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Photos: top left: David Maril with the late Chuck Thompson, the voice of the Orioles and Colts, the summer he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993; top right: a perspective shot of Maril at Wrigley Field; featured photo: journalist Ken Decoste with the late, great Harry Caray and Maril.

Cavalcade of Columns

Democratic and Republican parties no longer doing what’s best and serving all the people

It’s time to form a centrist-moderate party, with Kasich running for president, that stresses tolerance and bipartisan cooperation

Stubborn and self-centered extremists have too much power in both parties

By David Maril

I’m a lifelong Democrat.

Years ago in college, I marched against the Vietnam War when Richard Nixon expanded military action with accelerated bombing in Cambodia.

But you know something? I’m ready to join a new political party if it could be successfully launched.

The new party?

Let’s call it the Tolerance Party. It’s base would be moderates and centrists with a mandate for civilized debate, common sense, ethics, flexibility, and respect for reasonable points of view presented in a responsible way.

I don’t know about you, but isn’t it getting tiresome listening to the rhetoric and pontificating of diehard right-wingers and self-righteous extremists on the left?

The United States has never been more diverse, with numerous regions and countless communities of different cultures and people with wide ranges of lifestyles and points of view. That’s America and it’s something to be proud of.

CONVERSELY, the political mood in this country, especially among the elected officials running the show in Washington, could not be more rigid, short-sighted, self-centered or divisive. There’s little effort or concern to find common ground, compromise, be respectful and get things done for the good of the overall country. Too many things are ego driven, battle lines are drawn early and it’s my way or the highway.

Democrats are laughing and rejoicing over the ineptitude of the Republicans who, despite controlling both Houses and the White House, were unable to kill Obamacare and replace it with their patchwork plan.

The lack of leadership and unity in the Republican Party is astounding. There’s no sign of teamwork or rational behavior to achieve success.

On one side, there’s a group of stubborn, unrealistic conservative ideologues who don't know the meaning of teamwork.

Then on the left side of the party are a group of moderates who did not want to throw their economically struggling voters under the bus just to get a bill passed.

In the middle were the traditional Republicans who were stymied trying to placate the two sides.

Paul Ryan, a well-intentioned Speaker of the House, doesn’t have the vision or leadership skills to control this disorganized and undisciplined body. Donald Trump, our so-called president, was only interested in putting a win on his personal scoreboard and exposed the fact that he is not a master negotiator when it comes to the ways of Washington.

YES, IT’S A GOOD THING the Republicans were too screwed up to accomplish their healthcare mission. Killing the Affordable Care Act would have taken away health coverage from millions of poor people and made the healthcare problem even worse.

However, the reality is the dysfunction on display with the GOP is a frightening illustration of what is wrong in Washington.

And this isn't just limited to the GOP.

The Democrats are just as divided and in as much disarray.

Instead of laughing at how foolish Ryan and Trump came off in mishandling their healthcare scheme, divisive and self-centered Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should look in the mirror and then try to contribute a little bipartisan leadership.

What should happen, for the good of the country, is for a bipartisan panel to be formed with both parties represented, to come up with a plan to fix the problems with Obamacare and fortify coverage for all Americans,

Instead, we have Trump gleefully declaring it will be politically wise for Republicans to let Obamacare implode and then blame it on the Democrats. He will no doubt continue to do whatever possible to pull the legs out from under the program.

On the other side, the Democrats are making it as difficult as possible to open the door for working with the GOP, figuring it will help them in the 2018 elections if enough voters are angry at the Republicans for not working on the healthcare problem.

THIS IS THE WAY it’s been in Washington for the last decade or so. Both parties share in the disappearance of etiquette and respect. Today when politicians disagree and have different points of view, there’s little room for discussion, listening and thought. Instead, it’s now acceptable to demonize anyone with a different opinion. The intensity of cable and Internet media coverage, driven too often with a biased political agenda, has accented the differences in political viewpoints and made this uncivilized discourse even worse.

When one party has the majority of power, there’s less and less effort to work with the other side. More and more legislation is passed strictly on party lines. Which means when the other party gets back in command, much that had been approved is reversed.

There is plenty of blame to spread around for this partisanship. While I often agreed politically with the liberal views of Pelosi, when she was speaker of the House, and Harry Reid, when he was Senate Majority Leader, they both made me wince with their obnoxious, self-righteous and dictatorial styles of leadership. They, in many ways, are responsible for creating today’s hostile atmosphere and lack of cooperation between the two parties.

BELIEVE ME, I am no fan of Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader. He lowered the standards to Reid’s level years ago when he announced his goal in the Senate was to make sure Barack Obama was a one term president. That’s not exactly a quality, constructive leadership statement. And he lowered the standard even more when he made it impossible for Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, to even get a Senate hearing last year.

Which of course, is why the Democrats figure they have no obligation to be cooperative during the hearings for Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch. But what good will come out, over the long haul, for Schumer to attempt a filibuster? It may trigger McConnell to change the voting rules.

Obama had a number of positive qualities. Negotiating with people he didn’t particularly like, however, was not one of them.

There were times, such as when his healthcare bill was being put together, he could have reached out for more bipartisan support. This would have made it stronger and secured its future better. Unlike many politicians, he did not relish meeting behind closed doors with opponents, twisting arms and cajoling and negotiating deals.

But on the other side, he was not always treated with the respect he deserved. The harsh rhetoric from silver-tongued vipers like McConnell did not help.

But enough on all this quibbling and dysfunction. This country is crying out for positive leadership and rational, quality choices.

FOR ALL INTENTS and purposes, the 2016 presidential election was a pathetic joke and even some of Obama’s unreasonable critics are starting to wish he was still in office.

On the Republican side, there were too many similarly self-centered and narrow-minded candidates who refused to be team players and dropped out to unify behind one person. One conventional candidate established early in the campaign would have been able to prevent the disaster of Trump capturing the nomination.

But as horrendous a candidate as Trump was, what does it say about Hillary Clinton being unable to defeat him?

And what does it say about the Democratic party when the committee leadership had to work behind the scenes to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders, a 75-year-old Socialist who isn’t even a Democrat, for Clinton to win the nomination? It should have been pretty obvious that Hillary, a tiresome, untrustworthy and opportunistic hack, was unelectable.

While Trump has been even worse than expected, the Democrats are not even close to finding a leader who can bring the far left, traditional liberals and centrists together.

Senator Tim Kaine could have been that person. However, while running with Hillary, he was forced to play an unnatural, for him, attack-dog role that killed his chances. Senator Elizabeth Warren, overly abrasive, is a strong left-wing voice for consumers but she’s not a leader who can attract a wide enough base to win a national office.

Since both parties are torn apart by zealots who refuse to work as a team and find middle ground, we need this new Tolerance Party.

IF WE COULD SECURE big money to get behind this unconventional bipartisan type of party, made up of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, the solid presidential candidate would be Ohio’s John Kasich.

Kasich, the governor of Ohio, is a moderate Republican and, most importantly, he reaches across the aisle and works with both sides. A people person who isn’t a prisoner of political labels, Kasich is ethical, principled and practical, believing in getting things accomplished for his electorate in a reasonable way.

Kasich is experienced in producing legislation at the local and national levels while displaying the rare balance of supporting helpful domestic social programs with responsible budgeting skills.

All of this seems unlikely.

But on the other hand, who would have figured a year ago that we’d have a blustering egomaniac in the White House making up fake news, insulting our allies, creating internal strife and making most people worry about his judgment?

David Maril has been a columnist, sports editor and copy editor at three newspapers published in Massachusetts, winning numerous writing and section-design awards. As sports editor of the Milford Daily News, he covered the Boston Red Sox, Celtics and the New England Patriots. At the Brockton Enterprise he served as vice president of the newspaper’s guild, dealing with contract negotiations and workforce issues through difficult economic times. He also served on the board of the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, where he is a lifetime member and voter in Major League Baseball’s annual Cooperstown Hall of Fame balloting. For several years was a columnist for Voice Of Baltimore. The son of the late artist Herman Maril, whose work is included in over 100 museum collections, David splits his time between Cape Cod, MA and Baltimore, MD. He currently serves as president of the Herman Maril Foundation, which supports curatorial projects, art education programs and exhibitions related to the study of his father’s work. The website, featuring his father’s artwork, is hermanmaril.com. A graduate of Park School in Brooklandville, MD, David majored in English at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

If you wold like to comment on this blog David can be reached at david@davidmaril.com.