D.C. needs Rubber Duck
By Joseph Sabino Mistick
Published: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
It may be time to move the Rubber Duck to the banks of the Potomac. With its Pittsburgh departure upon us, there is clearly no place that needs it more. And there it should stay until the habit of government by crisis is purged.
At first blush, the whole idea of the 40-foot-tall Rubber Duck, bobbing silently, with that enigmatic smile, makes no sense at all. But in time, you realize that part of its magic is that it also does no harm.
And that second quality is what sets the duck apart from the gaggle of 40 or 50 Republican House members who make no sense at all, but who would destroy the world's economy, just for perverse bragging rights with their spiritual leader, Sen. Ted Cruz. The nation would be better served if they followed the duck.
The duck drew huge crowds in Pittsburgh, and while the kids were naturals, the grown-ups suddenly felt like kids again, drawn back to simpler times. That errant crowd of Washington politicians could use a reminder of the days when they were taught to respect the will of the larger group, not selfishly ruining it for everyone else.
Tea-party politicians like Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas could use a refresher on the evils of bullying. Shortly after casting a vote that led to the government shutdown, Neugebauer set the tone for his crowd by publicly castigating a park ranger at the National World War II Memorial for blocking veterans' access.
As it turned out, the ranger had been put there to help Honor Flight veterans gain access. Not only did the ranger stand up to the lout, the angry crowd gave the hypocrite a much-deserved scolding, driving him away, and the whole thing went viral.
It was also back in their rubber-ducky days when most kids learned to put their “brains in gear” before putting their “mouths in motion.” Another tea-party Republican, Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, is new to politics, a large-animal veterinarian in real life, obviously more at ease with horse suppositories than international economics.
Yet, when asked about the impact of failing to raise the debt ceiling, Yoho thoughtlessly and quickly opined, “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets.”
One Republican colleague called that “just crazy talk” and Business Insider gave Yoho the “#1 Stupidest Thing That's Been Said About The Debt Ceiling” award.
The duck has much to teach that embittered D.C. cabal, including lessons about playing fair. Since, for many of this disloyal opposition this fight is really about ObamaCare, and their ire will not end soon if ever, some reflection on the simple values of their youthful days would make them better Americans.
Those who want to change or repeal ObamaCare must do it the same way it was enacted, fairly and according to the rules. Win some elections, get the votes and do it. They cannot just throw the ball over the hill to get their way. Just ask the Rubber Duck.
Joseph Sabino Mistick, a lawyer, law professor and political analyst, lives in Squirrel Hill (SabinoMistick@aol.com).
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