Mississippi’s federal lawmakers who see obstruction as the path to economic prosperity might as well be down in a Biloxi casino playing the longest odds the house has to offer.
The oddity is that they think this is the ticket they’ve been handed.
Where and how did the tables get turned?
Used to be we rose to the challenge of making things better. Now problem solving has become a pursuit for patsies. Leave that to the losers.
It’s better to be bold and throw lots of hard blocks. Or so political strategists tell us.
True, an angry electorate has expressed a clear preference for a different sort of representation.
Voters said the status quo has to go.
But we did not hear them say they want a search-and-destroy strategy — in fact, not even a game of keep-away.
Their expectation is for constructive action and strategies focused on the public good.
As Mississippi’s congressional delegation looks ahead to 2011, here are some numbers they should keep framed in their minds: 59 percent, 14.4 percent, 9.7 percent.
The first is the percentage of Mississippians living paycheck to paycheck. Second is the number of delinquent mortgages Mississippians had at mid-year. Last is an all too familiar number — Mississippi’s jobless rate.
The picture is much the same nationally, though Mississippi’s decades of economic struggle cast a deeper bleakness few other states can know.
Across Mississippi, homes sit vacant and losing value by the day, their former owners long since forced out by a foreclosure crisis and recession that threatens to become what some framers of conventional wisdom are calling “the new normal.”
Yet another “new normal” is settling in: agree to nothing, obstruct all you can and compromise be damned.
What does that gain Mississippi?
The short answer is a lot more pain.
Let’s get back to accountability and forget scorched-earth obstructionism. Our problems are too immense to do otherwise.