Dysfunctional politics come to the rescue
Are dysfunctional politics rooted in GOP extremism? I refer to the June 10 commentary by Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, who believe that the Republican Party is ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise and dismissive of the legitimacy of political opposition.
Maybe the problem is too much bipartisanship. Didn't Republicans and Democrats unite to pass the No Child Left Behind education reform bill that many people now oppose? What about the increase in spending from 2001 to 2009 that was a bipartisan effort? In 2002, the House of Representatives and the Senate voted overwhelmingly to authorize President George W. Bush to use force in Iraq. In the 111th Congress (2009-11), President Barack Obama and the Democrats had huge majorities in both houses and apparently squandered their legacy by passing and signing into law Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank (financial impairment) bill.
Maybe our politics is "dysfunctional" for a reason. It could be because of the 2010 mid-term elections, in which the people expressed their disapproval of the course our country was on.
Our Founding Fathers set up our government with checks and balances and separation of powers and elections every two years to make sure governmental decisions were based on careful deliberation so that heated passions of the moment would have time to cool down.
Too smart for two-way
I have always enjoyed being in Lexington as it is a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. I no longer live in Lexington but work and shop there and own real estate.
My office is in a small industrial park where some neighbors thought they could start a used car lot on the street, use the roads as a test strip for race cars while others park abandoned vehicles on the streets. It got to the point where it was unsafe to drive and I was afraid that a race car might lose control and smash into our offices. We have had employees' parked cars damaged in front of our building.
I called the police department and immediately officers interviewed me and started patrolling and ticketing offenders. Now there is plenty of room to park on the street and the racing has stopped.
As new traffic lights went up in the area I noticed some were not timed well. I called traffic engineering and an engineer changed the timing on a few lights and now they are perfect.
The modification to the interchange at New Circle and Harrodsburg roads with the double crossover was clever and works much better than the old-style interchange.
The only odd thing I see is the idea of reverting to two-way streets downtown. I can assure you the traffic downtown in the 1950s and 1960s was horrendous. Put an end to those silly discussions, Lexington, you are too smart.
If U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler promises to protect an industry, will he actually do it? Chandler has posed as champion of both agriculture and coal, yet has dealt them devastating blows,
In 2011, Chandler courted The Kentucky Farm Bureau: "You know what the soil means to me ... it would be the last thing I'd give up." He continued, "Folks from the farm community have to deal with a little group called the EPA, and they'll put a regulation or two on you that might cause you a little difficulty." Chandler then assured his audience of his ardor in fighting overreaching regulations.
What he failed to mention was his 2009 role as EPA "muscle" in denying water to farmers of California's fertile San Joaquin Valley. For 44 years, that farming community depended on irrigation. Citing environmental concerns, EPA bureaucrats shut down irrigation pumps, creating a dustbowl. Desperate farmers came to Washington, asking Congress to restore their water. Twice, Chandler joined the EPA and Nancy Pelosi in saying no, destroying American family farms.
Regarding coal: In 2008, before voting for cap and trade, Chandler enlisted environmentalist Congressman Norm Dicks, overseer of the Office of Surface Mining budget, to come to Kentucky. Accompanied by surface mining opponents, Chandler escorted Dicks on a flyover of mining country. Dicks returned to Washington, talking about "reining in" our coal industry.
Chandler delivers much pro-coal rhetoric these days. Learn the lesson of the California farmer. Ignore Chandler's words; watch carefully what he's doing behind your back.
This business of an unprecedented politically divided country isn't from the two sides having grown increasingly hostile to one another as a matter of regular course.
It's the result of the far left basically taking control of the Democratic Party on the national level, as evidenced by the string of unpopular social policies passed into law, while completely ignoring the economy, when Democrats had control of the White House and both houses of Congress in 2009 and 2010.
The appearance of increased division is really just the Republican Party holding ground, on behalf of the majority of Americans, against this partisan onslaught. The mainstream media has also played a major role in the illusion, on behalf of the Democrats.
This year we may elect a new president. Much of the angst that is part of that process will be the same upheaval of past elections, since the country began. We've had bitter rivalries and third party attempts, but it always comes down to two directional points of view.
These viewpoints have evolved over the centuries, as advances in technology, geo-politics and other areas beyond our control cause us to adapt to best position ourselves, but fundamentally the country always comes back to individual spirit and free will as guiding principles. Those qualities have allowed America to rise to its prominence and responsibility as a world leader.
Given the natural born common sense of the citizens of this great land, there's no doubt our country's course will once again be corrected.
I must say that it was refreshing to see that some brave folks removed the deeply offensive "Bluegrass Church" billboard from New Circle Road.
The thing I find most interesting in the Herald-Leader article on this subject was the reporter's interview with a member of this so-called church. This interview elicited the information that the church has no pastor, no building, and that its spokesman was very reticent to even state how many members it has.
In spite of this lack of evidence of being a bona fide church the organization spent $7,700 on one year's billboard rental for the New Circle Road sign and "the church has paid for four other billboard messages along Interstate 75 in Georgia." One might ask why a church in Georgetown, Ky., would spend several thousand dollars posting signs in Georgia?
So we have a group (or a person) spending thousands and thousands of dollars posting what is essentially hate speech on the public byways while, no doubt, enjoying tax-exempt status. All this reminds me a bit too much of the Westboro Baptist Church, which claims tax-exempt status while spreading their hateful rhetoric across the country.
It is also reminiscent of several conservative right-wing "think-tanks" or "institutes" that, upon closer examination, prove to be nothing more than one disaffected individual and his computer screen.