Columns are available here.
Huge thanks for your indulgence over the past few years. Will return to this page when they have had enough of me.
Best ’til then,
Columns are available here.
Huge thanks for your indulgence over the past few years. Will return to this page when they have had enough of me.
Best ’til then,
I must have heard that line 500 times during the summer and autumn of 1994.
It was delivered by then freshman congresswoman Carolyn Maloney at every debate and Manhattan subway whistle stop in her first House re-election campaign, and it always drew applause.
I secretly hated it — as I clapped, obligatorily, each time she used it. I was working for Maloney’s challenger, a talented liberal Republican Council Member named Charles Millard, and the overuse of Maloney’s chromosome card, as we called it, seemed cheap. She expected — and received — credit just because of her gender, although I suppose we would have used it too if Millard had been baptised a Charlene instead of a Charlie.
I disliked Maloney’s smart mailpiece even more, the one later picked up by other campaigns, which featured a cover photo showing five sets of legs, four in charcoal gray suit trousers and one in a bright red skirt. It read something along the lines of, “Who would you trust to fight for women?” Pure genius.
Since that time, Congresswoman Maloney has enjoyed a good run; she’s built a career positioning herself as a clarion female voice in a cacophony of Washington baritones. In 2008, she penned a book, Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting Any Easier—and How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters.
During the 2012 election season, Maloney became a short-lived YouTube sensation by ridiculing an all-male House panel gathered to discuss birth control by demanding to know, “Where are the women? When I look at this panel, I don’t see one single woman representing the tens of millions of women across the country…”, she said.
It’s all the more disappointing, then, that Congresswoman Maloney has remained silent when her feminist voice is most needed in New York. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should be forced to step down after repeatedly protecting male colleagues who sexually assaulted junior female staff members, but Maloney’s conviction seems to peter out when it’s the bad actions of a political colleague she needs to address. Maloney even joined a standing ovation for Silver at a Democratic National Convention breakfast for New York delegates after the sex harrassment coverup story first broke.
Where are the women?, indeed.
Where is New York’s junior senator Kirsten Gillibrand? I somehow found myself on her email list and I get bombarded with notes from her all the time demanding proper treatment of women. But not a peep from her on Shelly Silver.
Just this month, On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Gillibrand blasted sexual harassment and assaults in the military: “What we have here is a crisis,” she said. “This is a cultural problem from top to bottom.”
Is the senator sure she wasn’t referring to Albany?
State Senator Liz Kruger from Manhattan, a respected feminist in her own right, attended a news conference in Albany Monday to criticize Senate leaders for not voting on a women’s bill that, among other things, would supposedly stop sexual harassment “in all workplaces,” presumably including the state legislature.
When given the opportunity by reporters at the news conference to join the call for Silver’s resignation, she balked, too. That’s up to the members of the Assembly she said, which is exactly the talking point feminist groups have been sticking to. And what of those members, particularly female democrats in the Assembly? All but one have apparently caught Spring laryngitis.
The Maloneys, Gillibrands and Kruegers of the world have an extraordinary opportunity right now to show bravery — and to prove that their years of feminist remonstrances have been genuine, not electioneering stunts. But if they continue to do nothing, they will be causing irreparable harm to a cause they have long purported to lead.
It’s gut check time.
January 25, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY /
Daniel Boone was asked, near the end of his life, if he had ever been lost in his travels.
“No, I can’t say I was ever lost,” the American frontiersman replied, “but I was bewildered once for three days.”
Good ol’ Daniel Boone kept things in perspective.
It’s good to see thatRepublican National Committee chairmanReince Priebus has similar sensibilities. He’s admitted to some bewilderment from the 2012 elections, but never to being lost. And with that firm mindset, the former Wisconsin attorney is convening the 168-member RNC in Charlotte, N.C., this week to discuss a rebranding of their party.
It’s been a long time coming. The Party of Lincoln — a party steeped in the notion of equal rights under the law and the transcendence of the individual over the collective — has become a party of exclusionary “angry white men” in the eyes of millions. That’s an existential threat in a nation where “minority” births now outweigh white births and where 51 percent of the population is female.
Priebus has tapped some sharp minds — Henry Barbour, Sally Bradshaw, Ari Fleischer, Zori Fonalledas and Glenn McCall — to help him in his effort, which is now formally known as “The Growth and Opportunity Project.” The nation should wish them well, because we all benefit from a healthy two-party system.
Voter outreach technology will constitute the lion’s share of the discussion in Charlotte– the Democratic Party has a strong competitive edge in that category — but it’s the content of what is being delivered to those voters that matters most. And Republican messaging in the last few presidential cycles has been pretty stinky.
There are a lot smarter people than me meeting in Charlotte, but just for fun, here are a half dozen thoughts I am willing southward. One or two may actually be worth considering.
1. Speak the truth, regardless of political consideration.
Republicans need to be talking about things that ring true in people’s hearts, even if that means angering political allies.
Take business. Americans rightly feel shortchanged by the way a lot of companies are being run today. The GOP needs to acknowledge that.
Yes, Republicans believe in free markets and limited regulation, but that doesn’t mean they should be muzzled when usurious business practices are uncovered. Where in the Republican platform, for example, does it say its members need to defend 29-percent-plus interest rates on credit cards?
2. Seize the Reform Mantle
Republican candidates — all Republican candidates — should pledge to voluntarily limit the number of terms they will serve. Republicans should also pledge to abolish pensions for political office holders. That should reshuffle the deck.
3. Return to the party’s core convictions
The Republican Party was founded on the core premise of equal opportunity under the law (not equal outcomes, asPresident Barack Obama seems to believe.) That principle, which led to the abolishment of slavery, should logically extend to the right of gays and lesbians to marry under government contract. Religious institutions are free to maintain traditional views. At a minimum, the GOP should take a big tent approach on this issue.
On the abortion issue, too, the party should maintain a big tent. Libertarian pro-choicers should feel welcome in the party, and pro-lifers should be confident that science and ever-improving 3-D ultrasound technology will ultimately swell their ranks.
4. Double down against public employee union abuse
There is a clear structural imbalance between the salaries and benefit packages of public and private employees. Private-sector taxpayers are losing out in the exchange, and there are a lot more of them. Pounding away at this imbalance is a political winner.
5. Educate young voters
The generation coming of age today is being called “Generation Screwed” for good reason. The nation’s debt will hurt them more than anyone. Republicans should be speaking about this at every college campus in America.
6. Don’t panic
A half million or so votes in the right states would have put Mitt Romney in office.
This column originally appeared at Newsday.
January 22, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY
Barack Obama is feeling his mojo.
He’s never sounded more like himself than he did Monday; and he’s never looked more presidential.
It wasn’t the graying hair around his temples or the seasoned confidence of a president entering his second term, although those things helped. It was the words of his speech. They fit him like a Savile Row dinner jacket.
For liberals in this country that’s a wonderful thing. And I couldn’t help feeling happy for friends of that persuasion as I watched the president’s 20-minute address, held outside the Capitol Building on a cold, crisp Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Because this is the speech they’ve waited for — the one they’ve felt cheated out of — since two Kennedys and a King were felled by bullets two generations ago. This was progressivism on proud display, coming from a man with the power to deliver it.
This Barack Obama is believable, too. The one who remained silent on guns, opposed gay marriage and punted on the illegal immigration issue was phony. This Obama is better — for liberals, conservatives and everyone in between. We now have a president in the Oval Office with a clear and consistent vision, whether we like that vision or not.
But even as the president was planting the flag of progressivism on the Capitol steps, he was ensuring the rebound of conservatism in America.
It was made clear when he touched — ever so briefly — on reform of our entitlement programs, which are on a certain pathto bankruptcy. “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future,” he said.
In other words, don’t expect entitlement reform from me.
In that moment, Obama made it clear that tackling federal debt will not be a priority of his presidency; that mess will be left to successors. History may not forgive him for that.
If current spending estimates are correct, this president will double our national debt in eight short years, from $10 to $20 trillion. That debt — a quarter of which will be on the head of President George W. Bush – may critically hamper job growth and the economic competitiveness of this and future generations. It may also doom the very social safety net for which so many American liberals cheered yesterday.
Liberals in America almost realized this moment when they elected Bill Clinton to office. But then he “triangulated” (remember that word?), stealing the Republican‘s fiscal reform mantle right from under their feet. Where Obama is showing himself a dreamer, Clinton proved to be a clever pragmatist. Pressed by a Republican Congress, he took care of the economic business at hand and balanced a budget for the first time in years.
That became Clinton’s enduring legacy, and it swayed millions of socially liberal Republicans to enroll as Democrats, which they remain today. Clinton showed them that a Democrat could be fiscally responsible.
If Obama the Dreamer pursues the promises he made yesterday — while ignoring the fiscal realities of our time — he may fulfill many people’s dreams, including those of a lot of Republicans.
This column was originally published by Newsday.
January 18, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY
As a kid growing up in Manhattan, there was nothing I wanted more than a BB gun — the same one 9-year-old Ralphie pined for in “A Christmas Story”: The Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle — but I couldn’t get one. It wasn’t just the city’s gun laws I had to contend with. It was my father.
He’s a combat veteran — a decorated combat veteran — and there would be no guns in our home. It didn’t matter that a good half of the 45 cousins on my mother’s side lived in “the country” and had rifles, or that several aunts and uncles were accomplished hunters. Any gun I had would be limited to the cap variety.
My father fought in the 10th Mountain Division in Italy duringWorld War II, which suffered some of the highest casualty rates in the European theater. At 89, he’s the last survivor of his mortar company (85th Infantry, Company M), and after being wounded twice by Nazi artillery and seeing the horrors of what guns did to his friends and enemies in the Po Valley in winter and spring of 1945, he had seen enough of guns. (The last firearm my father handled was an Italian Beretta pistol stripped from a German officer. He traded it for something he could actually use as a returning junior at Notre Dame — a cashmere sports jacket that he still talks about.)
Shortly after moving out of the city in 2007, I heard words I never expected, and from the unlikeliest source — my wife. “I really think you should teach the girls how to shoot,” she said.
It didn’t have to be suggested twice. Within 24 hours, I found myself at a local gun shop looking up at an arsenal on a wall.
These were not the beautiful polished rifles I had seen hanging in the gun room of my grandparent’s house as a child. These looked like prop pieces for the filming of “Rambo, Part Nine.” I purchased two of the more modest rifles available.
If the gun shop was unsettling, the range was downright unnerving. The look of the weapons being fired there was menacing in the extreme. The vast majority, regardless of caliber, were modeled to look like military weapons. I felt embarrassed to be there. There is something deeply juvenileabout suburban men and women playing soldier.
None were fully automatic rifles, mind you. Civilians cannot own those in the United States; only law enforcement officers can. But these single-shot and semiautomatic weapons were made to look like people killers, not sportsmen rifles. And to me, there’s a big difference there.
The NRA correctly argues that changes being proposed to U.S.gun laws would be largely cosmetic. A rifle without a pistol grip or a flash suppressor is still a rifle, and two 10-shot ammunition clips pack as much firepower as a 20-round magazine, although the seconds it takes to swap out a clip could be lifesaving ones. I would argue, though, that cosmetic changes are exactly what is needed in U.S. gun culture.
Look at Bushmaster AR-15 sales following the Newtown massacre. That’s the weapon Adam Lanza used to slaughtertwo classrooms full of first graders. It sold out across America within days of the shooting.
There’s something deeply disturbing about that. Who on Earth would want to touch, much less own, the weapon that did that? And yet thousands of Americans apparently do.
That’s something that needs to be addressed.
I am a libertarian-leaning Republican. I get the arguments the gun lobby is making — the right to bear arms and the whole slippery slope argument. But I am my father’s son first, I suppose, and I just can’t understand American gun culture today.
Maybe it’s not new laws that we need. Maybe we all just need to grow up a little.
This column was originally published in Newsday.
January 15, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY
He is at times larger than life and at others embarrassingly small-minded.
He can console a nation when its children are gunned down, yet he is utterly careless when spending money belonging to the children who live on.
He can be lovable or deeply unlikable, depending on his mood.
On Monday, the president suggested that Republicans are “deadbeats” for wanting spending cuts commensurate with the amount of new borrowing they are being asked to rubber stamp.
“We are not a deadbeat nation,” the president sniffed. “And so there’s a very simple solution to this: Congress authorizes us to pay our bills.”
Republicans ”have two choices here,” continued the man who is spending the nation into bankruptcy. “They can act responsibly and pay America’s bills, or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.”
That ransom, presumably, would be reductions in the amount of money we are stealing from our children each and every day.
The audacity of those tea party Republicans!
One wonders if Obama ever meant what he said about changing the tone in Washington. The way he is acting now suggests he did not.
Nothing is more maddening about this president, though, than his propensity to evade responsibility on the fundamental issue of our times — the gargantuan federal debt — and then seek to humiliate those earnestly trying to address it.
Actually there is one thing — his evident glee in knowing that hisRepublican opponents will dash themselves against the rocks in an effort to slow the growth of spending. Indeed, how doRepublicans win a rhetorical battle when the president of the United States, with all the trappings of his office, is willing to say things like: “If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans benefits will be delayed” — as though there is no other option.
These are tactics unbecoming of a Chicago alderman, much less the POTUS. Obama would rather terrify 56 million Americans receiving Social Security benefits and retired U.S. military veterans than negotiate a single spending cut — at a time when we are borrowing about a third of what we spend.
That’s unconscionable, and beneath a man as blessed as this president.
President Obama has now made it clear that he intends to do nothing during his presidency about the debt, other than to double it from just over $10 trillion at the end of 2008 to just over $20 trillion in 2016, according to current estimates by theSenate Budget Committee minority.
And heaven help anyone in Washington who stands in the way of this president’s spending. Those poor unfortunates will feel the full weight of his office, if not the weight of the bills we are accumulating. It’s our kids who will feel those.
The president is bullying his way to a win with the debt ceilingvote, but he is diminishing his stature as a leader in the process.
This piece was originally published by Newsday.
January 11, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY
Indeed, Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address Wednesday was remarkable as much for its stridency as for its content.
Unfortunately, the whole thing was based on a lie.
“It’s her body; it’s her choice!,” he thundered three times consecutively — to a legislative body that legalized abortion three years before Roe v. Wade.
The governor anointed New York ”the progressive capital” of America. (Folks in San Francisco will surely have something to say about that). He promised a billion dollars in new spending on affordable housing and billions more in infrastructure improvements. Our subways will be floodproofed; our harbors storm-surge-proofed and our gas stations blackout-proofed. There will be casinos and tax-free zones to revitalize the upstate economy.
But nowhere in his speech did the governor mention the difficult but essential things that have to be done in order to save New York from its downward spiral. Not a word was spoken about the state mandates squeezing counties and local governments to death, or the exorbitant state pension costs gobbling up dollars that used to go to services.
He spoke about those things when he first came into office, but not on Tuesday.
In November, I wrote nice things about Cuomo here in Newsday, but warned that ambition might prove to be his Achilles’ heel. That has borne out faster than I feared.
“Standing between him and the nomination,” I wrote, “are public employee union leaders who can make or break Democratic presidential aspirants — the same union bosses who have been trying to stall the governor’s Albany reform agenda for the past two years. They have the money, troops and organizational ability to turn the tide in huge primary states like Florida, Illinois,Michigan, Nevada and California. They are no doubt reminding the governor’s political team of that daily.”
Those union leaders must have been top of mind when the governor and his handlers conspicuously omitted in his speech any mention of the fiscal reforms that he pledged to pursue just 24 months ago.
Here’s the rub: If pension and mandate reform isn’t delivered in New York, the very social safety net that New York Democratslove so much is going to be severely compromised going forward. It’s already happening, and that’s where the lie of Gov. Cuomo’s speech becomes apparent.
With each passing budget, school districts are feeling the squeeze of Cuomo’s 2 percent property tax cap, which was passed sans mandate relief. That means fewer school programs for struggling districts. Not-for-profits that relied on local government funding are being gutted, too, and if you look at New York’s pension actuarial charts, the pain is only beginning.
The tax cap was a great idea, but only if Albany stopped forcing counties, municipalities and school districts to pay for state programs that Albany won’t fund. The governor promised that mandate relief was coming next when he signed the tax cap into law, but now he seems to have walked away from that.
He’s also apparently walked away from meaningful pension reform. These are the costs that are bleeding New York dry. AsMayor Mike Bloomberg has repeatedly pointed out, we are now paying more for trash picked up years ago through pension payments than for trash picked up today. Those public employee pensions are guaranteed, so when the money runs low, it’s the social safety net programs that get the ax.
California pension adviser David Crane spelled it out perfectly a couple of years back. “I have a special word for my fellowDemocrats,” he wrote. “One cannot both be a progressive and be opposed to pension reform. The math is irrefutable that the losers from excessive and unfunded pensions are precisely the programs progressive Democrats tend to applaud.”
Cuomo’s speech Wednesday signaled an abrupt, but not unexpected, end to his promise as a fiscal reformer. It marked the day he chose his own political career over the best interests of his state.
This piece was originally published by Newsday.
January 8, 2013 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY
LaGuardia Airport, early Sunday morning.
Two young men, identical twins in smart tortoise shell glasses, directly face me at an open counter, each deeply absorbed in aniPad.
“Stop kicking your leg,” the one to my right mutters, without so much as looking up from his device.
The exchange went on from there, with neither raising his eyes once from his reading, or, seemingly, thinking anything of the volley. The petty complaints and retorts were automatic, part of an exchange that may very well have begun in the womb.
The scene made me recall a half-baked proposal I read about in the late 1990s as a possible fix to the enduring conflict inNorthern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants.
An inventive British minister proposed that England grant 50,000 visas to Hong Kong Chinese willing to relocate to Northern Ireland. The theory was that it would inject money into Northern Ireland and dilute the hatred between the Irish sects living there.
“You don’t understand Northern Ireland,” someone quipped in response. “In 10 years you’ll have 25,000 Hong Kong Chinese lined up with the Protestants and 25,000 with the Catholics.”
Resentments left to fester can consume nations.
If you ask anyone in Washington — or Albany or any state capital — why some obvious need cannot be met, they will usually say one of two things: “It’s not that simple,” or “It’s a lot more complicated than that.”
I’m sure that’s exactly what my neighbors at LaGuardia would say.
But is it really? Or is half the problem in Washington that the players have annoyed the living bejeezus out of one another over a period of years and now hate to concede anything?
The challenges facing governments today are enormous, but let’s get real; they’re not complicated. The average apolitical American almost certainly could chart a course, within days, to lower our national debt burden better than the one we’re on now. (Are we on one now?) America is borrowing more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends. Let’s stop doing that, the rational person might say. And if tweaking entitlement programs, closing tax loopholes and pulling some troops out of Europe will get our budgets in balance, then let’s do that, too.
If familiarity is half the problem, then the special interest machine is the other half. Members are hamstrung by pledges and candidate questionnaires from unions and other interest groups locking them into positions. They are left no room for nuance or compromise. Those interest groups come with lobbyists, PR teams and lots of advertising dollars. God help you if you cross them.
Long-term elected officials have become so entangled in relationships with special interests and their lobbyists that nothing will ever be simple for them again. Just look at the lard stuffed into the so-called fiscal cliff deal. Somehow rum producers in the U.S. Virgin Islands got involved in it, getting a generous tax break in the final arrangement.
Maybe the problem in Washington is that the decision-makers have been around too long. Maybe for the debt ceiling talks we should let the newly elected freshman put a plan on the table. Things may not be so complicated for them.
This column was originally published in Newsday.
Israel can be shelled daily for a year by its neighbors without notice or concern from the outside world, but as soon as she retaliates, it’s an international outrage.
The GOP can hold a winning poker hand, only to learn after the final round of betting that the game has been changed to pinochle. Such was the case in 2011′s debt-ceiling negotiations and in the recent “fiscal cliff” deal, where Republicans capitulated on tax increases without getting any meaningful spending cuts in return. The GOP thought the debate was to be about debt, when it was really about greedy millionaires.
Republicans were correct on the merits in both cases. The real problem in this country is overspending, not undertaxing, and no amount of taxing can fill the hole we’ve dug. But the GOP was made to look like a pack of asses by members of a party whose mascot is a donkey, a neat trick on the Democrats‘ part.
It’s never been easy selling Republican messages. Democrats promise voters shiny objects; Republicans typically don’t — yet fail to properly explain why they don’t.
Built in public relations challenges for the GOP can be daunting, but there can be no excuse for bad press year after year. A major political party must learn how to communicate its messages to voters no matter what. If it can’t, it won’t remain major for long.
The central message Republicans should be communicating today is the need for urgent action on the national debt. But the party’s leaders are reticent to go full bore on the issue for fear of being chewed up by a Democratic PR machine, expert at portraying Republicans as heartless and greedy whenever they propose spending less money.
But the Republican Party is right about the debt. How right?
A friend and former client, Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin, puts it this way: “The Republican Party hasn’t been so right on an issue, and the Democrats so wrong, since slavery.”
That’s an audacious statement, but one that’s probably correct. The GOP’s attempts to spare future generations from fiscal ruin is downright virtuous, right up there with its unwavering anti-communist stance, which helped free millions from totalitarianism.
So why can’t the GOP get over the hump on debt? Why do Republicans always end up looking like they want to push grandma from the train?
I’m no public relations genius. I’ve lost more than my share of fights over the years. But one thing I’ve learned in politics is that you rarely win a battle from a defensive posture. A winning party is a party on offense, and I can’t remember the last time the Republicans controlled the national dialogue.
If the Republican Party is to convince the American public that debt poses an existential crisis to the country, it needs to indict Democrats in a publicly engaging way for recklessly stealing from our children. It needs to convince voters of all generations — even liberal voters who cherish the social safety net — that theDemocratic Party in America today is leading us to ruin. The social safety net will, in fact, collapse if we keep doing what we’re doing.
Most importantly, the Republican Party must be willing to lose in the short term in order to survive in the long term as a party true to its convictions — and to its duty to the American public.
This piece originally appeared in Newsday.
December 31, 2012 by WILLIAM F. B. O’REILLY
Sell Alaska to reduce U.S. debt.
What an inspired idea — the best one to come out of Washington in years.
It didn’t come from the president or Congress; it came from Washington Post energy correspondent Steven Mufson. He should win a public relations prize for the effort, the same one the Taco Bell public-relations folks should have gotten in 2001 for promising a free taco to everyone on Earth if the falling Russian Mir space station hit a floating target in the South Pacific. The 40-foot-square Taco Bell float featured a giant bullseye over the words “FREE TACO HERE.”
We’re not going to sell Alaska, of course. At least not yet. But Mufson’s proposal hammers home a point so many in Washington seem to be missing: America is deep in debt. Russian Winter deep.
Mufson is a smart guy, and he actually estimates the value of what Alaska would fetch on the open market today. This massive mineral goldmine, well over twice the size ofTexas and four times the size of California, would conservatively bring in about $2.5 trillion.
I don’t know what your reaction to that number is, but mine, when I first learned it, was, “That’s it? $2.5 trillion? For Alaska!?”
And that’s where Mufson earns his prize.
Fiscal conservatives have struggled and failed for a decade to qualify the extent of the growing federal debt to the American public in a way that can be easily understood. Mufson just did it.
The debt is so big that selling Alaska wouldn’t even dent it.
Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman noted in a column this week that if private-sector accounting standards were used by the federal government, U.S. taxpayers would be on the hook not for the $16 trillion seen on public “debt clocks,” but for $87 trillion. That number reflects hard federal debt (state debt is another worry), plus unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and federal employee pension benefits — obligations we have promised to pay without having a penny in the bank to do so. Those liabilities are growing by almost $8 trillion every year, even at these rock-bottom interest rates.
Think about that.
If Alaska is worth around $2.5 trillion, some analysts say we’re adding three times that amount of debt to our balance sheet every year. And all the while, members of Congress are bragging to constituents at home about their efforts to “protect” entitlement programs from change.
Show of hands: How many of you got a piece of campaign literature in 2012 depicting a senior citizen saying something like, “Hands off my Medicare!”
My wife and I got about five.
How many got pieces from candidates promising to fundamentally restructure our entitlement programs to save the Republic?
So why aren’t we taking the debt crisis seriously? Why do we all go about our business day after day, arguing red herring issues, with nary a thought of the debt we are amassing?
Is this the slow-boiling frog that foolishly fails to leap from the water as it gradually warms? Or is it the illusion of numerical invulnerability that beguiled army after army heading into Russian winters?
Soldiers in Napoleon’s grand army thought it impossible that they could freeze to death en masse as they invaded Moscow in 1812. And yet thousands and thousands did. Are Americans two centuries later demonstrating that same arrogance?
A lot of smart people believe we are.
If talk of selling Alaska or Hawaii or, heck, California, is what it takes to wake us up to the realities of our overspending, then I say let’s have the conversation.
Someone should put a bill on the floor of Congress to that effect with the same devilish grin that the Taco Bell people surely wore while floating a target out over the South Pacific.
This piece originally appeared in Newsday.