I spent this past weekend through Monday in D.C. and had the pleasure of hearing from several different political staffers leading up to a few meetings on the Hill about the issues of healthcare in our country. Although all the speakers I heard from were interesting, one in particular made some good points about why our government has been a mess lately and I thought I would share them.
Rodney Whitlock, the health policy director for Senator Chuck Grassley very plainly told us on Monday morning that we had no one to blame but ourselves for the mess and political gridlock in Washington right now. Although there were a few glares from the group at that statement, after he explained his reasoning I had to agree with him. The way he put it, politicians have been elected with a different charge in the last two elections and those two directives from the voters have created two immovable groups of politicians in Washington. In 2008, the voters said “Bush is bad. We want hope and change.” and voted in a group of politicians they felt reflected that. In 2010, the voters said “No, no, not that hope and change. That’s bad. We want you to go up there and stop this.” and voted in a group of politicians that they felt would do just that. So what did we end up with? The 2008 group and the 2010 group being in direct opposition to each other while both groups try not to be the pre-2008 group.
I hadn’t thought of it in those relatively simple terms before, but I think he was pretty much spot on. The voters have been sending mixed signals to Washington in the last two elections and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there isn’t much bipartisanship going on right now considering the platforms we elected these people on. Unless we send a clear message in 2012 of “We’re tired of this nonsense, we want some results now.” there’s no reason to expect this to change, either.