The Norman Transcript


December 12, 2012

Sappy New Year



There’s one good thing about being a commentator: No one remembers what we say. Not only is it job security, it means we don’t have to be very brave to swim against the flow. That’s what I will be doing here, timidly going where few have gone before.

I say you can make those party plans.

Assume that the political parties will come up with a deal. It may be nothing more than a sham agreement, but they will be able to announce some sort of “hard-fought compromise after intense bargaining.” It probably won’t happen until moments before the deadline on the 31st, because of their addiction to 11th-hour melodrama. It might even come after midnight, if they use that old stop-the-clock routine, and we won’t officially know whether to sing “Auld Lang Syne” or Auld Lang Whine, but 2013 will begin with a deal.

All the negative bluster is really positive. While the two sides bluster out front, the president and the speaker meet behind closed doors. The only way the White House has any chance of placating restive Democrats dug in on entitlements is to give the public appearance of hanging tough. Same for the Republicans teeming with those who would just as soon shred all socialprograms and get rid of all taxes. We are already seeing their rigidity bend a little as a few GOPsenators indicate that they might not fall on their swords over taxes.

It’s still early in the game. Only at the last second can they all make concessions and have any credibility when the time comes to tell their partisans that they squeezed out everything possible. What we will then hear is public screams of outrage from the immoderates on both sides, the same members of Congress who will privately agree to vote yes if their support is needed for passage and if they get something in return. We will have once more avoided disaster, and then we’ll move on to the next crisis.

As for New Year’s, maybe the politicians could make a resolution to do things differently. They’d break it immediately.

© 2012 Bob Franken, Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Help better than commentary

    For the last seven years, I have helped run Hands Helping Paws, an animal welfare and rescue group that fosters Norman’s abandoned animals and advocates for spay and neuter initiatives to reduce our community’s problems with stray and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Stick to the sports

    Editor, The Transcript: Why must we, especially us nice conservatives, be subjected to political commentary in a sports column? I hear/view Fox News routinely and find their coverage quite acceptable. I also hear/view CNN and MSNBC. I ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Corporation Commission should should evaluate quakes, fracturing

    Editor, The Transcript: Is your house at risk of being damaged in an earthquake because of fracking? Maybe. We’ve seen more earthquakes and tremors in Oklahoma seven months into 2014 than in the two previous years combined. At the same ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Norman can stop fracking before it escalates

    Editor, The Transcript: There are 163 fracked wells within Norman city limits. With growing attention to health and safety concerns, the city is considering changes to the existing oil and gas ordinance....

    July 27, 2014

  • We should be offended by things that matter

    Editor, The Transcript: I’m offended. Why you say? I live in the USA, in Norman — a great town. What could possibly offend me? I’ll tell you. It’s people that are offended by the most meaningless things (what to call an evergreen tree in ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014