Eugene Robinson, who can be counted on to almost always hit the nail on the head and to articulate what others in the Op-Ed business refuse to, does it again with a column in yesterday’s Washington Post:
The nation demands the impossible: quick, painless solutions to long-term, structural problems. While they’re running for office, politicians of both parties encourage this kind of magical thinking. When they get into office, they’re forced to try to explain that things aren’t quite so simple — that restructuring our economy, renewing the nation’s increasingly rickety infrastructure, reforming an unsustainable system of entitlements, redefining America’s position in the world and all the other massive challenges that face the country are going to require years of effort. But the American people don’t want to hear any of this. They want somebody to make it all better. Now.
These folks are the ones being channeled into empty, meaningless empty protests by the corporate-funded Tea Party movements and the onerous Glenn Beck.
As Robinson notes, the tendency of politicians to sell faux quick fixes and shy away from actually doing something that might require some hard work and sacrifice from Americans has created a populace of spoiled children who want something for nothing.
Earlier today, I wrote that this pandering (and lack of action on the part of Democrats) could lead to major Democratic losses in Congress and governor offices throughout the country.
That said, politicians are only doing what the populace demands:
Fixing Social Security for future generations, working steadily to improve the schools, charting a reasonable path on immigration — none of this is what the American people want to hear. They’re in the market for quick and easy solutions that won’t hurt a bit. It’s easy to blame politicians for selling a bunch of snake oil. But the truth is that all they’re doing is offering what the public wants to buy.
I had a Facebook discussion today in which I explained my concern over the crumbling infrastructure in this country. Roads, bridges, sewer and water treatment and other projects that depend on tax dollars have been slowly coming apart.
The New York Times’ (and Nobel Prize-winning economist) Paul Krugman:
Meanwhile, a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel.
The voters have a choice. But Robinson’s right. They’re behaving like spoiled children.
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