Let�s Get Serious Here

Here we go again.

To use a catchy Obama phrase during his run for the high office, it seems like these days, it’s always silly season in politics, and the news today of Tom Daschle withdrawing his name as Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services only continues this pattern.

Now we all must suffer through yet another week-long news cycle as the cable networks unearth every partisan hack for commentary, culminating with Sunday morning’s All Star lineup of hacks, pundits, gasbags, and blowhards, reveling in Barack Obama’s missteps in his first two weeks in office.

What’s worse: it’s post-Super Bowl, the quietest time of year for sports, so there’s really nothing else on. Tune in, everyone! Let’s get ready to talk about really non-substantive stuff. It’s not like there’s anything else going on: more and more people are unemployed these days, so television viewership’s got to be way up.

Let me say this first: Secy. Geithner’s and Tom Daschle’s apparent inability to manage a personal ledger is truly reprehensible and there’s really no excuse. While there is an argument to be made for the expeditious installation of a Treasury secretary in Geithner, despite his tax problems, Daschle should have been dismissed the moment he acknowledged his problems in unpaid taxes.

Why? Because we can’t get caught up in the forever silly season of politics right now. Even though Tom Daschle is an ardent supporter of President Obama who was tapped to push through his health care policy — an area where other leaders, Obama said in December, have failed:

“Our leaders offer up detailed health care plans with great fanfare and promise, only to see them fail, derailed by Washington politics and influence peddling.”

Well, if this part of the Obama agenda is not derailed, it’s certainly delayed — and things are supposed to be urgent.

Here’s a very incomplete list of what we need to be doing:


  • Passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and working out fundamental differences in how to stimulate an economy in continued decline


  • Closing the military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay

And the beat goes on and on and on. This list is about the same length as silly season, which is, apparently, forever. I’m only watching Lehrer and will hold my nose through Sunday: say no to Morning Joe, swim through the Olbermann and Maddow snarky sludge, wade through Will, march past Mitchell, gallop over Gregory, take cover from Cokie, and shy away from Schieffer.

In fact, just keep walking sirs and ma’ams. There’s nothing to see here this week.

Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.

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