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July 30, 2012

Summer Doldrums

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

Is it just me, or does this summer seem like a drag? The first problem was taking a week's vacation to Myrtle Beach in early June. Normally, vacations have always been a late summer thing, but the chance to spend a whole week at the shore with the children and grandchildren was just too tempting.


Had the long-term consequence function been working, vacation planners would have realized July and August would last forever.


As a local public administrator, the sudden and violent storm of late June is still being felt. However, Potomac Edison crews did a great job in getting Brunswick back in power.


At the height of the storm, 92% of Brunswick was without power. Within 48 hours, most of those service outages were restored. Compared to other places, that was as swift a response as anyone could ask for.


That doesn't mean there isn't still a lot to do. Brush removal efforts continue, even to this day, and negotiations over insurance claims will last for months.


Summer, ugh!


Normally, the summer of a presidential year ought to hold some appeal for a lifelong political junkie. Not so this year.


In what promises to be a depressing political outcome, we will either end up with a basically incompetent but eternally hopeful agent of change, or an elite multi-millionaire who appears unable to share his vision for restoring the American economy.


In the meantime, we get to hear candidates describing the borderline inhumanity of their opponents, leaving one with the sense that the election of the other party's nominee will result in the death of the first born, famine, and pestilence.


Campaign staff and surrogates are even worse. A favorite pastime has become listening to David Axelrod, the Obama campaign manager, try to convince people that even though a national poll reflects that 53% of the American people lack confidence in the president's ability to deal with the economy, this is actually a good thing.


The logic is this: At least it's not 70% of the American people who doubt President Barack Obama's stumbling and fumbling policy direction.


And then there's Team Romney. In a mad dash to cover up his past record as a northeastern moderate Republican, his campaign embraces the far right of the GOP like a long lost relative coming home after decades in the wilderness.


It's one thing to flat out disagree with what the Obama Administration wants to do; it's another entirely to forget about past positions and decisions in a confusing swirl of flip-flops and create a whole new political reality.


There is some hope, though. Washington typically shuts itself down in August, as the Congress sends its members and staff on vacation.


If they're off to the Delaware beaches, Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard, at least they're not screwing up our nation. Maybe we should grant them more time off, given that they currently only actually work for about a third of the year.


All this talk of vacation makes me want to pack the suntan lotion, beach chair and towel. I'll do my best to avoid the congressmen.


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