1. Opinion

More politics as theater

Published Jul. 9, 2012

Here we go again. In this week's kabuki dance, President Barack Obama renewed his call Monday to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for anyone earning more than $250,000. Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled House will vote again Wednesday to repeal Obama's signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act. In each case, it's a tired act that leads to nowhere.

If Obama were interested in resolving the fate of the tax cuts before the election, he would call for them to expire at the end of the year for anyone earning more than $1 million. That is the threshold embraced by some House Democrats, and it would be tougher for Republicans to reject. At the very least, it would show a good-faith effort at negotiation.

If House Republicans were interested in health care, they would propose their own alternative to the Affordable Care Act that would provide health coverage to millions of Americans. Or at least they would rewrite the law and keep popular parts of it that already are in place. No one questions whether it could be improved.

Instead, the president and House Republicans will go through the motions to excite their most partisan supporters and campaign contributors. The more independent-thinking voters who will decide the November election will remain frustrated, and Washington will remain deadlocked. No wonder so many Americans are disengaged from politics and cynical about government.