Heather L. Barmore
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Heather L. Barmore
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Heather Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices

    Sunday
    Dec122010

    How to Compromise: A step by step process

    "I'm unhappy. You're unhappy too. That's what a good compromise is all about!" - Larry David

    1. Realize that something expires in less than a month so decide to start working on it two weeks before it needs to be done because you're like a college freshman with red bull, pizza and 24 hours to cram.

    2. Put on your big boy undies and realize that without cooperation and compromise with the other side shit won't get done.

     2a. People would really like for you to get some shit done.

    3. Meet with Republican leaders to produce a compromise because without them you get quagmire and shutdown and you know what's worse than not getting shit done? Having a non-functioning government, that's what.

    4. In your compromise where you give the rich everything they never really needed, you do manage to remember the oft-forgotten middle class. Yes, that middle class. The one that is shrinking to nothing.

    5. In exchange for an extension of unemployment benefits for 13 months you give those making a million dollars a massive tax break.
     
     5a. Pretend to believe in the trickle down theory.

    6. Make your compromise public.

    7. Realize that despite compromise 150 people still hate you because you dare compromise with the Devil. See also; they'd prefer you just grow some balls.

    8. Explain yo'self fool.

    9. How 'bout a beer summit? Better yet, how do we feel about vodka?

    10. WHY IS NO ONE EVER HAPPY?

    11. Rinse and repeat for the next two to six years. Yay!

    Must read: Ben Smith's Tax Cut Framework Talking Points

    Video of the Obama/Clinton tax compromise press conference via the White House:

    Thursday
    Dec022010

    The Lamest of the Ducks

    "We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability.  But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two.  "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." ~Erwin N. Griswold

    I’m crushed between two Lame Duck sessions. One of which I am more tangentially involved with than the other but still, there’s all of that milling about and waiting that comes with a Lame Duck session. Then again waiting and more waiting is par for the course when it comes to dealing with any legislative body but with a Lame Duck there isn’t an incentive to get anything done. No one is meticulously watching every move a legislator makes save for the usual suspects in punditry. Long gone are the days where voters actually cared enough to worry about every other vote a legislator made in order to use their vote to kick ‘em all out of office. Been there, done that. Those who have survived are breathing a quick sigh of relief but head back to a capital city only to be reminded of how much things are going to change. There are new sheriffs in town ready to shake things up. Ironic since during a congressional leaders meeting today at the White House, the President sat with the likes of John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Cantor, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. Same as, same as but different. Or so they’d like for us to believe. Dynamics are changing and when you step into a Capitol you can feel it in the air. There are the hellos from members who will soon be departing. I force a smile back and say “Fine, and you?” when they ask how I’m doing. Then again I really don’t want to know how they’re doing as I am afraid to ask. It’s those times that I lean back and think about putting my best foot forward to run for office. The giving up of time and finances in pursuit of public service* (in my mind I ignore that some people run not for altruistic purposes but because they want to be King of the World). In the end these are the people that lose and it’s difficult to say “I’m awesome! I just got a tan and drank beers on the beach!” when they genuinely say, “How are you?” But I digress. The thing about a life in politics is the acceptance of transience. No one will win all of the time and though I kick the ground and shake my head in disappointment, we wouldn’t be the country that we are if it weren’t for the possibilities of change in power. Anyway, I’m cheerful despite the loads of Lame Ducks about. It is what it is and talking about the whys and how’s of a month ago won’t change the what is of today. Worrying about yesterday won’t help you tomorrow.

    Some highlights of the Lame Duck session, which, for the record ,is somewhat disappointing as it is when legislative bodies fear nothing so they tend to do nothing. I like to read about all of the nothing. The Tax Cut piece by Politico is my personal favorite:

    Tax cuts in Black in White via Politico

    This Week is Do or Die for DADT via Jezebel

    President Obama post Leaders Meeting

    GOP post Leaders Meeting

    *I have very strong feelings about public service. Remind me to finish getting them dow
    Wednesday
    Nov172010

    Compromise This!

    “Downside: Leaders in Washington can't even schedule a simple meeting. Upside: name plates will be ready for high chairs once they do meet.” - John Dickerson


    Let’s just get this little fact about me out of the way: I want what I want when I want it. If I suddenly find myself jonesing for a piece of strawberry shortcake, I want some damn strawberry shortcake. I want to stomp on those diet books that say “If you’re craving something sweet try some grapes!” Grapes, shmapes. I want whipped cream on my chin and angel food cake in my belly.

    People who know me know that I’m not really one for compromise but because I am 27 years old I will do so. Begrudgingly of course and maybe with a little passive aggressiveness sprinkled on top. The key is that I do it. Now given my proclivity towards getting my way, one would think that I would be all gung ho over this Hell No to Compromise sentiment going on in the Beltway. But I’m not. Here’s why:

    We elect representatives to both houses of Congress to represent us and our interests. Of course we also vote for them based on their positions on issues and their subjectivity but there’s a point where it is imperative for us to step back and question whether or not a Representative’s opinions are harming us and the country. Putting a foot down to compromise is not only selfish but possibly destructive and contrary to what members are supposed to be doing while in Washington, which is to move the country along (and forward). Gridlock does not equal movement. Government shutdown - or a threat to do so - does not equal movement. It all goes against what I believe and hope we all want which is to get better and as of now I have the sneaking suspicion that we’ll be wading in the murky waters of “No YOU go first” for a few months.

    I’m exasperated and angry to say the least. I should also add disheartened. I have a bit of a soft spot for Congress which leaves me with a Pollyanna-ish outlook on how members should behave. So when I hear of grown ass adults acting like a two year old whose mommy wouldn’t let him play with the remote, I get annoyed. My mood worsens when I read storiesabout entire groups and organizations who are also charged with representing the interests of their members saying that they would refuse to work with representatives of certain parties. My eyes bug out of my head when I hear things like that; that adults cannot put their own agendas, feelings and bullshit aside in order to be true representatives.

    We all have “Me first” moments. We all fall prey to our own needs and wants. And though I, personally, sometimes crave a decidedly “liberal” agenda I am adult enough to know that everything I want might not be best for the country. But I could be wrong; what do y0u think of this whole Gridlock or Bust/I’m not sharing my toys with you type behavior going on in Washington?