The Washington Blame Game: 2014 Won’t Be Any Different

On Sunday, CNN published an article called, “2014: The year of the blame game.” The focus of the story is that as we enter another year of election politics, President Barack Obama and members of Congress will partake in a massive blame game in order to gain an advantage over political opponents. However, is 2014 going to be any different from 2012 or 2010 or even off-election years? Isn’t the political theater an ongoing drama without intermission?

It seems all lawmakers and politicians in Washington do is partake in a blame game that goes on ad infinitum. In fact, if members of Congress and the president did a little less finger pointing and a little more work, there is no telling what Washington could have accomplished in the last few years and could continue to accomplish in the future. But, it is always about elections. 2014 will be no different from 2013 or 2012 or 2011 because lawmakers never truly get out of election mode.

Even if you have bipartisan legislation come out of the Senate like immigration reform — which CNN listed as one of the big issues that will define the 2014 blame game — it doesn’t even get consideration in a House committee because House Republicans are more concerned about being primaried. Nothing substantive ever happens with deficit spending or the budget because at the end of the day, it is all about what lawmakers can tell their constituents when they return to the campaign trail.

In most states, this means the smallest of ideological bases. Most lawmakers don’t care about the electorate as a whole — just that 5 percent or less they need to appease to get past the primaries because they know that is all they need. These are lawmakers who run in districts or states where general elections don’t really mean anything.

Every year, lawmakers use the same recycled talking points on issues that always take center stage during elections — like the economy, the debt and deficit, and immigration reform. There will be nothing exceptional about 2014. There will just be a couple of new issues for both sides to use in a never-ending contest of who can throw the most mud and come out the least dirty.

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Photo Credit: Gary Varvel