Scripps Howard News Service
Since the voters thought Mitt Romney could not save us from the fix we're in, who's going to do it? The fiscal cliff is just one of many cliffs that has threatened us with a mighty tumble over its edge, and Congress is more nearly the sneak who trips you than the guide who leads you to safety.
Don't meanwhile look for rescue from the White House amateur otherwise known as President Barack Obama. As an example of his helpfulness, this New Year arrives with five new Obamacare taxes that will add painfully to health costs and otherwise bollix up our lives.
Then there's this trick of nominating Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state, and yes, that would be the same John Kerry who returned from the Vietnam War saying our soldiers were war criminals. He also lied about being in Cambodia one Christmas during that war and associated with a radical veterans group that on one occasion voted on whether to assassinate U.S. senators it didn't like.
Remember how, during his 2004 campaign for president, he wanted to risk American lives by having a U.S.-led peacekeeping force save Haiti's dictatorial president from rebels because he had gotten into office through a vote of the people? Well, Adolf Hitler also got into office by a vote of the people, one proof among thousands that the fact of being elected only proves you can fool some of the people some of the time.
A horror of many liberals during that campaign was how Kerry, strutting about as a war hero, was denigrated by veterans of Vietnam Swift Boat operations as pretty much a joke of a soldier. The group's denunciations seem to have been overwrought on some (though not all) particulars, but its TV ads were a mewing kitty cat next to the 2012 TV ads depicting the morally solid Romney as something close to a murderer. Where was liberal angst this time around?
Maybe Kerry as secretary of state would actually get to Cambodia some Christmas, but my firmer conviction is that he would trot elsewhere around the world making a clown of himself and hurting our nation. Senators pretty much give their Cabinet approval to other senators, and my guess is he will get okayed.
But this country will continue to be something other than OK as long as we depend on Washington politicians whose failings could be listed in nothing less than the equivalent of the 356,000-page U.S. code of laws and regulations.
All of which brings me to the states. Maybe that's our way out of at least some of the mess we are in. Wisconsin, under a Republican governor, took on public unions and did get some meaningful measures through the Legislature. More recently, Michigan voted for right to work laws, meaning that unions cannot use the coercive powers of government to keep them in business while simultaneously robbing workers of their rights and the economy of thriving businesses.
There's a great, large fiction in this nation of how unions have forever been the friend of workers when, in fact, there have been all kinds of instances of anti-worker thuggery, theft and economic mayhem at the hands of organized labor. The good and the bad have been mixed for years, even to the point of unions being a major factor in the shutting down of businesses. A real issue is not just high wages vs. low wages, but decent wages vs. no wages.
The problem for the states, of course, is that their constitutionally promised dual sovereignty with the federal government hasn't been respected and that some of them, such as California, are victims of politics as bad as what you find in Washington. In the end, both nationally and in D.C., a wised up electorate will have to make the difference, and maybe, when things get bad enough, that will happen.
(Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay(at)aol.com.)