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Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

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Shortly after midnight a young pilot named Roger Peterson welcomed them aboard. The charter flight bound for Fargo took off in a snow squall about 12:30 AM. Bass guitarist Waylon Jennings had given up his seat to the Big Bopper because the Bopper had a cold and needed to get to the next hotel to get some rest. Buddy Holly took the seat next to the pilot. Lead guitarist Tommy Allsup lost a coin flip to Richie Vallens for the remaining seat. Aging Baby Boomers know all too well the rest of the story. The next morning the wreckage of the small plane was found in a snowy cornfield about five miles north of the Mason City airport. There were no survivors. February 3rd, 1959 would be forever immortalized as the day the music died. Some refer to it as the day American innocence was lost. Rock and Roll would never be the same. 


I am by nature an incurable optimist. I believe as Ronald Reagan did that America’s best days are still ahead. That we remain that shining city on the hill.

I hope that I am wrong, but I can’t shake the foreboding feeling surrounding the budget deal. The feeling that Friday March 23rd will be remembered as the day the music died for all of us who had so much hope for President Trump and his agenda. Unfortunately, we are all passengers aboard this plane. None of us can give up our seat or lose a coin flip. We all share the same fate. 

The spectacle in the Oval Office Friday afternoon keeps running through my mind. The sorry excuses for giving up so much for so little. We knew that Donald Trump was not a penny-pinching conservative. But, trading almost everything he promised during the campaign for a handful of new F-18’s? Really? The military industrial complex and the Left got what they wanted. We (or should I say our grandkids) got the bill. Remember, this is a President who had just taken bold and controversial actions to shore up our trade deficit. On Friday his capitulation will allow the budget deficit to balloon. The President can bellow, “Never again!” But the damage is done. It will be difficult to unmake this sausage. The Democrats could not conceal their joy. They know that their worst case scenario is that they will be able to run out the Trump clock with continuing resolutions. They will thereby be able to maintain their spending priorities. Planned Parenthood and PBS will continue get their money. The wall will not. 


Perhaps we should have known that the fix was in. During the lead up, Mick  Mulvaney, the administration’s singular voice for fiscal sanity went dark. Perhaps I missed him, but I don’t recall his presence in the Oval Office for the festivities on Friday afternoon. He had clearly lost the argument. The Pentagon had won. Who could blame him if he were the next to tender his resignation. Mrs. Conway may not be far behind. She has to know the damage this has done. 

I will never completely understand why we Republicans believe that every department in the federal government wastes enormous amounts of taxpayer dollars…except the Defense Department. The Pentagon’s answer to every question is “yes we can do that, but we will need more funding.” Of course Congress can never question their spending as long as we have boots on the ground or there is trouble somewhere in the world. Just two weeks ago, General Jim Mattis flew to Afghanistan to redefine victory as a political reconciliation between Kabul and the Taliban. All that blood and treasure for this? Instead of continuing to give the Joint Chiefs blank checks, perhaps it is time to realize that there are problems in the world that our military just can’t solve. Defeating a self-destructive ideology is one of them. I support carrying a big stick. But, we simply can’t afford to keep sticking our big nose into everyone else’s business. 

It was only last week we were heartened by a poll which showed that GOP intensity was at parity with the Democrats. The blue wave was another media myth, or so we thought. This budget agreement may have put a fork in that. If that blue wave does develop and Republicans crash in November, I suspect experts will sift through the wreckage looking for clues. But, to many of us the answer will be clear. The budget deal signed March 23rd will be remembered as the day the music died. The Trump movement would never be the same. 


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