Flailing Chickens

Bill Neinast


Not long ago, chickens were scratching, clucking, and crowing in the back yards of homes in small towns.  They were being raised for food; eggs for breakfast, friend drum sticks for lunch, and roasted breasts for dinner.

Those were the days of self-sufficiency.  Chicken parts ready for the frying or roasting pans were not laying in wait at the corner store.

If chicken was on the day’s menu, the yard became a slaughter house.  The man of the house, or more frequently, the  mother hen (excuse the pun) became the butcher.  The prize cheeks was grabbed by its legs, its head laid on a chopping block, and a swift chop with a sharp hatchet severed the hapless bird’s head.  

The headless body was then dropped back on the ground where it shuffled and fluttered until most of the blood was pumped out through the severed arteries and the body became limp.  

And that is a gruesomely vivid history of the phrase, “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”

Today, every time the TV cameras pan to Washington. D.C., images of headless chickens become the back drop.  Both the Republicans and Democrats up there are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Democrats are fluttering around asking what happened?  The Russians are coming. The Russians are here talking to our officials.   The Russians stole the election.  Donald Trump is an illegitimate President. If Republicans want it, it has to be bad.  GOP stands for “Get Old People.”

The Republicans are no better.  They are flopping around with “Hey we are in the majority.”  What in the world is that?  What do we do with it now?  Compromise?  What’s that?

Who came up with that old canard that 3/4 of a loaf of bread is better than none?  Why should a majority settle for less than a full loaf?

With so many in both parties running around like chickens with their heads cut off, it is hard at to guess which party will be first to expel enough blood to become lifeless.

At this point, Democrats may hold the lead in controlling its thrashing body.  Notwithstanding the way their socialist wing led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth  Warren, the Democrats in both the House of Representatives and Senate are voting as a block against any Trump or Republican proposal.

Compare that with the Freedom Caucus in the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.  Members of that group appear tone deaf unconcerned about the future of the Republican party.  They also seem to be oblivious to all the consequences of a simple repeal of a 2,000 page law that has been in effect for six years.

The Freedom Caucus’ current mantra is that, “We promised our voters that we would repeal Obama Care and nothing short of an immediate total repeal of that law will satisfy us or them.  If that stand it means we will lose control of Congress next year, so be it.”

How sad.  That observation is based on two years experience in the federal legislation field.

One of the most difficult tasks of my two years in the Legislation Branch of The Judge Advocate General’s Office was determining all the consequences of proposed legislation.  Among the questions are what existing laws will be impacted and what are all the possible contingencies covered by the proposal.

The most difficult assignments of all was to draft legislation  authorizing the sale of the Army’s Alaskan Railway System.  (In the early days of the state of Alaska, the Army posts were scattered way out in the wilderness without any type of ground transportation, so the Army built railroads to connect the posts with civilization.)

The proposed legislation was only five or six pages long, but the list of what other legislation had to be considered for conflicts or incompatibility was much longer.

In my opinion, trying to cover all the consequences of repealing a 2.000 page law in one swell swoop is impossible.  Going slowly with a three step approach as proposed by President Trump and Paul Ryan is a much saner approach. 

So here’s the perspective.

Had the Freedom Caucus taken this approach to the proposed three stage repealing and replacing of Obama Care, they may have emerged not looking like chickens with their heads cut off. 


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