Monday Ponderings: Life after Ted, bike lanes!

– Amid all the sorrow expressed over the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy last week, I was surprised to hear our own Sen. Orrin Hatch take one particular direction with his arguement.

Everyone knows that  Ted and Orrin were good friends and worked on a lot of legislation together, so I am positive Orrin’s sorrow is genuine. However, his statements that, with Sen. Kennedy gone,  further bipartisan progress in the Senate is less likely puzzles me.

Hatch said Kennedy could cross the aisle like no other, getting dems and gops to cooperate. Which begs the question: Precisely why can’t Sen. Hatch do that too?

Perhaps he feels himself constrained by party loyalty, or worries the folks back home might frown, or he simply harbors a desire to push partisan agendas at the expense of the nation.

But if there is anyone in the Senate who should be able to rise above partisanship, and work for reconciliation at any cost, it is Sen. Hatch.

Kennedy could do what he did because he enjoyed absolute job security. Hatch is in a similarly situation. His job security is unassailable and even if it were not, so what? What better way to cap off a distinguished career than to go down in flames trying to do what’s right instead of playing the same old partisan games?

To say “Gosh, we can’t do this without Ted,” gives the dead Ted way too much power. It also abrogates responsibility to the dead, which strikes me as a bit chicken.

Buck up Senator — quit watching the polls, quit playing political games, and do your job.

– We note with pleasure the story (click here!) that Centerville is installing a bicycle lane. Everyone should install more bicycle lanes because the price of oil is only going to rise if the economy improves and you want it to improve, do you not? Of course you do.

If that’s not enough reason, ponder this op-ed piece in the LA Times (click here!)   which posits the very real possibility that Israel could, without even asking us how we feel about it, bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. If it does that, and the writer seems certain it very easily would if it wanted to, it would immediately cause Iran to counter-attack, shutting down the Straits of Hormuz and quadrupling the price of oil, sending pump prices in the U.S. soaring and making all of us wish we’d learned how to pump up our bicycle tires a lot sooner.

Of course, if the price of gasoline gets high enough fast enough — I remember one “Iran is bombed” scenario that saw it hitting $10 a gallon overnight, but that was fiction, reality is usually worse — we could end up not needing any new bicycle lanes.

Why? We’ll already have plenty, stretches of asphalt that now go by other names:  I-15, U.S. 89, Main Street, 1900 West and all the rest.

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15 Responses to Monday Ponderings: Life after Ted, bike lanes!

  1. Flatlander100 says:

    1. On bike lanes: we went for a drive Sunday up through Ogden’s Hole around Pineview Reservoir [thank you FDR and the New Deal!], and I noticed a bike path has been put in for a long long way on the Eden side of things. Good on ‘em. Don’t know if plans are to extend it all round the circuit. Wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    2. On Hatch/bipartisanship: forget it. Such bipartisanship as used to exist, that made much of effective government possible [from the 1945 through to about 1970] pretty much died with Newt Gingrich convinced his party that Take No Prisoners Demonize the Opposition was the way to power. We’ve not recovered yet, and things have gotten much worse. I don’t see a turn around anytime soon with the Republican Party being driven by the “Obama wants to kill my baby!” rantings of its most recent vice presidential candidate, and her ilk. Nice idea, functional bipartisanship, but it’s not going to happen again, I fear, in Congress, in my lifetime. Or yours.

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    your and my life time? Yeah, but we’re both old, bob — so how long could it be?

  3. Flatlander100 says:

    Don’t know about you, but I’m hoping for another fifth of a century or so, with a little luck….

  4. Mark Shenefelt says:

    Hatch has the same problem as Bennett and Bishop and the ex-Rep. Chris Cannon: If you’re a Utah congressional delegate, you’d better really suck up to the far right or you will face a well-funded GOP challenger.

    You’ll be painted as a weak-wristed lackey of the Democrats, “Not Republican enough,” and risk your re-election to a red-meat-eating opponent. Even Teflon Orrin could befall this fate. Amazing how far the fear of Obama and illegal immigrants has driven the Utah GOP convention system and by extension the electorate.

  5. laytonian says:

    Charlie must have heard me screaming at the TV all weekend, every time Orrin talked about only Ted being able to cross the aisle. “Why not you, Orrin?”

    As far as living long enough to see change: my family lives so long, we say that you have to catch us on fire to kill us.

    It might not take as long as we think. By not standing up to the birthers and “Pretend President” crowd, the Republicans have increasingly shown their true stripes, and the shouting crowds are now touring the red-state wingcities in some sort of Musical Teabagging Tour of 2009.

  6. Doug Gibson says:

    We’ve got 100 U.S. House Democrats in a snit refusing to support any health care bill that does not have a public option. Are they being led by the far left?

  7. laytonian says:

    Doug, how many Republicans in the house are refusing to support any health care bill that DOES have a public option?

    Are they being led by the far right?

  8. Doug Gibson says:

    Laytonian, According to Mark Shenefelt, they seem to be. I think though, that a person can oppose the public option and still support reform..

    But no fair, Laytonian, answering a question with a question! (lol)

  9. Charles Trentelman says:

    I think the thing that really, just REALLY wearies me, is all this “Well, the (left/right) did it first!” crap.

    Sorry, Doug, I don’t care what the so-called left or right did in the past, or is doing now.

    I want these yahoos to WORK.

    I want them to DO THEIR JOBS which is to RUN THE COUNTRY, not sit around whining that the other side won’t work with them now and didn”t work with them in the past and will never ever work with them in the future so what’s the point of us working with them?

    PEOPLE ARE DYING. GET TO WORK. SOLVE THE PROBLEM OR GET THE HELL OUT AND GIVE THE JOB TO SOMEONE WHO WILL.

    and then these idiots go home, count up their campaign donations and claim they can’t figure out why Congress has an approval rating somewhat lower than whale dung.

  10. Doug Gibson says:

    I love ya Charlie — maybe we can all go to Oz and Glinda the Good Witch can scold those pols who dare to take a political identity!

  11. I was with Senator Hatch in person last week when he expressed both his grief about the loss of his friend Ted Kennedy, and commented on Kennedy’s ability to build bi-partisan consensus around legislation. It appeared that Orrin Hatch believes it was Ted Kennedy’s unique gift that cannot be matched by anyone else in Congress, not him and most certainly not the current Speaker nor the Senate majority leader.

    And Charles, I disagree with you. Congress’ approval ratings are even lower than dung — ‘way down there, even lower than whale poop.

    Bike lanes … prediction: I will not be surprised if there’s a major military action in the Middle East in the next 12 months that will close the Straits of Hormuz resulting in $200+ per barrel of crude.

    But I hope not. I hate riding bicycles. That loathing was ingrained in me during a couple of year’s residency in Great Britain back in the late 1960s.

    Flatlander – my guess as to the end of Congressional bi-partisanship was when Ford pardoned Nixon and snuffed an opportunity for a prosecution gala. Plus, they weren’t having any fun any more spending tax dollars on space spectaculars.

  12. ctrentelman says:

    until glinda, there’s me — and I don’t think expecting them to do what they very clearly said they would do during their campaigns is asking too much.

    neal, I won’t take that bet because I’ll lose — any time you want your bike tuned up, drop by, I’ll give you the ecclesiastical discount.

  13. laytonian says:

    Doug, who said debate was fair?

    Charlie, I think we’re all tired of the right/left. But I reserve the right to lash out at old guys who want *their* Medicare while teaching their grandsons that our current president is a “pretend President”.

    Like I’ve said before:
    Current health insurance = big banks
    Health co-ops = credit unions.

    If the government would give seed money to start up some consumer-run health co-ops, I think that would be acceptable to most. While I don’t think the public option is the end of the world, I think we could accomplish the same goals.

    Co-ops haven’t been successful often, because they’re expensive to start. But government grants could solve that; good consumer protection laws would be necessary, and of course, good pay for the workers.
    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/08/19/health_co_ops_fans_like_cost_and_care/

  14. Ben Dover says:

    Congress is not expressing the will of the people. It is expressing the will of campaign contributors.

  15. flatlander100 says:

    Ben:

    We elect ‘em, Ben. Every last one of them. We truly do get the government we deserve, Ra help us.

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