Yesterday, just outside the Nation’s Capitol, I saw a dead animal in the road. Around the carcass were more than a dozen vultures that were starting the process of picking its bones clean. I could not help but to look at the ripping of flesh and thinking, with a heavy sigh, “if only the political leaders in Washington could be so kind to each other.”
THAT’S how bad the partisan bickering and failure inside the beltway has gotten!
As an American, I am deeply concerned about the future of my nation. I’ve worked in and around Washington politics for more than twenty-five years. I have seen Presidents and Speakers of the House come and go. But I have never seen anything as close to as toxic as what we have today. It’s a political storm that is worse than hurricanes Katrina and Sandy put together.
The partisan infighting is putting America’s future at risk. And that should be of real concern to Israel, which has long relied on America, the world’s most important super power, as its most important ally.
The value of the U.S.-Israel relationship must be measured in two ways: 1. How close is the relationship? and 2. How strong is America?
Right now the relationship is strong. And, true, even with the government shutdown the key U.S. officials who are working the U.S.-Israel relationship are still at work in their jobs.
But the strength of America? It’s at risk. Our government is largely shut down, debt ceiling issues loom and the toxic partisanship that has possessed America threaten the very core of our future.
This dangerous brew has been made worse by the fact that a huge part of America watches only MSNBC and other liberal media outlets and votes only for Democrats. Another huge part of Americans only watches FOX and other conservative media outlets and votes only for Republicans. It’s as if our citizens live in two parallel universes that never intersect.
What are missing are moderates who can forge compromises! Where are the Bill Clintons, George H.W. Bushes and Bob Doles?
America is a great nation, founded on bedrock values of freedom, equality, innovation and progress. But the leaders today are more interested in finger pointing than problem solving. From Senator Ted Cruz’s filibuster from the right, to the failure of implementation President Obama’s signature healthcare policy on the left, little is working, as it should.
For those watching TV stations from Israel you likely have the impression that the only real problem is that our national parks are closed and some government workers are staying home. But those are only a few small symptoms of the much larger disease in American public policy.
Take one example – universal healthcare coverage — the signature policy achievement of the Obama administration. Indeed, successful universal healthcare, as exists in Israel, is a laudable goal for America. However, even comedian/political commentator Jon Stewart, an ardent fan of President Obama who largely makes his living by poking fun of what recently have been termed “Banna-Republicans,” tore apart the implementation of President Obama’s signature policy, healthcare. Stewart pointed out that U.S. taxpayers spent 630 million dollars on the Healthcare.gov website which is supposed to enable our citizens a smooth entry to healthcare options. But the site is a disastrous mess where even PhDs who work in technology can’t sign their families up for health care coverage!
When Stewart interviewed Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius, who is in charge of implementing “ObamaCare,” she gave us nothing that would inspire confidence that what lies behind the failed website will cure our healthcare woes.
Meanwhile, elected officials now privately admit the real facts – almost nothing positive is getting done in American politics today due to partisan bickering. Even when the government “re-opens” real business is not expected to move forward. This has put the stock market in a tizzy and caused many employers to delay adding new full time positions.
Some of the best politicians and public servants (really – there are some!) are considering other career options. Clearly the voters are thinking of throwing out ALL of America’s elected officials.
The protection of the strong U.S.- Israel relationship is one of the few bipartisan successes in America today. It can and should be an example for how we can come together around other issues. America can and must learn from this bipartisan cooperation so that we can achieve progress on our budget, healthcare, job creation and so much more.
Israel has almost all it’s “foreign policy eggs” in the “America basket”. The answer can’t be simply to just move all those eggs to China. True, the Israel-China relationship is vitally important. But nothing is more important to Israel’s long-term security than a strong America.
Anyone who cares about a strong U.S.-Israel relationship should work now to bring common sense thinking and bipartisanship back to Washington before it’s too late.