“If (re-election) means more to you than your country,” he said, “when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we’re in extremity, then you shouldn’t even be in Congress.”
That was former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson crying out for some “good ‘ol common sense” in Washington, particularly from his former Republican colleagues.
“Common sense…seems to escape members of our party,” he said.
Don’t misunderstand. Simpson is as much against Obamacare – the root of the current constipation in Washington these days – as the next Republican.
“It can’t work, because all you have to do is use common sense” he said, pointing to the costs to sustain it.
But, he’s not willing to mulishly decimate America over that one issue. The unwillingness of leaders to find common sense compromises on the budget and the debt ceiling galls Simpson. As does their willingness to put the economic well-being of citizens at risk as they posture for re-election.
“If you want to be in politics you learn to compromise,” he said. “Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rocks for brains.”
Common sense, not rock-brain posturing, helped the United States to its extraordinary position as world’s shining example of functional democracy.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “Democracy in America,” volume one, in 1835, hailing Americans’ “strength and common sense.”
President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 linked American common sense and politics saying, “I do not believe that any political campaign justifies the declaration of a moratorium on ordinary common sense.”
Simpson was a friend and colleague of the late Sonny Montgomery. He, Sonny, and the late Senator John Stennis exemplified patriotic leaders willing to use common sense and put America first, ahead politics and self-interest.
Today, allies wonder if our democratic republic will ever function properly again. Enemies see us as vulnerable and growing weaker. An extended government shutdown plus a government default over the debt ceiling would cause more harm to America than anything dreamed of by Iran, Al-Qaeda, or Karl Marx.
And, it would be self-inflicted ruin.
In 1814 former president John Adams warned, “There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
Speaking of rock-brain Republicans, did you see the story published in CQ Roll Call about the Tea Party darling state senator considering a primary challenge to Senator Thad Cochran? When asked about such a challenge, little known Chris McDaniel of Ellisville said, “We are keeping all of our options open because we want to do the right thing for the conservative movement.”
The right thing “for the conservative movement,” he said, not “for America” or even “for Mississippi.”
Shall we now pledge allegiance to the conservative movement?
Pray for less nonsense and more common sense patriotism.
Bill Crawford (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.