03/17/07 — Distractions: Much of Washington’s bickering just political gamesmanship

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Distractions: Much of Washington’s bickering just political gamesmanship

Political manuevering is part of the game of politics.

It is how you know if you are a political appointee that when an election is nearing, it is time to start looking for another job. If there is a new party in power, that means that you are probably headed for the unemployment line.

It is part of the game. It is expected. And while it might sound harsh to those who are in the private world of business, it is commonplace in Washington.

And like everything else in Washington, it is fodder for any election.

The congressional hearings, investigations and everything else that goes along with pre-election and lame duck president years are in full swing.

Voters who think that the Alberto Gonzales “scandal” is the last to come out of the woodwork have not been following Washington politics long. There will probably be much more before George W. Bush turns over his seat in the White House to the next president of the United States. It is part of the game — discredit the party in power — even if yours likely would have done the same thing, but did not get around to it or did not get caught first. It is becoming the way of politics in Washington.

And, amusingly enough, the political bickering and name-calling will probably not be limited to disputes between the parties, either. There has already been plenty of bashing among those who want to earn their party’s nomination.

What we have to decide as voters is how much we want to listen to and what is really important to us in this nation’s next president.

It might be policy — or it might be character.

It might be a record of experience with foreign affairs — or it might be a focus on domestic issues.

It might be experience — or it might be youth.

You name it, there is an opposite for it.

This early in the process, it might be better to focus on what we value most rather than who claims to offer those attributes. It might even be more important to consider record of service rather than party of record.

There will be lots of attempts to divert our attention from the really important issues in the campaign. There will be hearings, accusations and a variety of other distractions throughout the primary and presidential election campaign season. It is part of the game.

We will have to decide as a nation what is noise and what is meaningful commentary that will give us a clue as to who will be the best person to put in the White House.

Political spinners from both sides don’t think we can sort out significance from insignificance, mountains from mole hills.

It is time we prove them wrong.

And as that famous movie line goes: Fasten your seat belts. It is going to be a bumpy ride.

Published in Editorials on March 17, 2007 5:42 PM