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Can Such Things Be?
July 13, 2012

The Disconnect between Washington, D.C.
and the Rest of the Country

by David Coker

EVANSVILLE, IN — Upon reading a column by an old colleague, Allan Brownfeld, entitled Democrats and Republicans are Co-Conspirators in Back-Room Deals and Government Cronyism (Or Politics as Usual), I was reminded once again of the culture of Washington.

His main argument in this column bemoans export-import bank lending and how government picks and chooses winners and losers to qualify for these federal low-interest loans. Loans extended by this federally-funded agency supports the manufacture of goods produced by domestic manufacturers destined for exportation to foreign markets.

In most instances these loans go to huge, Fortune 500 corporations at the expense of similar small businesses.

On another day, I could just as easily read on another news service, an equally eloquent argument extolling the virtues of export-import bank lending and how many jobs these loans create for American workers. Herein lies a major fallacy of what transpires on a daily basis within the culture of Washington, D.C.

Having lived in the D.C. area for nearly 10 years and having visited some of my old haunts last summer on a brief visit to our Nation's Capital, it is hard to approve of much of what transpires there on a daily basis. As one treads the familiar sidewalks and streets of the well-kept neighborhoods of Washington, one cannot help but contemplate the lives and motivations of the residents of this city who at times seems totally disconnected from the grim economic realities of the average American citizen.

On virtually every public policy issue — be it regarding domestic or foreign policy initiatives of the federal government — there exists a phalanx of well-financed interest groups, lobbyists, law firms, public relations operatives, pollsters and media figures on both sides.

Focusing upon Congress and the appropriations process, the regulatory process of various federal agencies, decisions of the Supreme Court or lower federal court rulings or policy decisions intimating from the White House, the cacophony of voices largely drowns out sweet reason and in most instances prohibits the adoption of decisions which are in the best national interest.

But the essence of the problems lies much deeper than that and has much to do with the type of people who largely inhabit Washington.

Many — if not the predominant majority of local residents — are liberals or globalists who remain a part of the institutional scheme that makes up most of what is termed "Official Washington."

Regardless of which party controls Congress or the Administration, many of these people ride the revolving door in and out of succeeding administrations only to find safe harbor among the myriad nonprofits, foundations, universities and familiar interest groups when the party out of power waits for the next election cycle.

More times than not, this monstrous Leviathan of interest groups adopts positions and policies which are more directed toward institutional survival rather than what is in the best interest of the American taxpayer.

The prevailing mindset of these people is, Washington knows best — we declare what is in the best interest of this nation — be it bailing out Wall Street banks, drone strikes over Pakistan, troop levels in Iraq or a submarine exercise in a strategically important region of the world. We declare what types of food Americans should eat, what types of drugs are safe for human consumption and even whether or not a person can come into this world under the federal abortion laws.

As my old friend Brownfeld suggested, more times than not, the system synthesizes a decision which agrees to increased federal spending and borrowing, regardless of which party is in power. This has led to a situation where our nation confronts yet another debt limit increase this year which will exceed some $16 trillion — more than the entire gross domestic product of the U.S. economy.

The average person in Evansville, indeed throughout the entire state of Indiana or any of the surrounding states, has little or nothing to say about this outrageous behavior. The culture of Washington, responding not to the people but to the rotten system which surrounds the policy process, in no way reflects the culture of Main Street America.

Herein lies what largely motivates the Tea Party faithful across the country. They are sick of being ignored and left out of the process.

They read nothing about entitlement spending in the Constitution of this nation. However, they realize that federal politicians have bought so many votes for so long that they are willing to risk the solvency of our nation and the Federal Reserve to maintain the status quo.

Many activists are now involving themselves in local party operations and seek to exert their influence where they can, at the state and local level.

But the anger continues to build at Washington and the rotten culture of expediency. Those who are running for federal office ignore these people at their own peril — in many instances they will decide the outcome of the November elections.

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© 2012 by David Coker and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved. Editors may use this column if this copyright information is included.

A version of this article appeared in the Evansville Courier & Press.

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© 2012 Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation