by Jules Witcover
Such is the state of American politics that the president and members of
President Obama returned to Hawaii, the state of his birth in the eyes of all but the desperate deniers. House and
The first, of course, is the approaching "fiscal cliff" at year's end. The second is the national horror over the slaughter of 20 small children and six attending adults in the elementary school in a devastated Newtown, Conn.
Beyond the notion that both president and
Regarding the fiscal stalemate, a hapless House Speaker John Boehner, struggling to extricate himself and his party hog-tied by its tea party and other anti-tax extremists, miscalculated in thinking common sense would somehow strike them and permit some modest compromise. Instead, they flatly rejected his proposal to raise taxes only on millionaires, putting the crisis back in limbo.
Concerning even minimal response to the Newtown nightmare of restoring the lapsed 1994 ban on semi-automatic weapons of the sort that pumped 11 bullets into a single first-grader, there was no immediate action taken by the fleeing legislators.
When that nightmare in broad daylight first became known, President Obama merely expressed the same horror the rest of us felt. His press spokesman said for himself he didn't think it was "a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates" on gun control. Only two days later did Obama promise grieving Newtown residents he would use "whatever power this office holds" to deal with the catastrophe, again without specifics.
It was not until three more days when the spokesman allowed that the president still supported banning the assault weapons, and Obama then announced a task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden to produce a more comprehensive plan to address the matter. One can wonder: what might the reaction have been had he called for emergency action by
One answer came last Friday from
The NRA's chief defender, in verbally attacking those who advocate stopping the flow of more rapid-firing weapons and the multi-ammunition clips, only raised questions about his own political savvy, not to mention sanity. The tabloid
Meanwhile, American television, in keeping with the season, resumed the old Christmas movies replete with tiny tots with their eyes all aglow, anticipating Santa Claus and presents under the tree. Their shining faces could not fail to bring tears to many others in Newtown and around the country.
Any thought of denying the president and members of
Not So Merry Christmas For Congress and President | Politics
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