“Politics is a contact sport.” –Carl Rove
Jack London’s story A Piece of Steak is about Tom King, the old boxer who has to fight just to get money for food. It opens before the fight, with King bemoaning the fact that he can’t buy a piece of steak (hence the name of the story) for energy.
Nevertheless he begins winning in the opening rounds against his opponent, the younger, favored Sandel. But as the rounds go on, King’s advantage becomes less and less. As King beats his much younger opponent, the young man goes into the clinch, and King, his body up against the younger Sandel’s, can feel him regaining his strength, his body repairing itself.
The Republicans are "IN." Some editorials after the 2014 elections said the Democrats were down for the count. (They weren’t.) It is true currently the Republicans are on top, and, Carl Rove (George Bush’s advisor) can be believed, politics does in some ways resemble a boxing match.
The Democrats are battered. (Just ask Harry Reid.) But they are not out. As some would like to think. If anything they are going into a clinch position, and like King, we can feel them repairing.
The only hope for the Republicans coming into office in a divided government, with Republicans on Capitol Hill and a Democrat in the White House is bipartisanship. If the president does not like a bill, he can always veto it, and is already threatening to. The Republicans must work with him to get things passed.
If Obama does veto it, then a second possibility for bipartisanship exists. Overturning the veto. But, in the senate alone that would require 67 votes. And, with all of their new found power there are only 54 Republicans. 13 Democrats are highly unlikely to peel off, but an effort could always be made.
The first fight, apparently, is going to be over the Keystone Pipeline. The pipe that will cost over 8,000,000,000 dollars. (Eight billion.) And be over 1,000 miles long. Supposedly its capacity would be around 800,000 gallons a day of oil piping down from Canada to Texas.
The Greens claim that it is going to cause massive problems for the environment, causing global warming, (or it is now global cooling, these things to tend to change all the time) and that they have reports to prove it. While others say that the Greens are wrong, that this is really great for American jobs and industry, and they also have reports to prove it.
Either way, this pipeline, put on hold for so long, might finally be coming up for a vote in the coming days in congress. It could possibly even have some Democratic support, as the Democratic Senator from Louisiana, (since replaced) in her last days of office, in December, tried to get a bill passed allowing it. She lost with the bill, and she also lost her seat, to a Republican in the House of Representatives, who put an identical bill there as well on the same day.
Already the name calling has begun. The fighting has started. Mitch McConnell, the Majority leader in the senate for the Republicans made the first gaff, claiming that his party was responsible for the economic growth last year in the third quarter, even though it happened before the election had even taken place. The Democratic Party responded to him in an email with the subject line “DNC to McConnell: Hahahahahahahahahahaha.”
Whatever happens with the pipeline, the Republicans have to remember that this is not the only fight. There are more to come, many more. In A Piece of Steak Jack London tells us that the older boxer Tom King was once very rich, but wasted all of his money.
The Republicans have political capitol right now, as long as they can hold onto it. In the final fight, you do not want to need a political favour, only to find that suddenly you don’t have enough left for that final knockout blow.
To finish the story of King, because he no longer enough money for the steak, he doesn’t have enough energy in the match, and falls back when only one more punch would have done the trick. The reinvigorated Sandel then takes him to the ropes, and eventually the ground, where King is counted out.
Only the Republicans can decide whether or not they follow in King’s footsteps. For right now they are on top. Watch it.
Andrew C. Abbott