The Richmond Register


October 19, 2013

Check politics at door, please

FRANKFORT — “Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands: But he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed.”

– Iago in Shakespeare’s “Othello”

Alright, if you were responsible for a 600-word weekly political column where would you begin after the circus of the last three weeks?

How about with President Barack Obama’s statement that there are no winners? I can’t think of any.

I see plenty of losers, starting with us. We deserve better government, but this is the government we’ve chosen.

The people who were prepared to default on the nation’s debt are entirely reckless. Their irresponsibility ranks alongside that of the Democrats of the 1850s who were willing to tear the nation asunder and did.

No one knows for sure ? because we’ve never been there ? whether the economic implications would have been as horrific as every reputable economist predicted.

But why would we risk that by placing our faith in the economic expertise of people like Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, Sen. Ted Cruz or a Kentucky ophthalmologist over the world’s leading economic experts who predicted our home mortgage rates and unemployment would soar and the economy might collapse on top of all of us?

Why risk American honor?

What really astonishes me is that the people who talk about “American exceptionalism” would cavalierly throw away something that truly is exceptional about America: “the full faith and credit of the United States.”

That not only means that U.S. treasury bonds are seen by the world’s investors as the safest bet on the planet, it also says something about the honor of America.

One place on earth is seen by all the other places on earth as absolutely trustworthy.

So long as that reputation is intact, it pretty much guarantees we will fare better than the rest of the world economically. That is truly exceptional – and those who criticize as un-American anyone who disagrees with them would just toss that into the trash.

How mad would it be to negotiate that away? Thankfully we didn’t.

Kentucky’s other Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell deserves some credit for that. There is much to appreciate in McConnell’s ability to step in and avoid disaster at the last minute. But frankly, it would have been even more appreciated had he done it three weeks earlier. “Leader” should mean more than just a title.

But the sad fact is that no other Republican was apparently willing or capable of averting the disaster, and McConnell did.

Give him credit, too, for some political courage while facing challenges from Matt Bevin and Alison Lundergan Grimes back home. No matter what he did, he was going to be criticized by one side or the other, and in the end, he was by both.

Now they say they will negotiate a longer-term deal on the budget and deficit.

God help them to see that each side must give and face some mathematical realities.

Democrats must understand changes have to be made to entitlements.

Republicans must understand and concede that tax rates are historically low in the post-war era, and because of tax loopholes most in the 35 percent tax bracket actually pay an effective rate of only about 20 percent.

Make sensible but reasonable changes to entitlements.

Close loopholes but leave tax rates as they are. Leave the politics at the door for a change, and do what they know is right, even if it means talking straight to voters

That truly would be exceptional. Honorable, too.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at cnhifrankfort.

Text Only
  • 06.29 CrystalFarewell.jpg Starting over at Head Start

    All I ever wanted to be was a journalist. Having worked on my high school and college newspapers, I knew it was the career for me.
    I love talking to people, listening to their stories, being creative every day and experiencing new things. But as you know, news happens outside the hours of 9 to 5, and my job here at the Register rarely stayed within that time frame.

    June 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ike Adams They don’t make strawberries as they did back in the old days

    I’m not inclined to go through my archives at the moment, but it almost feels like the column I’m about to write has almost become an annual thing over the years.
    At least I know for sure that that this is not the first time that memories of picking strawberries there on Blair Branch on hot days in June has triggered this keyboard about this time of year.
    I grew up on a little subsistence, hillside farm deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, among the coalfields near the Virginia line.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Baby boomers have let technology rob their grandchildren of the joys of youth

    When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to see fathers and sons along creek banks fishing together or in the woods hunting squirrels or pitching horse shoes or even shooting marbles late in the afternoon in the cool hours before dark.
    Dads were teaching kids to play the games they grew up with. Little girls, learned from mothers,how to skip rope, play with jacks or play hopscotch.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg No Lincoln or Douglas in this debate

    Remember the famous slap-down in the 1988 vice presidential debate when Republican Dan Quayle compared his youth and limited government experience to those of John Kennedy’s when Kennedy ran for president?
    His Democratic opponent, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, acidly replied: “I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

    June 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Senate campaign already in full bloom

    Any hope for a respite in the U.S. Senate campaign following Tuesday’s primary disappeared immediately.
    Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes came out swinging in victory speeches which sounded like campaign kickoffs.
    McConnell commended Matt Bevin on “a tough (primary) race” and appealed to Bevin supporters to unite behind his re-election bid. That will be hard for Bevin and those who backed him.

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG ‘Taxpayer-eaters’ meet ‘self-serving politician-eaters’

    What some candidates could gain in this year’s election – beyond just winning office – is a stark reminder of how wrong political leaders were when declaring last year they had adequately addressed Kentucky’s public-pension crisis.
    Instead, legislators with serious courage deficiencies failed to agree on reforms beyond what they believe are “politically feasible.”

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Step Out, Step up for Diabetes Association

    Six weeks ago when I wrote here announcing the 2014 Edition of Team TKO’s American Diabetes Association, Step Out Walk Team, several dozen of you readers sent generous donations to sponsor grandson Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO) and me in the walk that takes place, rain or shine, in the mud or not, at Keeneland on the morning of May 31.
    Another several dozen of you either called, emailed or dropped a card in regular mail and asked that I remind you again “after the holidays” (Easter and Mother’s Day).

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Hitting the campaign trail

    The most watched race in the country ? the battle for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell ? has so far produced a bevy of charges and not much substance.
    We haven’t seen that much of McConnell or his likely Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes out on the campaign trail.
    McConnell’s primary opponent Matt Bevin has been much more active and visible, but his performance hasn’t enhanced his chances.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case of the scary black cat

    If Margie didn’t believe that black cats were the harbinger of bad luck, she certainly believed it when a black cat brushed against her leg while she was leaning over a large trash can burning garbage one late afternoon.
    Startled by the sudden appearance of the feline, Margie opened her mouth wide and let out a blood-curdling scream that could have awakened Count Dracula himself.

    May 10, 2014

  • Ike Adams Basking in the spring sunshine

    If you had asked me, as recently as two weeks ago, to make a list of things I expected to see on the first Monday in May of 2014, two of the things that I actually did see would not have been on the list, even if you’d required that it contain at least 500 items.
    I’d have been a bit skeptical about Ralph’s purple asparagus and his gorgeous snowball bush, both of which came through most admirably. And I would have had my doubts about the poppies that have been in our back yard for several generations and the bearded German Iris that Jeanette Todd gave us more than two decades ago. It faithfully stuns us there at the corner of the front porch every spring, but there they were, basking in absolute glory as the sun set Monday afternoon.

    May 8, 2014 1 Photo