What a bunch of turkeys

Richard Leib writes about Washington politics.
Posted on Nov. 25, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

Richard Leib

As Thanksgiving Day fades into the past and the fiscal cliff rises up in the future, I find myself thinking about the fighting postures of politicians and poultry.

I once read of a turkey crashing through the window of a truck. According to the article, the turkey survived, struck a fighting posture, and caused the driver to stop the vehicle and flee.

Fighting posture? Yep, that’s what the police report said. Somehow this conjures up a comic image for me, but who am I to say how scary an angry turkey might look.

I wonder if an injury caused by a feisty turkey would be covered under Obamacare. I suppose it would, but the insurance coding could be tricky. Probably in the 2,800-plus page document the proper coding can be found if one knows how to navigate through the instrument.

And if there’s a question, that’s what the ACA Independent Payment Advisory Board is presumably for.

Founding father Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird. I always chuckled at the idea, but maybe Ben had seen one in a fighting posture and had been impressed.

Now the fiscal cliff approaches and the gentlemen and gentlewomen of Washington are freshly back from their recess and are assuming their fighting postures.

“I want to compromise,” said the re-elected president. But he made clear his version of compromise in his first post-election address. He said that if Republicans don’t agree to impose higher taxes on the wealthy, he will allow taxes on all Americans to rise. Ummm, OK.

And in like fashion, the Boehner brigade said Republicans want to cooperate with President Obama. “But raising tax rates is unacceptable,” Boehner said. “Frankly, it couldn’t even pass the House. I’m not sure it could pass the Senate.” Ummm, OK.

Personally, I think the Republicans should let the “tax cuts for the wealthy” expire. I think it’s just a symbolic measure that the president wants, anyway. I would make it very clear that I thought it was the wrong thing to do. But in the interest of beloved compromise, it’s a gift that can be given.

Probably the class-envy crowd would feel they’d scored one for their team, but earners who are irritated by the increase would find ways around it. The truth is that a 4 percent tax increase on high-income earners will have no real effect on much of anything except a few egos.

Today Thomas Jefferson is looked upon as one our greatest founders. But his presidency was one of conflict. It was one of the most bitterly disputed presidencies in our nation’s history. Jefferson quickly learned to avoid dogma. He believed that “governing and philosophical purity are incompatible.”

Jefferson disliked confrontation so much that he rarely invited Republicans and Federalists to his home at the same time. “Dine with friend and foe alike” was his practice. But not at the same time.

In a recent NBC report from Connecticut, Marcos Carreras reported that his car had been attacked by wild turkeys on two occasions. One came right up and pecked on the car door. A YouTube of the encounter is available. It’s boring, but it’s available.

They strutted, gobbled, and pecked, as they wove through the traffic jam they had caused. But they achieved little other than creating congestion, a short news clip, and a mediocre YouTube.

In Washington, it’s a fair bet that some kind of deal will be struck. And the jam that exists among our legislators will unclog, if only temporarily.

Let us hope there will be a minimum of posturing and brinkmanship. Let’s leave that to the turkeys.

Former Elkhart furniture store owner Richard Leib has served on planning committees in several industries. An avid auto fan, he raced in the 1972 coast-to-coast Cannonball Run. He has written on a wide range of subjects.

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