This just in from CNN: The Senate and House are working together to fast-track legislation to end the mandatory furloughing of FAA traffic controllers. It's being hailed as something of a legislative miracle! But it isn't.
What's happening is, for the first time since the GOP got their post-Bush era budget & austerity religion, the public is having to suffer some swift and visible pain due to their policies. Oh, not the public that's already been suffering due to medical bankruptcies, draconian drug policies, capricious wars or poverty, but the folks doing well enough to be flying in the first place. Oh, not the kind of slow, steadily ratcheted-up pain that robs you of privacy, a livable wage and affordable medical care, this is the kind of pain lots of people will notice because of its sudden in-your-face inconvenience.
These are not the people we want suffering, and this is not the way we want them suffering, because that's a lot more likely to influence their choice in the voting booth. Hell, they might even remember it a year-and-a-half later! And so swift action is the mode of the day, calling together the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, the lion and lamb, to lay down together in solidarity to solve a very visible consequence of their actions.
This was a (sadly) effective strategy for managing public opinion for the Iraq war: Keep the public from incurring any painful cost to remind them of the country's situation. No draft. No tax increases. As long as the public can drive their SUVs anywhere and pick up a latte whenever it suits them, things can't really be that bad, right?
I'm an occasional flier myself, and I hate the inconveniences of canceled flights as much as the next guy, but I'm thankful the public was finally hit with a pain point which seems to be, as Michael Palin put it,
"... the only way to get the jaded, video-sated public off their f%$king asses ...".Which is all the reason in the world for congress to whip themselves out of dysfunction just long enough to bring on the novocaine and vicodin.
Here's hoping that instead we stay awake and aware long enough this time for it to derail this policy train.