Saturday, December 12, 2020

Problem Solvers ... to the rescue!

By Isidore Stone, Washington Correspondent
with Roscoe Arbuckle, Entertainment Editor

It's just like one of those radio or movie serials, where the heroine is tied to the train tracks by the villain and the train is approaching.  Then with a blare of bugles and a cloud of dust the U.S. Cavalry rides to the rescue, saves plucky Nell and foils the bad guys.

So in that spirit let's follow the latest exciting adventures of the Problem Solvers as they rescue the innocent, punish the wrongdoer, and bring justice to the lawless confines of Washington, D.C.

Cue rousing music.

Announcer: Boys and girls, gather round as the Red Network joins the Blue for another thrilling bipartisan adventure of the Problem Solvers.  I'm your host Mark Penn welcoming you to tonight's episode, brought to you by Big Oil, Big Pharma, Financial Finaglers and our continuing sponsor, America's billionaire elite.

It's Susan Collins and
the Problem Solvers!
Our story begins right here in the good old U.S. of A.  Folks, the country that beat the two most infernal empires in history just 80 years ago and won the Cold War just by waiting out the varmints has fallen on hard times.

Yes, this once great nation has been ravaged by a pandemic that has killed almost 300,000 persons.  That's one 9/11 a day.  Hundreds of thousands more are suffering long-term health consequences or mourning loved ones they have lost.

Even worse, millions more are going to bed worrying where the next meal is coming from and whether they will be sleeping in the streets because they can't pay the rent or the mortgage.

Yet in Washington, D.C., the government is paralyzed by a months-long gunfight between the Blue Gang, led by stubborn ol' Nancy Pelosi, and the Red Gang, whose long-time mastermind we know as Mitch “Deadheart” McConnell.  For months, they've been firing away as millions of their fellow citizens sicken, die, and starve.

Stubborn Nancy wants to spend $3.3 trillion to help them.  She's so rigid and unyielding that she's reduced her demand first to $2.4 trillion, and then to $1.8 trillion.  Meanwhile Deadheart McConnnell has been holed up at the No-OK Corral with his 51 henchmen (sadly Arizona Martha was took a bullet for the gang).

What can be done to break up the gunfight and rescue the innocent victims?  Wait, boys and girls, what's that I hear?  Is it hoof-beats?  No it's the sound of a dozen sound checks at once.  Could it be?

Yes, it's the Problem Solvers to the rescue:

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a coronavirus aid proposal worth about $908 billion on Tuesday, aiming to break a months-long partisan impasse over emergency federal relief for the U.S. economy amid the ongoing pandemic. . . .

While the negotiations among leadership and the administration were stuck, senators in both parties worked together for weeks on a proposal to break the logjam. Several centrist senators — including Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) — as well as members of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus held a news conference Tuesday morning to push their proposal as a template for legislation that could pass Congress as the economy faces increasing strain from a fall surge in coronavirus cases.

“Our action to provide emergency relief is needed now more than ever before. The people need to know we are not going to leave until we get something accomplished,” Manchin said, flanked by about half a dozen lawmakers at the Capitol. “I’m committed to seeing this through.”

Whew, that was close, boys and girls!  Logjam broken!  Aid on the way!  Food on the table!  No layoffs of first responders!  And all thanks to the moderate, bipartisan Problem Solvers!

Tune in next week for another thrilling episode as the Problem Solvers save the world from global warming.  Until then boys and girls remember to drink quarts of sugary sodas every day and share your personal information with Mark Zuckerberg!  This has been a Third Way Production.

Sadly, life, especially political life, doesn't guarantee anyone a happy ending, unless of course you are Bob Kraft.  

The townspeople hailed the arrival
of the Problem Solvers

Of course, the usual suspects hailed the great victory of the Problem Solvers.  Jennifer Rubin, whose idea of a Problem Solver used to be Bibi Netanyahu, nearly swooned over the dramatic arrival of the Problem Solvers: 

Conventional wisdom suggests Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his Republican cohort will stop at nothing to hobble President-elect Joe Biden, resulting in continued gridlock and partisan warfare. However, we saw a promising sign that such an outcome is not preordained.

A bipartisan group from the House and Senate put forth a compromise stimulus package of $908 billion this week. And, lo and behold, the proposal took off.

Did you look down the runway, Jen?

That inexhaustible torrent of Conventional Wisdom, Politico, said:

The Problem Solvers may have actually solved something. For once.

Fed up by months of inaction over coronavirus relief, House and Senate centrists are showing newfound force and influence, bucking their leadership this week in the hopes of finally clinching a stimulus deal. 

Force and influence?  Wowser. 

And the patron saint of Both Siderism and Younger Shikses, Moral Mountain David Brooks said, well, just guess:

The 2020 election results have powerfully strengthened moderates. After months of gridlock, the moderates took charge this week, crafting a bipartisan $908 billion relief compromise. Led by Sens. Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, Mitt Romney and Mark Warner and endorsed by a bipartisan group of House members from the Problem Solvers Caucus, it is big enough to make a real difference and includes two thorny issues: aid to the states and liability protection, which should, on the merits, be in the law.

This is how democracy is supposed to work! Partisans stake out positions, and then dealmakers reach a compromise. This is a glimpse of the sort of normal-functioning democratic process that has been largely missing since Newt Gingrich walked onstage lo these many decades ago.

That is how democracy is supposed to work.  And marriage is supposed to be for life.  But sometimes things don't work out quite as you thought.

This week, despite the breathless excitement that greeted the Invasion of the Problem Solvers, it turned out that Ol' Deadheart Mitch was still shooting:

Mr. McConnell’s office declined to comment, though he has made it clear that he was cool to the compromise, instead urging his colleagues to drop both the liability shield and the state and local aid in favor of a much narrower package.

Looks bad for our Problem Solvers
Surely the brave Problem Solvers weren't going to be stopped by an old varmint like Deadheart Mitch.  That's the whole point of being a fearless moderate independent Problem Solver – you don't care what the bad guys say, you just solve problems and get the hell out of Dodge.

Right?  Not so much:

“I think the question I have is, will we say, ‘Hey, look, we were successful in getting $908 billion, getting people together to that number,’” said Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah and one of the lawmakers involved in the current bipartisan discussions. “We’ve solved a whole series of elements — maybe on state and local, the liability, we wait, given the time frame, until next year.”

Hey, look, Ma, it's the Problem Solvers laying down their guns and running away like the good citizens of High Noon, leaving state and local governments to cut services and, um, defund their police.

Maybe the problem that needs solving isn't gridlock in Washington between the conflagration and the fire department.  Maybe what we have to do is put out the fire.

No comments:

Post a Comment