One More Club Med

Once upon a time in a land very nearby (in fact right here in this house), we had one of those “fix me up with someone” dinner parties for a recently divorced woman.  The gentleman in the cross hairs was a successful lawyer with a keen sense of politics. Witty, articulate, fun, smart: a perfect Washington catch.

Cue the problem. In a few weeks’ time he was to leave the law to study for the priesthood. “Worst mistake you’ll ever make,” said she in a last ditch effort (until today, I never thought of it as an ironic “Hail Mary”), but the ensuing years have proven her wrong.

What about the few weeks between the dinner and his arrival in Rome? “One more Club Med” said he.  He was a perfect “fix up” but the competition was just too tough.

How does this tale relate to the selection of Paul Ryan as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee?

If asked off the record, there is no serious elected official or news outlet that denies our government’s unsustainable financial position. There is legitimate debate as to the best fix and the timing, but the problem itself is undeniable.

In “off the record” land, there is also no argument about any of the following:

  • The problem is not solvable with tax increases alone, especially if limited to the rich
  • The problem is not solvable without cuts to defense spending
  • The problem is not solvable without changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, especially the age of eligibility
  • Continuation of our current “sold-to-the-highest-bidder” tax code is unsustainable
  • Substantial cuts to virtually all federal programs are both necessary and achievable with little loss of effectiveness

On the record – or worse, on the campaign trail – neither side dares admit what it knows privately.

Adding Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket certainly highlights these issues and might even burst some of the talking-point bubbles.

When people lie to me I have two strong feelings. First, I know I can’t trust them; and, second, I know they think I am too stupid to catch them.

I think I will vote for the candidates who lie to me the least between now and November. Of course this does not matter in a jurisdiction that is 92% Democrat, but it is not a bad test.

This election should not be “one more Club Med” before the real work begins. If “off-the-record” became “on-the-record,” it wouldn’t be.

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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