When Mr. Blunt and Cranky was but a lad (and, to be quite honest, as a  young adult), he often failed to listen to his mother and father when they extolled the virtues of taking this path versus the other, and warned him of dangers and pitfalls to be found on that “other” path. Sometimes he found out that they were full of beans and he had a great time.  Sometimes he found that they were correct, usually whilst cursing the injuries he had sustained by following said “other” path. Never mind that he extolled the virtues of his parents when speaking of them, he still ignored their sage counsel on far too many occasions.

Karma being karma, your correspondent has been likewise treated by his offspring, who have experienced eerily similar results when they have listened (or not) to his “do as I say, not as I did” speeches. And it hurts to see those you love injured in spite of your best efforts.

Anyone who has had such experiences should feel a pang on behalf of the founding fathers of these here United States o’ America: they told us what not to do, warned us of the consequences, and are no doubt cringing in the afterlife as we proceed to ignore their advice.

For example: President Washington’s farewell speech, in which he offered this timely warning: However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. (Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796).  Parties have indeed become potent engines for the cunning cockroaches who “serve”us, particularly in the past few years.

Consider this example: Senator Mitch McConnell, who has said on more than one occasion that his party’s number one priority was to win the White House for itself in 2012, and since saying such  has shown that he meant it via his actions in the Senate.  Not national defense, not deficit reduction, not jobs, not tax cuts, nope, none of these things have as high a priority as getting one of his fellow party members installed in that weirdly-shaped little room at 1600 PA Ave.

This is a bigger problem than most of us realize, and is playing out as the “Father of our country” foresaw.  Not only do we have politicos putting the good of their party over the good of people, but they aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they are doing so: and the media and the public don’t seem to much care. While collecting their paycheck from the taxpayers, these party hacks are working on behalf of another employer. How many employers would tolerate such behavior? Answer: one, and only one (the taxpaying public). Any other boss would bounce an employee right out the door for such conduct.

To remedy the situation, this modest proposal: dock the pay of any and all politicians when they are doing party-building tasks during working hours. Their party can pay them for this work, not us. Any pay that the politicos forfeit can go back into the funding pool, to be used for useful things. Also, publish the percentage of time these buffoons spend on party work vs. the people’s work. (Oh, and if you’re going to say “doing party work IS doing the people’s work”, well here’s a news flash for you– most Americans do not pay dues to any one political party, so that argument goes down like one of Dave Vitter’s diaper-fetish hookers. Save the party work for your free time, not on Mr. B & C’s dime.)

Better yet, take President Washington’s words to heart, and set some limits on the powers of political parties, so that their members have a better idea of their priorities when elected to serve the people.