We’ll Get Through This…

In Civility, Congressional Politics, Florida Politics, Political Parties, Presidential Races on March 31, 2016 at 10:14 am

We all get confused sometime.  Especially when we are frustrated to the point we are willing to grab any solution just to fix the problem.  Such is where we find ourselves today.

The news this morning had the usual stack of items that indicate there is trouble in river city.  One was a release from some Tea Party group warning that a number of U.S. Senators were wavering on hearing the nomination to replace Justice Scalia.  Turncoats they shout.  Another was about the CD2  candidate forum in Panama City where all four tripped over themselves to prove they were not like those guys currently in office.  I could go on, there were plenty of such stories.

I get it.  Conservatives are angry after 7 years of Obama and his executive privelege governing.  They are rightfully angry with Congress for allowing our national debt to hit stratospheric numbers.  They have been frightened by the constant drumbeat of fear mongers warning of Muslims, Mexicans, gays, Bruce Jenner, etc.  Twenty-four hour cable news and the Internet have made it impossible to think of anything else.

Conservatives are beginning to believe what the Tea Party folks have been preaching: the only way to fix it is to break it.  Shut down the government, ignore constitutional direction, whatever it takes to stop the insanity.

Ironic, don’t you think?  Most political watchers and predictors were ready to hand over the Presidency to the Republicans this year.  The nation gets weary after eight years of any administration and the bench for the Ds was not very strong.  So, by 2017 the Rs would have control of everything…clear to lay a conservative path to the future.    Not so fast.

Zero tolerance for compromise.  Just say no.  Our way or the highway.  Some of our own Rs have actually reached across the aisle.  Kick ’em out!

Then along comes Mr. Trump.  A voice to all the frustration, even if it is a little on the crude side.  He won’t put up with all this foolishness.  Why, he will close the borders, build a wall, patrol the neighborhoods, and he has a good brain.

Break it indeed.  How many times have we heard that democracy is not perfect but it’s the best in the history of the world.  Messy.  Frustrating.

Congress…any legislative body…is designed to create a governing body that represents all its citizens.  Left, middle, right, apathetic.  It is designed to debate the issues in public with the hope of finding common ground.  While you would not think it by listening to the roar, most of the time it works.  When it does not…compromise must serve the people.  Not perfect for anyone but better than it was.  The debate will continue…

So, what do we do in the meantime?  A lot of listening wouldn’t hurt.  All frustration has truth within it.  Listen, probe, share.  The media could help if it would drop the reality show fascination.  Forums, town halls, bringing diverse groups together.  We produce our best when we understand each other.  Blacks, whites, Christians, Muslims, citizens, immigrants….even Republicans and Democrats.

We can get through this.  We just have to remember who we are.  A nation of diversity.




To Frack or Not to Frack….

In Energy Policy, Florida Politics, Local Government on March 29, 2016 at 12:59 pm

The 2016 Florida legislative session is over, the veto period is coming to an end, and the winners and losers are still with us….singing praises or crying foul.  Those who did not accomplish their objectives are laying the groundwork for the 2017 session by writing opinion pieces and reloading their contribution coffers.

One that has my attention is the fracking issue.  While I lobbied in the Florida capitol for over twenty years for the retail side of the oil and gas business, the exploration side was never a concern for me.  Although I must say that I have always been concerned about Florida’s coastline and water supply.  And offfshore drilling was not something I thought was good for Florida’s primary economic driver…tourism.

Today I was amused by an op Ed in the Tallahassee Democrat in which the writer lamented the failure of the fracking bill, calling it a regulatory bill that would protect Florida citizens and environment.  Well…sort of.

The real purpose of the bill was to preempt cities and counties from preventing fracking in their home communities.  The fracking folks knew that they could more easily get want they wanted through the state legislature than fight their way through 67 counties….who mostly are opposed to fracking.

It seems to me that we are gambling with our golden goose.  Over 100 million visitors come to Florida each year because of our image as a great place for families to vacation.  Our pristine beaches, our family oriented theme parks, our nature reserves and parks.  This economic engine is what allows us to keep our taxes low and our opportunities high.

We hear about how fracking has made it possible for the United States to lower its dependence on foreign oil and provide jobs in States where it is allowed.  Both really good outcomes.  So, all those States that do not have our golden goose are looking for one.  I wish them well, but I worry that fracking and its chemical intrusion into the earth could do more harm than good.

So, we already have what every State desires, let them gamble for theirs.  Not here.

Somebody Explain How to Fix This…

In Civility, Florida Politics, Political Parties, Presidential Politics on March 17, 2016 at 10:27 am

During this Presidential primary process I have watched with amusement, disbelief, frustration and now great sadness. It’s been two days now since the Florida vote and while not unexpected due to the constant polling information…I was still stunned by the raw numbers.

Over one million Florida Republicans voted for Trump. I could understand several hundred thousand trying to make a point or perhaps there are that many extreme right wingers in the mix…but one million?

As a gentlemen of age, I have watched the many faces of Trump over the decades with a shake of the head response. As my old comrade John Rogers used to say about those who took credit for their inheritance: he woke up on third base and thought he hit a triple.

But actually the tragedy of this is that it is not about Trump. It is about those one million plus registered Republicans who are so disenchanted with the political class that they rejected them all and chose a celebrity. An arrogant, buffoon celebrity at that.

Even in my little county of Walton, Republicans voted three to one against the second place candidate. Trump, a billionaire (he says, but hasn’t proven) elitist (that he has proven)…in a rural county. Go figure.

My tickets to the Walton County GOP Lincoln Dinner will go unused. I am not sure I could get through the evening without burning my voter registration card to hide the fact that I am a registered Republican. There needs to be a sanity test…

So…what’s next? A presidential election pitting a crazy man against an untrustworthy woman. What a choice we have.

Well, there is plenty of blame to go around. Starting with the obstructionist tea parties, the Obamaman trying to rule by executive order, extraordinarily poor campaign management, impatient citizens too shortsighted to clean the lake not drain it, the media for giving the celebrity untold unearned media attention, and probably most important a party system that has come full circle to George Washington’s greatest fears.

So…we have all had a hand in this mess and now we need to clean it up. Heaven help us find a way.