politics

Vote No, Hope Yes Caucus

Congress works in wondrous ways with GOP members voting no on bills they hope will pass so they aren't blamed for the results of not passing.The House and Senate votes this week to raise the federal debt ceiling to avoid the threat of default highlighted what a New York Times analyst called the "Vote No, Hope Yes Caucus" in Congress.

Debt ceiling legislation passed in the GOP-controlled House with only 28 Republican "yes" votes. Times reporter Carl Hulse said that "was the lowest percentage for a majority on passage since the House began publishing electronic data on votes in 1991."

The Senate struggled to close off debate with the required 60 votes until GOP leaders relented and provided the handful of votes needed to bring up the legislation for an actual vote.

"The results in both the Senate and House," Hulse concluded, "illustrate the countervailing political forces at work on Capitol Hill and how the current partisan environment makes governing so difficult."

Honest Words Matter

One office holder who believed honest words mattered – Abraham LincolnHonest political discourse seems a faded memory after endless attack ads have sucked the life out of the public spirit this election season.

In "Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer," Fred Kaplan asserts Abraham Lincoln was committed to using political language "honestly and consistently," traits, he adds that "have largely disappeared from our political discourse."

The self-taught 16th President, whose readings spanned Shakespeare, Robert Burns, John Locke, the Bible and Walt Whitman, devoted his life to the belief that words matter. So does the integrity behind words.

His lifelong habit of reading and continuous education schooled him in the power of language, for both honorable and less-than-honorable purposes. He dedicated himself to articulate principles, not dissemble; to clarify, not confuse; to unite, not divide. And he had a sense of humor to boot.