relation of millions of Americans, including yours truly, to the political process in this country, the words are “angry” and “alienated.”  In November, 2013, the job approval rating of Congress stood at a contemptible nine percent. The President’s job approval rating, by the end of the year, slumped to a miserable forty-one percent, the ugliest at this point in a second term since Richard Nixon disgraced the office. Mr. Gallup informs us that, during the last quarter century, more voters than ever -- a whopping forty-two percent – now refuse to align themselves with any political party, but instead identify themselves as Independents. These are the not-surprising signs of anger and of alienation. Who would not be perturbed by the wasteland of America’s current political scene?  What responsible person would not be ashamed to call himself either a Democrat or a Republican? 

The former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on whose watch four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, were brutally murdered in Benghazi, rhetorically asked, “What difference does it make how they died?” Her words were callous, and were rendered all the more abhorrent by the failure of any political official at the time to take her to task for them.  Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has pinpointed a glaring deficit in her character, when he stated that he heard her casually admit to Barack Obama that she played politics with the Iraq War during her bid for the White House. This shamelessly opportunistic woman is nevertheless smiling today, no doubt rounding out her "enemies list" while preparing for her coronation as presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016. Her friends in the media are already trumpeting her “superior insight” and “depth of experience” in international politics. 

Ms. Clinton is not the only reprehensible character among the Democrats. There’s Joe Biden, the biggest political buffoon of the last 100 years.  There’s the small-minded and spiteful Harry Reid, whose conflicting statements concerning the “nuclear option” demonstrate his lack of honesty. Then, there is the waxen-faced, empty-headed Nancy Pelosi, who advised passage of the Affordable Care Act (which she’d obviously not read) in order to discover what was in it.  Let’s also not forget the patriarch of the party, Bill Clinton, the man who distinguished himself in public life as a cad rather than statesman, who lied to a federal grand jury and was disbarred from the practice of law. 

The Republicans clamoring for recognition are almost as loathsome as their Democratic counterparts. Chris Christie insists that he knew nothing about the real causes of traffic congestion on the George Washington Bridge. Whereas I’m far from suggesting that he not be given the benefit of the doubt about that, I’m still wondering how a problem of such magnitude could have escaped his attention. At some point during the four days of lane closures, it seems to me that, as governor, he would've recognized a dirty trick was being played. Credulity here is strained, nearly to the breaking point. 

Marco Rubio is an exciting, debonair young Cuban-American. Yet most Hispanics in this country will insist that he’s forgotten from whence he came.  This is often the refrain when a “minority” candidate with a conservative philosophy seeks high office. I use the term “conservative” loosely, because it’s not at all clear that Rubio won’t court leftists when it’s convenient for him to do so.  Immigration is a case in point. The fact is that this country does not need large numbers of additional immigrants, especially from south of the border. William A. Henry III, in an article for Time, entitled “Beyond the Melting Pot,” observed as early as 1990 that one in four Americans defined him- or herself as nonwhite, and that by the year 2056, the average U.S. resident will trace his or her descent to Africa, Asia, the Hispanic world, the Pacific Islands, Arabia – almost anywhere but Europe. Demographics don’t lie. But I can hear the consternation now regarding his observations, “What racism!”  In his defense, let me emphasize that race is hardly the issue; every race has a right to live and to thrive. The issue is whether traditional American culture, steeped as it is in the English language, the Christian religion, and European modes of thought, will be allowed to survive in the United States. Marco Rubio, I assure you, is oblivious to the significance of this issue. 

Sarah Palin doesn’t understand much of anything, except power. While struggling to articulate policy issues, she frequently falls back on tired clichés.  She’s as ill prepared for national political office as Joe Biden.  Listening to her attempting to address grave political questions can be downright embarrassing. Do you remember when Glenn Beck inquired about her favorite founding father, and she tentatively chose George Washington because it seemed she couldn’t think of another?  I frankly doubt that she has ever read the Federalist Papers,  knows who Adam Smith and F.A. Hayek are, or has the most rudimentary comprehension of constitutional law. 

Rand Paul has not yet been in the Senate a full term, but he too is posturing for the presidency. He’s an intelligent man, but remains an amateur in politics. He lacks charisma as well.  His libertarian philosophy, difficult to conceal, will be hard to sell in big cities to millions of people living off the public dole. I don’t think that Paul, if nominated, will fare much better than Barry Goldwater did in 1964. It’s not that he’s mistaken in most of what he says, but he’s out of step with the majority of the American populace. Even Ronald Reagan would be hard pressed to win the presidency in 2016.   

Ted Cruz has, if anything, proved that he thinks for himself. He’s taken a far different road from most of his colleagues. But his filibuster on Obamacare was an oratorical bridge to nowhere, and his colleagues blamed him for the government shutdown. Although his ruthless “Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy” approach to government makes headlines, he also appears irresponsible to many.  Those who are perceived as scoundrels may win a comfortable seat in the Senate (in fact, often do), but are rarely, if ever, viable candidates for the presidency. 

Of course, Republican officials, such as Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Boehner, are all Washington insiders, who leave little more than a jaded impression.  Like beleaguered clergy, they’ve overstayed their welcome, preaching nothing now but re-cycled sermons. These “leaders” need re-assignment, outside the perks of “public service.” Each has watched a lawless President running roughshod over the Constitution, lying and behaving in bad faith on both the domestic and international fronts, yet has not had the courage to suggest the constitutional remedy of impeachment. Why hasn’t there been a hue and cry among these men for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Fast and Furious, IRS, and Benghazi scandals? Might it be because they fear the political blow-back to the party and to themselves, and not necessarily in that order?  

I confess that it’s an enormous challenge for me to listen to the news these days, or to pay attention to any politician except perhaps Joe Wilson or Trey Gowdy. Yes, I'm angry and alienated. How much more destructive political nonsense, I wonder, will we suffer before Americans rise up and say "Enough!"?

January 16 , 2014