The Norman Transcript

Columns

October 26, 2013

Washington has sports mentality

NORMAN — Box scores aren’t solely reserved for sporting events. As a U.S. debt default was averted last week and government reopened, the talk in Washington turned to what parties and politicians were the winners, and who were the losers.

Washington, you see, has this press box mentality where stats are kept not only on home runs but on assists and errors.

President Barack Obama and his White House won, in that his health care overhaul stayed intact and the debt ceiling was lifted. Speaker of the House John Boehner lost, as his Republican Party couldn’t halt Obamacare or the renegade tea party members who put their convictions above political deal-making. The tea party advocates didn’t win because they didn’t stop the Democrats.

Much like a football defensive line, the winner was the guy who didn't blink first. The cute sports analogies could go on, but Washington gamesmanship isn’t the kind that sells tickets or develops true fan bases.

Washington’s games hurt Americans — not government workers who will be paid for the 16 days they were out, but the tourists who wanted to go to a national park or the people who needed to file a critical form with the government. The shutdown hampered economic growth, not just for 16 days, but with widespread damage to America’s credibility around the world.

Within hours of resolving the crisis — to face us again in January — the “loser” said there were no winners. The winners toned down their victory, a bit, by attempting to draw the average Joe into the battle. For example, Obama said Americans were “fed up” with Washington. Over how many shutdowns have we heard that that?

Americans are fed up with the brinkmanship game that Washington seems to love. The rest of us are tired of an arena where politics focuses on winning and losing, with little concern for those who paid the politicians’ entry into the game.

— Anderson, Ind., Herald-Bulletin

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