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January 20, 2015

Let the Mulcting Begin

Harry M. Covert

Without doubt, all of us “plain people” will be somewhat agog tonight. Even those who don’t have cable will be able to watch the assembled public spirited leaders put on smiling faces, plenty of crimson ties and scarves on the happy occasion in the Capitol where senators and representatives may be on their best behavior.


Yes, the President of The United States (POTUS) will march into the House of Representatives amidst smiles and handshakes for the annual show, the State of The Union (SOTU) address. This will be the best part of the whole procedure after the Sergeant-at-Arms yells at the top of his voice, “Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States.” Everyone stands, clapping their hands because it’s the right thing to do, acting like they can’t wait for the charade.


The president knows full well the show must go on and that this spectacle is not his dolce far niente. At the same time, the distinguished audience mostly dressed in staid blue and black suits, many with stylish powder blue ties, will be ready for bear. Not in the spirit of other POTUSes, they will be looking for the best way to make life uncomfortable for him.


One good thing is the solons assembled – I like this old time word for legislators – won’t have a chance at this stage to talk back or question. They will either be smirking, smiling or trying to applaud with some dignity the man from Chicago, via Hawaii, via Indonesia and Harvard. For the present, Mr. O has them by the throat. Sitting behind him will be the B’s –the effervescent Mr. Joseph Biden, President of the Senate and known wit, and Mr. John Boehner, Speaker of the House, the astute golfer who just may have a good cry.


All of these ceremonies will make some good television fare if we can stick with it through introductions of special guests. We will see the black robed justices of the Supreme Court, all of the bemedaled Joint Chiefs of Staff in full military dress; and, of course, the Cabinet members. These personages will be on their good behavior.


Somehow, at the risk of being a recalcitrant curmudgeon, I don’t think the New York tax cheat, race-baiter and alleged corporate briber – the irreverent Mr. Sharpton – will be seated next to Mrs. Obama. I don’t know this first-hand, but I would believe Frederick’s Kim Dine, the Capitol police chief, may think Mr. Sharpton may be welcome at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but not worthy to be among the smart people on Constitution Avenue.


Mr. O will give a good oration, even if he did not write it. He will look them all in the eye and use his executive privilege. Why not? If you got it, flaunt it. Well, probably the wrong context here. Then senators and representatives will be nice at least until they race to the press room, to their favored cable news outlets, pro and con, local and national and to their own tweeter audience. Please consider that we may have too much information, although the media eyes must always be watching.


The mulcting of Americans is going to continue. Good citizens will always hear there’s no money for schools, national health, law enforcement, senior citizens and all sorts of other needs, There is always a billion here and a trillion there for the Middle East, all of Africa and, some $7 billion for the United Nations. Good Lawd, it costs 1.7 cents to create a penny and eight cents for a nickel. Don’t try to get your bank to make such exchanges. They won’t.


The mulcting of Marylanders continues, too, in Annapolis. The legislature is busy now glad-handing and wheeling and dealing for our own good and the new governor inherits his throne tomorrow.


All over Frederick County, local jurisdictions, including our school board, will somehow unlearn the meaning of parsimonious governing, finding few reasons to be niggardly in guarding the coffers. Their in petto (in private) proceedings will continue on the understanding it’s for the good of us “plain people.”


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