February 26th, 2010
11:10 AM ET

Why centrist voters are fed up

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John P. Avlon
Special to CNN

Today's bipartisan health care meeting is being called a summit, a term that brings to mind diplomatic missions during wartime. That's a fitting description for the atmosphere in Washington. Political opponents are considered enemies.

Health care is just the latest example of government dysfunction; it's been derailed by hyper-partisanship, over-spending and the disproportionate influence of special interests.

Independent voters, the largest and fastest growing segment of the electorate, hold the balance of power in American politics, but they have once again been shut out of the debate. The professional partisans in Washington ignore them at their peril.

Many Americans associate broken government with the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina and the anxieties that accompany the current manic recession. But the roots of independent voters' frustration go deeper.

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. Renee Hayes

    My friend will die in the next few months because she is one of the "invisible-faceless" working poor in America. She has stage 4 cancer. Her employer did not offer health coverage. She paid taxes, worked hard, and was a good american citizen.

    It's incomprehensible that we have such suffering while the "talking heads" with "talking points" play inhumane politics. Meanwhile more people are being priced out of the health care market everyday (my rates went up 39%), laid off, coverage is being dropped by insurers, not offered by employers, or lost through layoffs and job loss.

    Maybe if we require that congress, and their staffs have the same health care plan as the one proposed and passed by them (lowest tier coverage for those citizens who are the working poor or who have lost their insurance and must rely on one of those "personally accountable" catastrophic health care plans) they will do a better job at crafting the bill.

    After all, they are employed by us, and their healthcare plans are paid by our "taxes" so there should be parity in benefits. Right? This probably will not affect the congress men and women themselves (since they have been reasonably paid by us, and have cultivated many contacts during their careers which has helped them to build personal wealth); but, perhaps they will have more empathy when they are exposed to staffers who will have to make hard choices that many Americans face everyday.

    I am a "recovering republican" who is now a registered independent. I am very frustrated with congress and the media. I am tired of the oversimplification of such a complex issue that has such significant impact on our economy. It's inconceivable to me that the people who claim to be enlightened and/or of high moral standing use this issue to polarize Americans for their own gain. Funny they should think that we are all so stupid – – we are watching.

    February 26, 2010 at 4:08 pm |