Written by John Leonard
Recently I read where former Bush advisor Karl Rove faced the possibility he could be charged with contempt of Congress. A moment of panic passed through my mind as I thought "Seriously...that's really a crime?" Guilty as charged.
I wondered if I could plead nolo contendere and claim first offender status, aware of the old saying "Ignorance of the law is no excuse". As Steve Allen used to say, all seriousness aside - I have nothing but contempt of Congress.
My panic was assuaged when I found the crime only applies when Congress has called a person to testify and gets what is deemed less than full cooperation. Trust me when I say it won't be any problem for me whatsoever to tell Congress what I think of them. In fact, it was their actions late Saturday night that have inspired me to prepare the following press release...
Today I am announcing my campaign for POTUS, a.k.a. The President Of The United States. I was born in Savannah, Georgia to two natural born citizens over thirty five years ago and therefore satisfy the only legal requirements established by the Constitution. Any objections to my candidacy will surely revolve around my lack of political experience in governing but I trust my fellow Americans will feel the same way I do and perceive that to be an asset regarding my decision making, not a liability.
I will be running as an independent American, not a Republican and certainly not a Democrat. Do not misunderstand that phrasing to imply I don't think any good Democrats exist, but any in Washington are surely endangered species. My observations regarding the performance of both our previous and current Presidents has led me to conclude the job as it stands is too much for any one man. The only logical conclusion one can draw from that realization is to downsize the job by reducing the size and scope of the federal government.
The timing of this announcement coincides with the passage by the Senate of an abomination of a bill posing as health care reform, down purely divided party line with no semblance of "bipartisanship". The bill has little to do with health care and only reforms the tax code. It is a massive power grab by irresponsible politicians to gain control over roughly twenty percent of the nation's economy.
It is laughable to think health care reform is a pressing need in light of the true difficulties facing our nation these days. In fact, I laugh every time I hear the suggestion that people are dying because they lack health insurance. And all this time I thought people were dying from diseases or a serious illness. Little did I know that this comprehensive health care reform legislation would actually prevent death.
Those who would argue that we should trust our government more hasn't paid attention to its track record or seen the performance of some of our most prominent politicians in the country. If you believe what Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey said to Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Channel, he doesn't understand the difference between income tax rates and capital gains rates. That or he didn't want to participate in a public debate on national television where he was caught in a massive lie whether or not the new administration was raising taxes and breaking a campaign promise in doing so. He either feigned ignorance or he really is too dumb to be a U.S. Senator.
He's not the only one. Our unemployment rate is over ten percent, the housing industry, car manufacturers, banks and the American public as a whole struggles for its very survival, and Senator Orrin Hatch is worried about how the college football BCS rankings are determined. He wants to waste government time and funds investigating irrelevant nonsense such as this and might even propose legislation intended to help decide who will play for the national championship in football next year. Rome is burning, and Nero is hunting for his fiddle.
An industry said by Forbes magazine to average a profit margin of less than three percent of total revenues has been demonized and blamed for the costs of health care, when the truth is bloated government bureaucracy and unfunded mandates by federal overseers of spending by state and local governments are largely responsible for problems with the health care industry. The party in power is heavily influenced by its core constituency of trial lawyers vehemently opposed to tort reform, which is vitally important to reduce costs of medical insurance. This fact only further illustrates the true intent behind the bill, which is to transfer money from "haves" to "have nots".
The problem with that approach is no consideration is given why the "have nots" don't have enough according to the standards of others. Certainly a percentage of them are attributable to circumstances beyond the individual's control, but poor decision making regarding personal choice cannot be denied as the reason for the majority.
Years ago in high school (when they still taught useful information instead of political correctness) I saw a movie called Give 'Em Hell, Harry starring James Whitmore as the legendary Democrat President Harry S. Truman. He famously had a placard prominently displayed on his desk that said - The Buck Stops Here.
At the time I thought it meant responsibility began and ended with the President in terms of foreign policy and ultimate responsibility ended there. I interpreted the phrase to assert that using atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were his decision to make alone. Likewise it was for him, not popular General Douglas MacArthur, to decide whether our forces would pursue the Chinese Communists in North Korea beyond the 48th parallel.
I may not have agreed with every decision Truman made, but I would be affording myself the luxury of second guessing POTUS well after the fact. I am not privy to all the intelligence he took into consideration making those decisions and I'm blessed with the hindsight of how history unfolded. Both when I saw the movie and today, it struck me that Truman deserves our admiration and respect for how he handled very difficult times.
But today it struck me the phrase is a double-entendre with the dual meaning just described as well as the literal interpretation of the phrase. At the desk of the President, the confiscation of our tax "bucks" stops when the Commander in Chief exercises the power of his veto pen. Your tax dollars will not pass by me easily.
As a President unaffiliated with either political party, I shall be free to exercise the power of the pen with relish and gusto. Space and time constraints prevent me from issuing my platform at this time, plus I need more time to create a platform. You can be sure of one thing - it will have little, if anything in common with the desires of the professional politicians in Washington.
The great economist Walter Williams has said the Bill of Rights was too long - only the first five words are necessary - "Congress shall make no law". Smart man. I think I'll nominate him Secretary of the Treasury.