Thursday, April 18, 2013

Liars, Frauds, And Failure

Between the ricin letters scare, the massively muddled message about a Boston bombing suspect, and all the other media madness on Wednesday - and before the fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, Texas -  there were also two very important bills working their way through two different legislative bodies that both failed to reach the next level.

One bill failed in Washington, DC. The other failed in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sadly, the reasons for failure in both cases weren't magic or voodoo. In fact, it might have been easier if that was why they both failed.

In Washington, the Senate voted on seven of nine pieces of gun safety legislation, before Senator Harry Reid pulled the bill off the Senate calendar for the foreseeable future. In five of the seven votes, the majority of Senators voted for gun safety legislation actions like the Manchin-Toomey background check amendment. They also were in favor of the bipartisan federal gun trafficking amendment, and the concealed carry expansion amendment. All seven votes technically ended in failure thanks to both the arcane rules of the Senate, and the decisions of the gutless Sen. Reid, who never reformed the Senate filibuster, as he'd pledged and promised to do before the 2013 Senate session. That 46 Senators can give a crushing defeat to ideas supported by 90% of America is maddening, frustrating, and ridiculous.

If it sounds like we were mad about the votes in the Senate, our anger is nothing compared to that of some of the Newtown parents, who watched this cowardly display of political selfishness and fear from the Senate gallery. Some of those affected by gun violence even yelled "Shame on you" at the Senators, before being escorted out of the gallery. President Obama was as angry as we've ever seen him, in a post-vote speech from the White House, when he condemned the Senate's actions as a "shameful day for Washington."

Back in Nebraska, common sense didn't fare any better.

After two long, heated days of debate in the Nebraska Legislature - 10 hours and 20 minutes, total - the bill to expand Medicaid services for Nebraskans as part of the Affordable Care Act was tabled and removed from the legislature's agenda. Just like in the U.S. Senate, while supporters of the Nebraska bill had a solid majority in the Unicameral, they could not override a filibuster driven by Republican Governor Dave Heineman.

The stupidity, ignorance, fear, partisanship, and lies needed to thwart fiscally and socially responsible legislation in both Lincoln and DC on Wednesday is worse than shameful. It is an indictment of our entire political system in America.

While President Obama was only speaking about the failure in DC Wednesday afternoon, his words rang true for both examples of legislative incompetence.

"I've heard some say that blocking this step would be a victory.  And my question is, a victory for who?  A victory for what?" he said. "Victory for not doing something that… the vast majority of your constituents wanted to get done? It begs the question, who are we here to represent?"

That is exactly the question we hope EVERY American asks themselves as they evaluate these craven, selfish legislators in 2014 and 2016.  We can guarantee that we'll be reminding the voters before each of those elections that legislators in both Nebraska and Washington were too beholden to the lobbyists, and too worried about their own jobs to properly represent the people who elected them.

No crystal ball will be needed to see the professional and personal losses coming for those who refused to do anything but prove their own ethical ineptitude.