The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

June 16, 2014

Our polarized democracy

“Congressional Democrats were ecstatic,” The New York Times reported the morning after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s unexpected trouncing in his Republican primary. “An informal dinner party at the Georgetown apartment of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, turned into a celebration.”

On one level, this reaction is entirely understandable. Cantor’s political shape-shifting and overweening ambition earned him few friends in either party. His cynical willingness to torpedo deals worked out between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner made him particularly noxious to Democrats.

And, politics being politics, knocking off the other side’s majority leader is, inevitably, going to be a feel-good moment -- especially when the other side was only too happy to gloat about booting you out of the majority.

Yet on another level, the episode offers a disturbing commentary about the poisonous, polarized state of American politics. Democrats seized on Cantor’s loss as an opportunity to paint Republicans as increasingly loony and intransigent: “A major victory for the tea party as they yet again pull the Republican Party further to the radical right,” Pelosi said in an election-night statement.

New York Democrat Steve Israel, head of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, predicted Republicans running “further to the far right, with the tea party striking fear into the heart of every Republican on the ballot and cementing the dysfunction that has paralyzed this Congress and prevented them from taking any action to help middle-class families.”

Well, yippee! Let’s all celebrate cementing dysfunction.

The theory here is that voters will be increasingly fed up and that Democrats may wrest some advantage from this development in swing districts. The dreary reality is that such seats are few and far between. The real-life consequence of Cantor’s loss will be to further diminish the already slim prospects for serious legislating, not only dooming immigration reform, at least in the short term, but raising the prospect of dangerous showdowns on the budget and debt ceiling.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Holly Youngquist Friends of the Library book sale is underway

    Friends of the Library Book Sale is open now. The sale is open to all until 8 p.m. today and on Friday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, Saturday, Aug. 2, is box day. From 9 a.m. to  3 p.m., books will sell at $3 per box.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cremation service helped pet owner in her time of need

    I wanted to share some positive news about a business located in Clinton that I’m guessing most residents aren’t aware even exists. It’s Northridge Pet Cremation on Main Avenue and for me they were recently a godsend.

    July 31, 2014

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A Cappella choir concert was a success

    The CHS A Cappella reunion was great. It was real great to hear so many good voices of so many former choir members.

    July 31, 2014

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time to boost social security

    It's time for Congress to act so that Social Security benefits can finally start to keep pace with the cost of living.

    July 31, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Off and on the record Let us now praise anonymous sources.The new White House press secretary got into a familiar old spat with the White House press corps the other day over the use of anonymous sources.Josh Earnest — has there ever been a more perfectly named White Hous

    July 25, 2014

  • Be more informed

    Blame the city.That is a favorite pastime of many, including me at times. Driving over that pesky pothole or paying that annual property tax bill can lead to some choice words referencing the city. Nobody takes the brunt of being the scapegoat more t

    July 25, 2014

  • CCC thanks community, collaborators for successful movie night Clinton Community College would like to thank those who participated in the free outdoor movie showing of “Captain America – Winter Soldier” on the evening of Friday, July 18.We are grateful to have such wonderful community collaborators in the Erick

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook