Happy Groundhog Day!

By February 2, 2005General

Those of us who have crossed the two decade mark in Washington are fond of saying that this city exemplifies the movie, “Groundhog Day“, in that it’s the same day over and over again. For example, in almost any year, you can find a debate about tax reform and about trade. On the latter, it was Fast Track, then NAFTA, then PNTR, but the debate was the same: free trade or not. In any year divisible by 4 there is a minimum wage battle and every year we have the annual appropriations running of the bulls. Leave Washington, fall into a coma, come back, pick up right where you left off. There’s Sen. Kennedy, sitting right where he was when we left.

There is another interesting aspect of this Groundhog Day world in which we live. As in the film version, with the repetition of the day comes the absence of any institutional memory among any of the players. And so some Congressional Democrats can crow about there being no crisis in Social Security in spite of the fact that they cheered when President Bill Clinton said there was and when Al Gore brandished his lockbox. There are a thousand more examples like this. Click on “View or Submit a Comment”, below and let us know your favorite. The AFL-CIO is particularly unabashed about throwing old stands out the window in favor of new ones, and in using a steady stream of excuses as old ones grow outdated. No matter, every day starts fresh. Nobody remembers.

And so we just keep grinding it out, making sure manufacturers’ voices are heard here in debate after debate, even if it’s the same one. In short, to quote “Bluto” Blutarski, another statesman from another seminal film, when it comes to matters here in Washington, “It’s never over!” Hang in there.

Happy Groundhog Day!