Maybe Kerry as secretary of state would actually get to Cambodia some Christmas, but my firmer conviction is that he would trot elsewhere around the world making a clown of himself and hurting our nation. Senators pretty much give their Cabinet approval to other senators, and my guess is he will get their OK.
But this country will continue to be something other than OK as long as we depend on Washington politicians whose failings could be listed in nothing less than the equivalent of the 356,000-page U.S. code of laws and regulations.
All of which brings me to the states. Maybe that’s our way out of at least some of the mess we are in. Wisconsin, under a Republican governor, took on public unions and did get some meaningful measures through the Legislature. More recently, Michigan voted for right to work laws, meaning that unions cannot use the coercive powers of government to keep them in business while simultaneously robbing workers of their rights and the economy of thriving businesses.
There’s a great, large fiction in this nation of how unions have forever been the friend of workers when, in fact, there have been all kinds of instances of anti-worker thuggery, theft and economic mayhem at the hands of organized labor. The good and the bad have been mixed for years, even to the point of unions being a major factor in the shutting down of businesses. A real issue is not just high wages vs. low wages, but decent wages vs. no wages.
The problem for the states, of course, is that their constitutionally promised dual sovereignty with the federal government hasn’t been respected and that some of them, such as California, are victims of politics as bad as what you find in Washington. In the end, both nationally and in D.C., a wised up electorate will have to make the difference, and maybe, when things get bad enough, that will happen.
Jay Ambrose is the former Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers.