Friday, May 20, 2005

Reinventing Government, Son Of

It was either Mark Twain or Will Rogers who made a comment about Congressmen that had their hands in the pockets of the public. If they didn’t, they should have. It would sound more authentic coming from them than me.

Now that an irritated Democratic minority has managed to slow or stop all activity in the U. S. Senate while earnestly claiming that they are not doing so, the public can relax and take a breather, safe in the knowledge that the Senate can do no harm until the two disparate sides get together once more. From the looks of things it appears that Senators’ hands will be out of our pockets for some time to come.

It was over a hundred years ago that the House gave up its filibustering ways despite dire predictions of looming disaster. The public has been waiting and hoping for some time but the House has managed to survive anyway. And while waiting for imminent collapse, the House managed to produce an income tax and increase it on a regular basis. But perhaps the change in House rules has had a delayed topsy-turvy effect on the American public.

Seldom have voters seen a more Conservative group than the Democrats. They do not want to change a Senate rule, they do not want to alter Social Security, and they want to keep taxes at a high level. In the meantime, the Republicans, Conservatives in name only, are after many changes in Government, including the end of filibusters for judicial nominations, private accounts for Social Security, and lower taxes. There is every indication that the Republicans are planning even more changes the Democrats will resist. It is a very confusing political world, difficult for the average citizen to keep score in. But there is hope.

Since former Vice President Al Gore “reinvented Government” several years ago, one would think that these differences would have been subsumed into a system of mutual accord in which political lambs and lions could lie down together and the lambs would get lots of sleep. Yet, some eight years after the Reinvention of Government (ROG), the Senate is coming to a standstill and surely all of Government will slow with it.

There is no doubt about it. The time has come to reinvent the reinvention of Government (RROG). Mr. Gore doesn’t seem to busy these days, so perhaps he would be free to tackle the job. Some enterprising government employee will probably call the task “Son of ROG,” and we voters can rest easy, knowing an expert is on the job. (We might not rest as easily as we would when the Senate is not functioning, but we can’t expect perfection from government all the time.)

On the other hand, it is possible that RROG will obtain the same reverence that President Ford got with his WIN “Whip Inflation Now” campaign. Some voters are cynics, despite all that a sincere Congress has done to convince them otherwise.

Where are Mark Twain and Will Rogers when we need them?

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