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Potpourri Redux

RICHARD HERSHATTER
Contributing Columnist
hershatter@lbknews.com

The voters vote; that’s how they choose

Whatever lies ahead.

The winners win; the losers lose;

A few are filled with dread.

 

It was a good, healthy contest in the best American tradition, with contestants and wives standing on street corners and waving signs in the pouring rain in support of their positions.

As in all such contests, there are lessons to be learned.

Challenger Gene Jaleski ran well behind the other losing candidates, but he still has a great future in politics – perhaps as a candidate for Governor of Alaska, where skipping out in the middle of a term is a newly minted tradition.

In addition, the vast, open tundra would seem an ideal locale for cell tower experimentation – there being no way to disguise a tower as anything else.  (Igloos do not come that tall.)

In regard to the issue of disappearing signs, it is well to remember that signs have been a longtime issue on the island – both with regard to their placement, their size and their attraction to enthusiasts whose barren bedroom walls cry out for political decoration.

Future candidates may very well want to follow the example of the Lynch sisters before they removed their restaurant to St. Armands.  Cutting their sign in half and affixing one half beneath the other seemed to resolve their problem.  Who would want to steal a bifurcated campaign sign?

With an unusual number of debates and large sums spent on advertising, the electorate benefitted from a plethora of information, and our two local newspapers enjoyed the numerous advertisements – some of which ran to full pages.  Don’t be surprised if the media lobby lawmakers to institute elections every six months, for the sake of the economy.

The newly re-elected incumbents have indicated that a professionally constructed Comprehensive Plan for Longboat Key is in the works.  Irrespective of the good intentions of individual Commissioners, that document is far too important not to submit it to the voters in a referendum.  The additional few days and minimal expense is well worth the effort.

The return of normalcy to the Key is unfortunately not true of other levels of government.

Manatee County is investigating the feasibility of one half of one percent added to their sales tax, to reimburse hospitals for the care extended to the indigent and homeless.  This in spite of the revelation by Time Magazine last month that even “non-profit” hospitals rake in huge revenues, charging excessive mark-ups for simple medications and procedures and paying executives millions in salaries, bonuses and other perks.

On the State level, Governor Scott is engaged in a vicious battle with his own Party’s legislators and the Tea Party fringe over taking advantage of the Federal benefits of Obamacare.

Tallahassee had finally taken initial steps, however, to reverse the mistake of requiring foreign tourists to obtain international licenses in order to drive in Florida.

From personal observation, the State might be better off to require special licenses of New Yorkers, who are not exactly expert drivers before they get here, but once they cross our borders, they tend to drive just like Floridians – slow and in the wrong lane.

If this column has not yet made enough readers angry, let’s discuss the situation in D.C.

Some of you may be old enough to remember the beginning administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  He inherited a failed economy – a plummeting stock market that had brokers jumping out of skyscraper windows (no air conditioning – windows opened in those days.)

Banks in over half the nation had closed, unemployment for the then-existing population for exceeded today’s records, and homeless were reduced to selling apples (the fruit) on street corners.

Roosevelt rammed numerous bills through a compliant legislature, some of which were of doubtful Constitutionality, deficit spending like crazy in an effort to get the country back to work.

For his pains, F.D.R. was roundly castigated, called a traitor to his class and worse.  His wife, Eleanor, was vilified constantly.  Drew Pearson, the lead columnist of his day, never let a day go by without proclaiming “who elected her?”

Does any of this sound familiar?  Eleanor Roosevelt didn’t wear bangs or exercise the right to bare arms, but the abuse the present first lady and President Obama take on a daily basis is almost plagiaristic.

Roosevelt remained a hated leader for nearly his entire first two terms, but then World War II intervened, and he became a hero, serving an unprecedented third and fourth term.

Whatever you may think of him, President Obama is a student of history and has attempted to emulate both F.DR and Lincoln in the conduct of the Presidency.

From Lincoln’s book, he reached across the aisle to the opposition Party for Secretaries of Defense and other Cabinet officials, choosing as his first Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, a strong opponent from his own Party.

His efforts to do more pump-priming deficit spending, however, ran aground on the rocks of a recalcitrant Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

Where the country goes from here is still questionable, but Mr. Obama will remain President for nearly four more years.  The Obama haters need to get used to it.

They can take some solace from the fact that he will not serve a third or fourth term.

 

 

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