Politicians make everyone dumber | VailDaily.com

Politicians make everyone dumber

Bill Frist and John Kerry were both extremely successful, extremely well-educated men ” and then they got elected to Congress.

Whether they actually lost IQ points or are just pretending to have lost their minds, these guys have become capital-sized dopes.

Heart surgeon Frist’s unmatched achievement in idiocy was his videotape diagnosis of Terri Schiavo’s brain injury. Kerry proved his intellectual regression during his presidential campaign ” first, when he couldn’t come up with a stance on the war in Iraq; and second, when he didn’t stand up to Karl Rove’s vivisection of his war record.

But Frist and Kerry are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s going on in Congress. Sure, it’s an epidemic of boneheadedness, but more important, there’s a leadership deficit in the nation’s capital that’s rising as fast as the national debt.

Leading the charge is James Inhofe, the Republican senator from Oklahoma. During a recent debate on gay marriage, Inhofe hit the low point of recent congressional oration when he said, according to talkleft.com, “I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of a homosexual relationship.”

Oh yeah, Inhofe also insists global warming is a big hoax.

How about Tom DeLay? Forget the American people, forget whether they can afford health care or fuel, it’s all about amassing power for this police-photogenic bug zapper.

Thanks for protecting the homeland, boys. Thanks for sticking up for working men and women.

At the top of the Senate’s heavily populated “Please-don’t-run-for-president list” is Hillary. She’s shrewd if not sharp, cunning if not clever, but she’s turning into John Kerry the Sequel before our eyes.

She’ll say anything, she’ll take any stand ” against abortion, for abortion, pro-choice, sorta-choice, no-choice. She’s a hawk and a dove, and why do 21st-century Democrats think their candidates have to shed their souls to run for the White House?

Remember Clinton playing the sax? He was pretty popular.

Instead of showing any leadership on critical issues like the war on Iraq, the war on terror, the environment or alternative energy ” instead of pandering to Joe Sixpack and giving him a higher minimum wage ” Republicans are trying to snuff out flag burning and gay marriage and Internet gambling.

And who knows what the Democrats are up to ” other than kowtowing to religious fundamentalists who will never vote for them no matter how much they offer to water down their principles. Seems like they’re still trying to perfect the wishy-washy, always-back-down, take-no-stand Kerry model for 2008.

Is this all we demand of our leaders? Banality and buffoonery? At the last minute they’ve come up with a bill to broaden stem cell research. The president delivered on his promised veto, and our legislators lack the guts to defy him and give very sick Americans more hope.

Unfortunately, politicians don’t only make themselves stupider ” they suck the IQ points out of us as well. They’ve convinced some of us that whether two gay men marry each other is somehow important to the nation’s well-being.

By stifling or short-shrifting investigations of wire-tapping, bank-tapping and Abu Ghraib, Congress has convinced us we don’t care how much power the White House grabs. Instead, our elected leaders have us worried about bad words on television.

Congress has persuaded us we don’t want to know the government’s secrets. Let them spy on us as long as we can see pictures of baby Brangelina.

Sadly, both parties have convinced voters that the few members of Congress who do try to lead are wackos. Look at John McCain ” he could only stand by his principles so long until he was cowed into sucking up to the administration and toeing the party line.

Democrat Russ Feingold was pariahed by his cowardly colleagues for trying to hold the president accountable. And nobody in the party stands up for Howard Dean, who most of the time seems to believe what he says. But he may just have too much energy for dour Harry Reid, who’s so spineless in his defense of Democratic ideals one could believe he’s a Republican plant.

None of this will change, of course, until we as voters demand leaders who lead.

We have to vote for politicians who worry about real problems and global dangers instead of pointless power-trippers who distract us with pettiness and social tyrannies.

City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926 or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com. Check out his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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