Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Forecast For The Future

As much of America continues to suffer through this year's roller coaster winter weather, even the patience of Nebraskans like those on our staff has been tested. As Zachary Goldfarb noted in the Washington Post, the weather this winter has been so intense that it's even put a temporary freeze on the U.S. economy.

Still, conditions will soon thaw out across America, and then the weather, business, and politics will all heat up once again.

Right now, though, the governing forecast is for a continued drought in actual legislation on the federal level, with occasional political storms at the state and local levels. In contrast, the political forecast is for Republican extremists to continue to cause pointless storms that create lots of noise and hype, but do almost nothing to generate favorable growing conditions actual policy solutions to problems Americans face every day.

In other words, America's political and governing forecast for 2014 looks an awful lot like its recent weather forecasts: All over the map, with pockets of extremism, and no logical pattern. It's a mess that might drive any normal person insane.

Take what's going on in Arizona right now. We can't think of a better example of a pointless political storm.

The Grand Canyon State is engulfed in a huge media tempest over a proposed law that's already passed both houses of the Arizona state legislature. The incredibly bad bill would institute virtual Jim Crow-style segregation by allowing any business or government organization in Arizona to refuse service to any member of the LGBT community. Since the proposed law has been exposed in the media, growing numbers of Arizona lawmakers have been backpedaling away from the proposal at high speed. If passed, the law could even derail the plans to hold the Super Bowl in Arizona next year, which would be a huge hit to that state's economy.

It should come as no surprise to any experienced political storm chaser that the political squall in Arizona was caused by right-wing extremists, most of whom consider themselves Tea Partiers. Across the country right now, GOP extremists just like those in Arizona are taking aim at more traditional and moderate Republicans as the 2014 primary season begins.

Sadly, most of the Republican extremists we're seeing are people who have no real intention of governing — they're effectively false fronts, propped up by yet another wave of cowardly right-wing billionaires, filled with hot air but no real substance, too gutless to actually run for office themselves.

Of course, there are already smaller, more localized disturbances. Laura Bassett of the Huffington Post pointed out one, a misogynist rant from a Virginia state Republican senator who insisted pregnant women are 'just a host' instead of 'mothers.'

Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal created another disturbance Monday, when - just after meeting with the President and other governors - tromped out to the driveway of the White House and thundered about President Obama to the media. That incredibly stupid political move not only broke protocol, but was a perfect display of how disrespectful modern Republicans are of the very office of the President.

It also likely did nothing to engender the kind of political goodwill that could have helped those in Jindal's state who could have used a boost from a positive relationship between their governor and the President.

So as we mentioned above, the forecast for 2014 looks to be filled with lots of pointless little political storms, with continued drought on governing and policy issues. That could always change though.

As we say in Nebraska, if you don't like the weather right now, wait a bit. Other weather you also won't like will be here shortly to replace the current stuff.

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