Git-R-Done America vs. Washington

by Jim Geraghty

From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Git-R-Done America vs. Washington

You work hard. You pay what you think is more than enough in taxes. The economy hasn’t really felt good since 2008, but you managed to get by. If you’ve got a 401(k), it’s grown in the past few years – but the real estate bubble burned you, and the dot-com bubble burned you before that. You know that nice sum in your 401(k) could plummet without warning. What you would really like is a nice better job, so you could feel better about the amount of income coming in every month.

You’re trying to play all of your roles – worker, parent, sibling, child, friend, neighbor, parishioner, and somehow find time to take care of yourself so you don’t keel over from a heart attack. It’s tough. Time is at a premium. Speaking of which, your insurer announced your premiums are going up again. You’ve been thinking of trading in the old car, but you’re not so sure you could handle new car payments and the higher premiums.

But you get up every day and you take care of everything that needs care, because that’s who you are and what you do. You get it done. You take some pride in that. You look at your loved ones, your friends and neighbors, your colleagues, and you know that they know that they can count on you.

You kind of wonder about everybody else, though.

What’s with the Centers for Disease Control? They keep telling you “we’re going to stop Ebola in its tracks here” and then there are new cases. The NIH director seems to think he’s reassuring us by telling us “the system worked” as we learn about new infections. Then there’s that enterovirus 68 floating around, killing kids. Terrifying, heartbreaking. Hey, guys, maybe a little less time studying gun control and a little more time spent on, you know, disease control? That’s your job.

What’s going on with everybody who’s supposed to be protecting us? First Obama says “We don’t have a strategy yet” – why not? Don’t we spend billions, even trillions, on national security agencies, intelligence agencies and a Department of Defense? Isn’t somebody in those vast, expensive organizations supposed to come up with a strategy? Then he said “they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria” – isn’t that their job? Wasn’t anybody watching?

Now they’re saying the airstrikes over in Iraq and Syria aren’t doing enough, and ISIS is knocking on the door of Baghdad. Sunday morning, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said we’re not reassessing our strategy. Well, shouldn’t somebody? Just in case? Doesn’t anybody over there believe in having a Plan B? Isn’t that the job of a national security advisor?

How the hell did the top guys at the Department of Veterans Affairs not know about the wait lists and that veterans were dying, waiting for care? That’s their job.

How the heck did the federal government AND so many state governments manage to spend so much money and not build insurance-exchange websites that worked? That was their job.

The president keeps insisting that test scores are up and that college attendance is up, when it’s actually been the opposite. Obviously, the public schools aren’t good enough for his kids. He promised the moon when it came to improving schools back in 2008. Wasn’t that his job?

In your life, failure is not an option. If you don’t pick up the kids from school, they’re stuck there. If you don’t go shop for groceries, the kids don’t eat. All around you, every day, you see things that have to get done, and you do them. You don’t tell the kids, “well, our intentions were good. We tried. We had some glitches.” You don’t get to blame your predecessor or the opposition party. You don’t get to tell them, or your spouse, or your boss, that the situation is the same, as normal, and that they’re “just noticing now because of social media.”

Where is this “get it done” attitude in Washington? Every time you turn around, it’s some new excuse. Americans do not accept this kind of incompetence and unaccountability in their personal and professional lives. Why should they accept it from Washington?

The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.