Politics today – sorry.

As the nation stands on the verge of being unable to pay our bills and losing our good credit rating, there have been thousands of posts on politics and the grandstanding, the “acting like toddlers screaming mine,” the “what-if” scenarios, and who is to blame. Count me in. Sort of.

I don’t see a way out of this mess in the next twenty-four hours, all of which tells me we have worse problems down the road. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, one thing should be clear. We have a crisis of leadership.

As I’ve watched this chaos unfold, no-one looks strong or reasonable or intelligent enough that I want them as our nation’s next president. The problem is particularly acute on the Republican side. John Boehner can’t coordinate his own party. Former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has made a few public statements, but not anything people can rally around. Michelle Bachmann is too busy primping for photo opps to be spending any serious time getting anything congressional done.

Not that the democrats are faring much better in terms of demonstrating leadership – perhaps because they are keeping more tight lipped. Other than the president, I can’t think of a one who has spoken out. Perhaps they remember the old adage–better to be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

I wonder what this means for the next round of presidential elections. In a crisis that should have allowed someone or several someones to stand up and look presidential, or authoritative, or trustworthy, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell seem to be the only ones who tried. I don’t know what their level of presidential interest is, but they are hardly household names. I admire that there are a few politicians left in congress who are willing to do their jobs, but is it enough?

I can’t help but wonder, are there any viable presidential candidates out there on either side? Is the door now open to a third party? Will we even remember this crisis in 2016?

What are your thoughts?

Explaining Politics to Kids

My daughter is eight and my son is four and both are interested in the idea of electing a president.  I remember elections being, exciting when I was little, but also a little scary and very, very confusing.  Even a lot of adults struggle with the Electoral College, PACs and more. And this is why I am a huge fan of Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty for President.  {sorry there is no picture – my new computer is cranky about keyboard shortcuts}

Bad Kitty books have a hybrid comic book/chapter book vibe and are perfect for the 7-12 set, but even my son likes them.  In this brilliant addition to the Bad Kitty’s adventures, our anti-heroine decides to run for president of the neighborhood cat council.  Over the course of the book, the cats have a caucus, kiss babies, debate, run advertising, gather endorsements and cast ballots.  Although feline issues differ from ours, the cats divide themselves into two political parties, one representing the right side of the street and one for the left side and engage in a political battle royale that illustrates how the national government in D.C. is supposed to work.  Better yet, the Bruel also teaches kids how politics actually functions.

So go ahead, read, laugh and be enlightened.