I'm not surprised that the Democrats and Republicans have all but sealed a deal designed to prevent our fall over the never-ending fiscal cliff drama. I was hoping that I wouldn't find pictures of smiling politicians slapping each other on the back giving high fives in the Capitol, but it's beginning to look that way: this is an excuse for success in Washington DC these days. The fact is whatever "deal" our faulty Congress comes up with is just another example of how dysfunctional our elected officials have become. The fact that every important consideration has to come down to the last minute exemplifies how polarized and simply screwed-up Washington has become. Most baby boomers like myself have seen Washington politics for the past five or so decades, and would have to admit, this is as bad as its ever been.
I do put the blame mostly on the now right-wing Republican Party. I also put some blame on Democrats who also need to be ready to provide some revision of entitlements. That will happen because it has to. Like most other important legislation coming out of Washington, it too will most likely come at the last minute. I do hold the Republican Party more responsible because ever since they allowed the Tea Party types to take control of their "organization", they've tilted extremely right and took on the typical attributes of the zany right like protecting the ultra rich on taxes, and saying no to any sane gun control legislation. They are determined to extinguish any elements of moderation in their Party which leads to the inability to legitimately compromise on the issues that count. When Senators like Richard Lugar are deemed to be not conservative enough, you know the wheels have come off any logic-minded capability with those who now control the House of Representatives. Because so many Republican governors gerrymandered their state's congressional districts, the extreme right representation elected in those districts is usually guaranteed of reelection, provided they stick to the strict litmus test of no new taxes, gun control and being anti-abortion.
The only way to defeat this infestation of lunacy is the general elections where more people tend to vote and are slowly coming to their senses. This process of ridding government is slow, and it will take time, and maybe even generational changes to defeat the morons like Allen West of Florida or Todd Aiken of Missouri. When the national spotlight is focused on these people, and the crazies in those far right districts, maybe it can help expose the freaks and shame enough voters into getting their collective heads together. Of course, this process will not be of much help in states like Texas where too many neanderthals breed more like themselves, and continue the shallow process of electing deep thinkers like their governor, Rick Perry.
The problem with such dysfunction in government is that it keeps reenforcing the notion that we cannot come together even on the most basic of issues like a reasonable tax code (which needs total revision) or continual events like the debt ceiling which will be coming up fairly soon, again. The functioning of business in America needs some continuity. Business needs to know that in the coming year what their taxes will be, or funding of such programs like renewable energy will continue so those in particular industries like defense know exactly what they can count on when it comes to hiring or creating a budget for the coming year. This is all so elementary and has never been so laborious until the Republican Party flew to the coop and became a party of kooks. Government can't just keep grinding to a halt every time major decisions come to the floor.
America simply has too much on its plate to continue operating like this. We have, in essence, fallen over a cliff into some sort of permanent state of dysfunction. Unless we can get back to something resembling sanity, we will face a future of unknown consequences based on our inability to pass even the most basic legislation. America has always been a "work in progress" sort of nation, but this excuse of governing is not working. It would be better if the Tea Party split and became a viable third political party, and the Republicans were "allowed" to return as a more moderate place for legitimate conservatives to practice politics. They should seriously consider this because the on-going demographic changes may determine their current status as not worthy of their votes.