The poisoned chalice

From the time Babbie and I arrived in Alaska in 1974 until we left in 2001 I was trying to figure out a way to get into the United States Senate.  When I finished my eight years in the state legislature, I started writing a column in Alaska’s largest newspaper and got a radio talk show in order to maintain my viability as a candidate.  But I never got my chance.  I was kind of pissed off when we left.  I would have liked to at least taken a shot, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Thank God for that.  As I observe the absolute dysfunction in the Senate, and the House as well, I feel like getting down on my knees and thanking the Good Lord I’m not in the middle of that clown show.  Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t really make much difference.  Ben Sasse of Nebraska seems like an intelligent and honorable man.  I wonder if he’s happy at work.

McConnell thought he could pass a Defense Department budget.  It’s the core function of any legislature.  You’ve got to fund the government.  But he couldn’t get the votes, so there will once again be no real budgeting done by Congress this year.  They’ll pass a Continuing Resolution.  In other words, they’ll punt.

Since both political parties are rightfully held in such disdain, where is Gary Johnson?  I go to his web site to look for signs of life and I find nothing.  I spend a lot of time on internet news sites, and for weeks now, it seems, he’s nowhere to be found.  What the hell is he doing?  I’m sure he’s got money problems, but he could get some earned media if he showed any imagination.

I don’t see any hope for Congress.  It’s so broken it can’t be fixed.  Regardless of who’s elected President, and who has the Senate majority, Congress will continue to be a national joke.  They’ve rigged the system so thoroughly that 98% of them always seem to get reelected, no matter what abject failures they are.  The only hope is Article V.

If you enjoy a good biography I recommend Anthony Everitt’s Augustus, the Life of Rome’s First Emperor.  He was arguably the most successful ruler of the ancient world, creating order from a series of calamitous civil wars.  But the chalice of power was poisoned.  When his health failed, and he believed the end was near, he went with his beloved wife Livia to an island and made his preparations for his chosen successor, Tiberius.  Some of what he had to do was distasteful,  but he did it and waited to die. Then, to his amazement, he started to recover.  The ships had sailed, the orders had been given, and he was supposed to die.  Knowing his wishes, Livia poisoned him.

His natural heir, his only grandson, was not suitable to be an Emperor, but he felt he had a right to it, and his followers were sure to try to help him seize power from Tiberius.  So, in his last act as Emperor, Augustus had ordered him to be killed.

His dying words were, “Have I played my part in the farce of life well enough?’

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