Lucy Takes Washington

Steve Russell
5 min readMay 26, 2021
Photo by Boo Swindon from Pixabay

I first noticed what was going on during the debate over Obamacare, but it could be I’m just slow. The leader of the Republican Party in the senate had stated plainly the very top of his agenda was “making Barack Obama a one term president.”

Taking him at his word would have saved me a lot of grief, but it was the kind of grief that comes with playing pundit. Errors come with the territory. You don’t have to admit your errors, although I do as a matter of commitment to being right as often as possible.

I take little solace in being only one of many who could not believe that such a high-placed player in a two-party system would lead his party off the field when there was so much governing to be done. Then, as now, the country faced serious problems that I thought would require all hands on deck.

Nothing I had learned in the “government” department (as they called political science at the University of Texas) dissuaded me from my conviction that one party government was a bad idea and therefore the total removal of the opposing party from the political landscape would be a bad thing. One party government will make you a believer in checks and balances.

Both Oklahoma and Texas had during my formative years one party government by the Democrats. The few who admitted to Republican leanings were pitiful voices in the wilderness. We never did get to a place where a speaker’s reference to “the party of Taft and Hoover” cued the band to strike up heroic music.

Everybody liked Eisenhower so much his slogan became “I like Ike,” but nobody really knew which party he was going to pick when his friends urged him to run for president. He would have won as a Democrat but winning as a Republican gave his government a clean slate, with a minimum of decisions burdened by who owed what to whom. Ike could easily have won a third term if his adopted Republican Party has not been in such a hurry to get presidential term limits in the Constitution, lest the Democrats find another FDR.

When I was a kid, all the crooks on either side of the Red River were Democrats. They gravitated to the Democratic Party for the same reason…

Steve Russell

Enrolled Cherokee, 9th grade dropout, retired judge, associate professor emeritus, and (so far) cancer survivor. Memoir: Lighting the Fire (Miniver Press 2020)