Politicians supersizing debt debate

Will Americans swallow this burger?

You have to hand it to Mayor McCheese. Although he’s been out of office for years, he still knows how to work the polls. 

I mention it because I suspect he was the mastermind behind the headline-grabbing move this week to add apples to Happy Meals, ease up on the fries and blunt the gnashing teeth of some McDonald’s detractors.

In a public relations coup, the golden arches gang rolled out full-page advertisements in newspapers saying, in effect: We get it. You’re no longer impressed by the billions of hamburgers we’ve sold, and you’re tired of puffing like steam engines every time you tie your shoes. You want us to lay off the lard.

If only Washington could be so efficient.  
 
Welcome to the Capitol Hill Drive-Thru, would you like to try our new Immigration Policy/Gay Marriage mcombo?”

“Uh, ok.  How long will it take?”

“Forever.”

“Hmmm. How about an order of Bipartisanship with a side of Accountability?”

“Sorry. Fresh out.”

“By the way, the Health Care Reform Frittatas I ordered recently seemed a little skimpy.”

“Hey, pal, we’re doing what we can.”

“Then just give me a quick Debt Ceiling Deal salad.”

“Yeah. About that … ”

The goals of business and of government are admittedly different, yet you would think that each has at least some need to respond to the public. After all, McDonald’s faces a re-election of sorts every day. If they don’t deliver what people are after, their constituents will toddle off to Wendy’s, Burger King or somewhere else. So if people want more apples and fewer fries, that’s what they sell.  Heck, if demand for vegetables went wild, I’m sure we’d see McCarrots in a heartbeat.  Ideology is not on the menu.  

Washington, however, is a like a restaurant that can’t decide if it is cooking burgers or pizza — and refuses to acknowledge that the public is hungry for chicken. No matter how many voters say they want more cooperation and compromise, the big political players plow right ahead pushing a steady diet of bickering, partisan warfare and the special sauce of scare tactics.
 
Sure, they can always find someone to blame for the latest disconnect, but this restaurant seems to keep going downhill, no matter how many times the management changes.

– CNN’s Tom Foreman is a regular on “AC360°”/www.ac360.com and “The Situation Room.”


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