Rigidity and Gridlocked Government

The present Congressional theatre, like that of most of the last year, is based on gridlock created by an absolute refusal to compromise by a faction of tea party influenced Congressional members. The rigidity of thinking frankly reminds me of a jury case years ago in a simple DUI case. The jury, after deliberation, took vote after vote. One juror always voted guilty, while 11 found the defendant not guilty. This particular juror was a naturalized citizen from an Asian Communist country. He simply refused to believe that any of the testimony for the defense was evidence. In his view, only what was presented by the prosecution was evidence, and he would not be swayed by any of his fellow jurors…including a law student and a nuclear engineer, and several other professional people.

The case ended in a hung jury, and the prosecution chose not to refile. This same kind of rigid thinking by some members of Congress is damaging to our citizens and our economy in the case of the refusal to extend the payroll tax relief for a couple months. The demand to make it for a year is, of course, a red herring. The very reason the senate passed (with 89 affirmative votes!) the two month one was to allow more time to hammer out details of a year long bill.

Today, even the editorially conservative Wall Street Journal slammed the House GOP for refusing to compromise on this, with great concern that it would do a lot of damage to the GOP politically in the upcoming 2012 elections…both at the presidential and congressional level. Politics notwithstanding, it is very harmful to a group of people who don’t contribute much to politicians and therefore don’t get their ear, but who comprise a massive majority of actual voters.

Rigid stances and refusal to compromise have not served our country in good stead in the past, and certainly aren’t at this juncture. The House GOP should pass the Senate bill now.


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