"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

The Real Debate: Are Americans Getting Trumped

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 6
Publish Date: 
Thu, 09/24/2015


“There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the entire government working for you,” Will Rogers quipped, capturing his era’s zeitgeist, and explaining the popularity of our moment’s outsider presidential candidates.


It’s good to be a non-politician when 75 percent of Americans say government corruption is widespread, up from 66 percent in 2009, and half say government is an immediate threat to lives and freedoms, according to Gallup.  


It’s bad to be the debate-shy “candidate of destiny,” Hillary Clinton, when the first three words voters associate with her are “liar,” “dishonest,” and “untrustworthy,” according to a Quinnipiac poll.


Even early GOP front-runner and heroic “outsider” Scott Walker succumbed to skepticism, exiting the race after getting trumped by voters who won’t Think Again about his policy reversals.


With median incomes down 6.5 percent since 2007, U.S. debt surging to perilous heights, and the world melting down, voters resist limiting their choice to donor favorites – Clinton 2.0 or Bush 3.0.


If there’s a “Rosetta Stone” deciphering Americans’ malaise, it’s the unprecedented and often extra-constitutional way lawmakers make consequential decisions, in defiance of public opinion.


Fans of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders and conservative Ted Cruz meet at the intersection of their contempt for a government that gives sweetheart deals to well-connected cronies.


The newly-elected may arrive in Washington convinced it’s a cesspool, but after harnessing governmental power and dispensing billions, they discover it’s an inviting Jacuzzi, where big government and big special interests collude to enrich the few, trumping the interests of the many.


Consider Obamacare, which passed on a party-line vote using political payoffs and parliamentary trickeries never before deployed for such far-reaching legislation. As consumers suffer choice and affordability frustrations, the health industry’s largest stakeholders – drug, hospital and insurance companies – profit, at taxpayers’ expense.


Now it’s the high-stakes Iran nuclear deal – perhaps history’s most consequential – that’s advancing without congressional review, never mind Senate ratification, trumping Americans who overwhelmingly agree with George Washington, “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”


Our government’s Iran deal Kabuki Theater, featuring protagonists from both parties, renders obsolete Will Rogers’ famous jest: “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.”


The Iranian theocracy’s aim – “Death to America” and the destruction of Western civilization – is, after all, the ultimate trumping of the American people. Hence, our long-standing bi-partisan policy to deny the world’s most dangerous regime the planet’s most lethal weapons.


The Iran deal’s break with consensus prompted me to join a Colorado delegation to meet with our senator Michael Bennet on September 9th. Despite “deep concerns about what the shape of Iran’s nuclear program could look like,” Bennet had broken with a bipartisan majority of 58 senators who opposed the pact and the secret side deals involving Iranian self-inspection.


Our goal was to confirm that Bennet wouldn’t filibuster the Iran deal, voting instead with at least 60 senators to allow the agreement’s merits to be considered by the people’s representatives, an expectation Bennet set by co-sponsoring the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which passed 98-1 in May.


Disappointingly, Bennet didn’t show. But his cowering staffers assured us he wouldn’t filibuster, just as the anti-Iran deal rally at the Capitol with headliner Trump was starting. The next day Bennet proved his partisan chops by voting to filibuster, trumping the will of the American people.


President John F. Kennedy said, “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” Eager to restore our sovereignty, Americans are searching for an independent leader, one they believe will “make America great again.”


In his New York Magazine commentary, Frank Rich argues Trump is saving our democracy by “exposing, however crudely and at times inadvertently, the posturings of both the Republicans and the Democrats and the foolishness and obsolescence of much of the political culture they share.”


Perhaps so, but the truth is, when politicians are elevated before winning in the free marketplace of ideas, they stop answering questions and being held accountable, and then everybody gets trumped.


Americans want candidates who are serious, knowledgeable and responsive, which explains why Sanders’s crowds trump Clinton’s, and why idea-filled debate performances by Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio turbocharged their campaigns. It’s why Democrats are starving for their own debates.


For the American people to trump Washington’s agenda, we mustn’t allow cults of personality to cocoon candidates, or divide ourselves into “virtuous” and “dishonorable” camps. Most importantly, we must demand accountability.


Think Again – As Will Rogers eventually conceded: “This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation."

Share this

My Dear Melanie, you make my

My Dear Melanie, you make my head spin with your brilliance, I am always impressed with it, but just as I get comfortable that you are what you are, you seem to surpass that expectation.

My you always be blessed.

As always, it is up to the

As always, it is up to the people to correct our government. We are starting to see some cracks, a handful of GOP candidates have lost primaries and elections.

The Dems lost their recent hold over Congress, however the lack of action by the GOPe given their mandate has now produced Trump, Carson and Lady Fiorina.

Indeed we're getting

Indeed we're getting insufficient explanations from our political elites for issues that matter the most - growing insecurity, poor education results and a sputtering economy - which then opens the door to "the cults of personality" embodied by the Sanders and Trump campaigns.

I find it particularly odd that out of the embarrassment of riches that is the Republican field some can't seem to find anything redeeming about the lives these people have led. Others focus exclusively on their challengers' failings - as if all failures are equal.

We'd all be better served to recognize that our leaders aren't "spuerhuman beings"; that their failings don't automatically disqualify them from earning our votes; but that for incumbents if their ideas and policies don't seem to be working, the people get to choose to move in other directions.

If I had a chance to meet the man, I'd be hard pressed not to say to Senator Bennett, "Move it on over - your time in Washington DC is up. You're probably an alright guy but I don't buy your plans for the future just as I don't buy this President's justifications of past behaviors and policies."

I've called Senator Bennett

I've called Senator Bennett several times to ask him to vote against the Iran Deal. I told his staff members that I would be working against him for reelection if he didn't do that. I will indeed do that and I encourage others to do so, as well.

Shame on him for not responding to all the individuals he is supposed to represent. Let's make sure he doesn't return to the Senate for another term, as we did with Udall.

Excellent column as usual,

Excellent column as usual, Melanie Sturm!

Sure, Trump has raised some necessary conversation, but he's too bombastic, narcissistic, immature, incendiary and divisive (and did I mention mysogynistic?) to compete in the general, much less to lead America.

I've been saying for a few months now, and will continue shouting from the rooftops unless/until otherwise persuaded, that Carly and Marco are the GOP's best options to tackle Hillary head-on (and yes, it will be Hillary; to hope otherwise is to forget just how resilient the Clinton Machine is—like cockroaches).

Carly brings toughness, sharpness and savvy, along with (let's be honest) the best shot at blunting some of Hillary's first-woman-POTUS inevitabilty; she would shred Hillary in debate format. Marco brings the same edge, passion and tenacity with his own unique intangibles and compelling story.

In short: Wake up, GOP. Don't blow this. #FiorinaRubio2016

We may be getting trumped but

We may be getting trumped but all the other candidates say the same things GOP has been saying for last 2 elections and getting a ass whuping each time.

I'm going to stay with Trump come hell or high water...my reason is the left wing media, the RINO'S want him out and one of the same old worn out like Jeb Bush, Christy, put in Trump's place...

We elect them and then they disappear.....or join the Dems like McConell, J. Boehner....I'm not going to change horses..

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • No HTML tags allowed
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Article List

Thu, 09/10/2015

Thu, 09/12/2013

Thu, 06/06/2013

Tue, 01/15/2013

Thu, 05/24/2012

Thu, 03/15/2012

Thu, 07/07/2011

Thu, 03/31/2011