The sky is not falling


Contributing Columnist

The voters have spoken;

It’s time to relax;

The country’s not going to Hell.

Some hearts may be broken,

But let’s face the facts,

If we’re patient, then all will be well.


Right about now, old Abe Lincoln should be smiling.

Last week’s pre-election cover story in Time magazine asked “What would Lincoln do?”

After an analysis of Civil War experts, the magazine concluded that our 16th president operated on the principle that “even in times of extreme polarization, the moderate center is the path to presidential success.”

Yes, it appears that some of the old Confederate states would like to turn the calendar back to pre-1865.

Yes, it seems that the past two years of negative presidential electioneering reflected a population about as extremely polarized as one could imagine.

The final result, however, depicts an enlightened electorate unconvinced by charges that the president was some kind of secret foreign born socialist bent on transforming the nation into a Mid-Eastern type of theocracy.

Many long-term Republicans have posed the anguished question:  “What has happened to our party?”

The answer is no mystery.  The comic primary that winnowed out the likes of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich and reluctantly conferred the nomination on Mitt Romney disclosed a take over of the GOP by the Far Right – the so-called Tea Party.

Led from the shadows by the likes of Karl Rove and Dick Morris, and encouraged on television by Fox News and on radio by the gaseous windbag, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Partiers bombarded the nation with the slogan:  “We want our country back!”

Never mind the fact that we are all immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, and the only group truly entitled to campaign under that banner are the American Indians.

Last week’s loss may turn out to be the best thing that has happened to the Grand Old Party since Dwight Eisenhower was elevated from four-star general to commander-in-chief.

The nation needs a viable two-party system, and losing the White House two elections in a row should convince real Republicans to re-take the helm of their party and relegate the extreme right back into the shadows from which it emerged.

True Republicans believe in a lean government that performs the tasks that only government can do – a government that ensures the safety of the population under the guide lines spelled out in the U.S. Constitution while staying out of people’s bedrooms and refraining from imposing partisan religious beliefs on its citizens.

One of the charges leveled against President Obama during the last four years was that he was “inexperienced,” and therefore unfit to occupy a leadership position.

Political observers are aware that there is no such thing as training to be president – that any of the 44 presidents elected to that position had to be subjected to on-the-job training.

Some were quick learners – Ronald Reagan comes to mind – but others were less than expert.  Having been governor of a state doesn’t help – think George W. Bush, or Rick Perry, and brilliance doesn’t ensure success – anyone remember Jimmy Carter?

Obama’s first term was by no means perfect, but he inherited an unholy fiscal mess from the previous regime and apparently sought to prevent another Great Depression by emulating the tax-and-spend stimuli or “pump-priming” tactics pioneered by President Franklin Roosevelt in the l930s.

Like Roosevelt, he was vilified with being “socialist” and a traitor to American principles.

In actual fact and according to most economists, the funds appropriated were not nearly enough, and the recovery is therefore slower and less effective than FDR’s history.

The country now does have, however, a universal health plan which, with further adjustments and modifications, should propel us into the ranks of those civilized nations that do what only government can do best – keeps all of its citizens healthy.

The last four years saw an executive branch hobbled by legislative opposition stemming from a stated desire “to deny the president a second term.”  The result was a stone-walling congress reminiscent of the “do nothing” congress that marred Harry Truman’s presidency.

The electorate has endorsed a second term, and there is no longer any reason for blatant obstructionism engendered solely for political purposes.

Hopefully, the next four years will give Old  Abe continued reasons to smile.

Richard L. Hershatter is a retired Connecticut lawyer and novelist who writes an occasional column of interest to Floridians.  He can be reached at Banyan502@AOL.

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7 Responses for “The sky is not falling”

  1. Tom Burgum says:

    Dick, yes, like Mr. Rove, I was a bit off target — approximately 350%. In Rove’s defense, he has been right in the past. Remember when I thought the Dems would take it all in 2004?

  2. Ross says:

    Nor did the GOP on the mandate thing, surpise, surprise.

  3. Thomas Fortune Ryan says:

    Your assessment may be tainted by an ageing vision of Shangri-La.

    Mr. Obama received NO mandate from the electorate.

    Congress is divided because the electorate choose to do so, maybe for a reason.

    The first two years of the Obama, Reid, Pelosi inter-regnum was a period of time for extensive “social misbehaving” and an exorcism for progressive communism.

    Such excesses were halted by the electorate in 2010 with a “divided house”.

    Mr. Obama will now face a world (in the Middle East), a world he help to create within the Caliphate of Islam. You reap what you sew. The “Lost Souls of Mt. Sinai”.

  4. Dick Hershatter says:

    Tom, thank you for your comments, which are almost always on target. I agree that the far left is just as obnoxious as the far right. As for congressional delegations opposing a president of the opposite party, I would agree that a “loyal opposition” (a la the British example) is generally desireable,but blind, solid opposition for the sake of opposition (including voting “no” on your party’s own previously stated positions) results in a do nothing legislature such as the last two years of Obama’s first term and the second term of Harry Truman.
    As for being “on target”, congratulations on setting an example for Karl Rove in the predictions voiced in your BKR (Before Knee Replacement) column.

  5. Tom Burgum says:

    Dick, good column but may I point out a possible error, or errors. First, the Tea Party folks are not the far right except in economic terms — or as it relates to spending and the deficit. Since there is no official national Tea Party there may be some local groups that get into social issues but that is not the norm.
    You hope the far right receeds into the back ground where they belong. Would you apply that wish to the far left who, in my opinion, are just as much of pin heads as any on the far right?
    Don’t get too exercised about Republicans being dedicated to unseating Mr. Obama. Both congressional delegations hold that as their sacred duty when the president is in the opposite party.
    Finally, it was Lincoln who said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all the time. But you can’t fool all the people all the time.” I think Mr. Obama is a bit like Lydon Johnson who once quoted Lincoln and then told his staff, “we’re after the ones that can be fooled all the time.

  6. Howard says:

    The irony is that President Lincoln was a Republican. And just for the record, President Lincoln, in part, saw slavery as a war resource to the Confederacy. This “resource”; not that of good will towards fellow man and “that all men are created equal”, is what motivated Abraham Lincoln’s desire to emancipate those in slavery. As for moderate and in the middle, I for one would vote for James “Pete” Longstreet.

  7. Peter O'Connor says:

    …but then of course Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Five-Star Greneral.

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