Chaos, Dysfunction, Frustration

Bill Neinast

Three familiar words describe Washington, D.C., today.  They are:

Chaotic, which is defined as being in a state of complete confusion and disorder.

Dysfunctional, which is an abnormality or impairment in the function of a specified bodily organ or system.

Frustration, a feeling of being upset or annoyed, particularly because of an inability to change or achieve something.

The frustration with the dysfunction and chaos in Washington today is palpable. The best evidence of that unhappiness is the poll numbers of that buffoon Donald Trump.

No one knows how he will do the things he says he will do.  He is taken at his words that “I, Donald Trump, will do such and such.”

His popularity is due in large part to his outside status.  Voters believe that a new cadre, one not in lock step with the current dysfunction, is needed.

That dysfunction, however, has two bases.  One is the White House.  The other is Congress.

Congressional Republicans are in complete disarray.  The “firing” of John Boehner as Speaker of the House and the difficulty in finding a replacement are due to the refusal to compromise on anything by the hard liners making up the Freedom Caucus.

This refusal to compromise is also reflected by the White House.  If there are meetings between congressional leaders and President Obama in efforts to  reach a consensus, the get togethers do not make the news.

For an illustration of how such meetings might work, study the relationship between Democrat Speaker of the House “Tip” O’Neill and Republican President Ronald Reagan.   They lunched together at least once a month and O’Neill was one of the first at Reagan’s bed ide when he was shot.

An even better example is the relationship between Republican Texas Governor George W. Bush and Democrat Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock.  That was such a close, friendly working relation that Bullock planned to second Bush’s nomination for President at the Republican National Convention.

Bullock died before the convention, but his wife, Jan, fulfilled her husband’s desire.


Here are just two paragraphs from Jan’s address:

“Before the legislature met, George, Bob and House Speaker Pete Laney got together at the first of many strategy breakfasts. George was a consensus builder in those meetings to pursue goals such as needed changes in tort reform, education, and juvenile justice.

“Those weekly breakfasts formed the foundation of a working relationship that produced two of the most harmonious legislative sessions in history.”

So a government split between two political parties has worked in harmony at both the state and national levels.  Why not now?

A possible answer may be that there is no longer a two party system.  Today, at least three parties occupy the House of Representatives. 

There are the old line Democrats and Republicans and the new take no prisoners Tea Party/Freedom Caucus. 

Members in this new, third party were elected from within the Republican ranks.  When they moved to Washington, however, their colors changed like toes of a robust chameleon.  They now call real Republicans RINOS, or Republican in Name Only.

In reality, however, the real RINOs are the members of Tea Party/Freedom Caucus.  They should step up and take a new name.  The Highway Party might be a good choice, because with them, it is our way or the highway.

As mentioned earlier, the problem is two-sided.  Currently, the White House is as intransigent as the Congress.

Unfortunately, it appears that if either of the current front runners in the Democrat and Republican parties is elected President, there will be even less compromise.

So here’s the prospective.

Texas might have a cure for the dysfunction in Washington.  Amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget every year and limiting the number of days Congress can be in session each year might provide the grease needed for the wheels.

Prohibiting the maintenance of even office staffs in Washington when Congress is not in session would force House members to live back home among their constituents.  This is what was intended by the drafters of the Constitution.

There is also an added benefit.  Scattering members of Congress among the 50 states of six months each year would make it more difficult for lobbyists to woo a number of Congressmen daily.

What’s the chance for such a change?  About the same as getting a bill through both houses of Congress and the White House today.     


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