Published: October 13, 2013
Turn on cable TV: you'll hear loud voices argue that the Democrats are responsible for the shutdown. Others blame Republicans.
As a results-oriented 32-year Air Force veteran and business executive, I believe the blame lies elsewhere: with the career politicians of both parties. Out-of-touch career politicians prefer words to the hard work of governing and feel immune to the consequences of their actions.
Caring more about press events and scoring "points" than common sense, they have failed to reach out to solve real-world problems by making hard (and timely) choices. Instead, we get unfocused spending cuts (like sequestration), an irresponsible shutdown with the real possibility of a disastrous financial default, and ever shifting explanations and/or denials of their actions. Their incompetence would earn them a pink slip in the real world.
According to one recent poll, Congress is less popular than head lice. That poll was taken before the government shutdown, which has hurt small businesses and families in Colorado Springs and across the nation. It's unhealthy for our democracy to have one branch of the government held in such contempt. The only way to change Congress is to change the kind of people we elect to Congress.
This will be difficult because, you guessed it, career politicians have rigged the system. They effectively insulate themselves from popular opinion. Many of them sit in districts (like ours) dominated by one party or the other, causing them to lurch hard to the left or right in primaries, shielding them from competitive general elections. As a result, practical centrists, those who care about real solutions in the real world that real Americans like you and me live in, are excluded - common sense compromise is rare.
The founders of our republic formed a system of government flexible enough to adapt to modern society. But they did not envision a system dominated by rabidly partisan career politicians. If we want to restore faith in our government, we as a people must have the courage to do things differently. Let's choose representatives based on competence, character, and leadership. not their political experience and partisan intensity.
Irv Halter is a retired Air Force major general and corporate executive. He is running for Congress in Colorado District 5.
Wow! Thank you, Mr. Klingenschmitt, for underscoring my point. As President Ronald Reagan used to say: "There you go again." Partisan diatribes filled with fear-based half-truths are no substitute for rational debate on critical issues. But, career politicians (and their cronies) make this their stock-in-trade, inciting the base and lining their pockets with cash. As these political animals focus on themselves, the middle class continues to lose ground, our infrastructure is crumbling, health care costs steadily rise, and economic growth stagnates.
We, the people, can reject this rhetoric and useless finger-pointing. Replace failed politicians with proven, practical "results-oriented" leaders. It's up to us!