Making Sausage

| October 02, 2013

It's unlikely that German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck actually made the famous observation that, "laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." It's a good quote, though, and if he didn't say it, someone would have--if not in Germany, then definitely in regards to Congress.

As BW headed to press Sept. 30, we were counting down the hours until the United States government would be shut down on Republicans' opposition to health care reform.

For all the rhetoric--including 21 hours of uninterrupted bloviation by Tea Party maven and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz--the "shutdown showdown" is a hostage situation. Republicans have tried to kill Obamacare since it was in the cradle and, despite losing more than two dozen attempts to stop it, it is law. Failing to overturn it on its merits, they're trying to strangle it with the federal purse strings--refusing to vote on key budget measures unless Obamacare is dismembered. In the process, they threaten federal workers and the economy as a whole.

This kind of politics could be called "making sausage" if sausage making required an air strike and a wood chipper.

Regardless of what happens at midnight on Oct. 1, we've reached another low in American politics--stable countries don't shut down their governments over legislative squabbles, and a party that would intentionally force such a failure obviously cares more about achieving its own ends than anything so high-minded as representative democracy.

This kind of reckless political self-interest would have been unthinkable to an earlier generation of leaders--certainly to public servants like Pete T. Cenarrusa, who served in Idaho government for more than 50 years and passed away at age 95 on Sept. 29. Though a Republican, Cenarrusa worked with late-Democratic U.S. Sen. Frank Church on issues related to the Basque population in Spain and supported the candidacy of Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, also a Democrat.

As secretary of state, he served the law rather than his party--particularly in the case of the Sunshine Initiative, a measure that voters put on the ballot in 1974 to require campaign finance disclosure. Of course, the Republican-majority Legislature was vehemently opposed, but that didn't matter to Cenarrusa. As he often pointed out, he worked for the people.

In today's GOP, Cenarrusa may well have been branded a traitor. Politics might be the art of the possible, to borrow an authentic phrase from Bismarck, but, sadly, it's not likely that today's politics would make a Cenarrusa possible.

--Zach Hagadone

Comments (3)

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That's a fine editorial, Mr. Hagadone. Except... are you laying the impasse totally on the GOP? I thought you were the "alternative" source of news... that sounds pretty MSM.

Is Obamacare ready? Why do so many special interest groups, large corporations, etc., get an exemption, while the unwashed masses are being pushed into it, like it or not? (And polls consistently indicate that the majority of citizens don't want it, at least in its current condition. Probably because they're all ignorant, and should trust Harry Reid and Dear Leader to do what's right, huh?)

Please don't single out the Republicans when you start your condemnations of "reckless political self-interest"! There's plenty on both sides of the aisle.

On the second day of the "shutdown" (and so far no meltdown), I tend to agree with Jay Leno... my big fear is that it will start up again!

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Posted by bikeboy on 10/02/2013 at 8:44 AM

Hey Biker Boy, just because a government function does not provide immediate gratification to you on a personal basis does not mean it is without merit. Obamacare will provide health insurance to millions. It is the greatest thing to happen to America since Medicare. I know you could care less, so why don't you opt out so you can personally pay your medical bills when someone clips you from behind while pedaling down the road? Or would you prefer that the citizens picked up the bill via the county indigent fund?

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Posted by boisentv on 10/05/2013 at 6:55 PM

Congrats, the gov now records all your phone records, email content, txt messages, has the ability to tap into cameras around the country, knows where and how you make a living, knows what you drive, what you own, who you converse with, who you associate with, and now.... will have access to all of you health records. As shown by the NSA leaks they need very little probable cause or even a warrant (the secrete courts is a joke) to access the information on a whim. They are keeping dibs on everything you do, so dont get out of line or disagree with them.

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Posted by Boise on 10/10/2013 at 9:31 AM
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