Written by Opinion Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:00 am
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To the editor:
John Boehner ought to pine for the good old days of earmarks and smoke-filled rooms where party bosses decide who runs for office. Uncompromising tea party ideologues without a clue, the bane of Republicans and in fact America, would no longer be nominated, hold sway, or threaten to bring down worldwide financial institutions by not paying our nation’s bills or raising our debt ceiling.
Not unlike the great economist Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the marketplace, the invisible hand of each congressperson bringing home the bacon for his or her district nourishes our economy, enhances our democratic middle class lifestyles; keeps our economic engine purring.
Today’s primary system tends to elect more extreme candidates for office primarily because a disproportionate number of primary voters have a more extreme agenda than the public at large. It should be noted that the Republican Party has been way more afflicted with this tendency than the Democratic Party over the past few decades.
Although boss politics and earmarks are far from perfect, and are at times tainted, our economic engine did function much better when pragmatic congresspersons held sway, provided industrial complexes in their districts with government contracts and made sure middle-class voters got decent jobs and were paid decent compensation.
Furthermore, wealth was not skewed toward the very top of our economic ladder like it is today. Wall Street did not trump Main Street. The stench emanating from corporate boardrooms today devising ways to increase profits by reducing compensation to or firing workers is a whole lot more rank than the smoke-filled rooms of a bygone era.
If Speaker of the House Boehner had his way, I suspect our nation would have backed away from any fiscal cliff months ago.
Our House speaker ought to do what it takes to bring moderate Republicans out of the closet. Perhaps a few smoke-filled trysts with others secretly pining for the good old days would strengthen their collective spine enough to confront the combative tea drinkers, read them the riot act, and marginalize them and their uncompromising radical agenda.
The long-term viability of today’s not-so-Grand Old Party is indeed at stake. It’s up to Boehner and kindred spirits to fix what is truly broken now. The sword of Damocles hangs over them by a thread.