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Christine Flowers: D.C. leaders are too hooked on power to function

It occurs to me that the scenario in D.C. is very much like an episode of "Breaking Bad."

First and foremost, we have the addicts, and their drug of choice is power. Be they liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, our representatives in Congress are overdosing on arrogance and hubris. There's Harry Reid, the Brigham Young of the Potomac who is inspired by God (or Obama, same difference) and knows that his way is the right one.

There's John Boehner, the indecisive Hamlet from Ohio who can't decide whether to satisfy the moderate old guard or yield to the aggressive young Tea Party Turks (jerks?) of his party. So he just retreats into a haze of whatever it is that he regularly smokes.

There is the president himself, pining for a date with Iran's new mullah while spurning the advances of the GOP. He definitely needs a little hit of ecstacy, poor thing.

There is Ted Cruz, proud citizen of Texas and Toronto who hangs out in his own personal Alamo with Davey Crocket and Dr. Suess. The fellow has had a few too many at the D.C. Saloon.

There is Nancy Pelosi, desperately trying to become relevant again.

These are the users and dopers and losers who look upon the rest of us as idiots, completely uncaring of the effect their habits have on their constituents. While some on the right and left are convinced that their people are the righteous ones, the truth is that every single member of Congress unwilling to look at the bigger picture and compromise -- even a tiny bit -- is akin to that addicted family member who takes and takes and doesn't care who he hurts in the process.

Then we have the people who create the drugs, the manufacturers who provide the supply that the users crave. Here is Heisenberg a/k/a Aetna, Blue Cross, and their greedy colleagues.

The insurance companies that feed on the consumer, raising their premiums and co-pays and deductibles at the mere thought of having to provide "universal coverage" feed the fix of the power-drunk. They lobby and curry favor with our addicted politicos, sending that stream of money and power into their craving limbs. Instead of caring about the welfare of those who have helped the insurance companies exist for lo these many years, the dutiful middle class insured who never fail to pay a premium and are responsible enough not to run to the emergency room for every sneeze and sniffle, they stab us in the back by sending letters to the poor hapless sheeple. And they make out Obama to be a liar because, no, we will not be able to keep our preferred doctors and no, we will not be able to maintain our reasonable plans and no, we will not be able to avoid those calamitous co-pays. No, my friends, we are cooked. Like meth.

We have some good guys out there, the DEA agent Hanks of the scenario who try and bring the black hats to justice, people who refuse to undermine the legitimate political process and won't tie the budget to defunding an admittedly flawed bill. They prefer getting the law delayed, to give Congress a chance to iron out the fatal defects like an abominable individual mandate, but don't like the idea of playing games with the American people who will suffer from shuttered offices and suspended service. Unfortunately, we saw what happened to Hank, who ended up in a desert grave.

As a person who always believed that our representatives stood for something greater than their own petty selves, I am disgusted by the havoc wrought by our addicted, illicit crew. Those purists on either side who say they are preserving the Constitution and our system of checks and balances are having brutal delusions brought on by a build-up of hallucinogenics, the kind that lead us to believe the other guy is evil and we are the keepers of virtue.

I once dated a guy who, in his misspent youth, had a problem "Just saying No." In fact, he said yes to everything out there, whether sniffable, quaffable or injectable. After 20 years in recovery, he told me that an addict is always just one high away from falling back into the rabbit hole.

It seems our elected officials are teetering on the edge, as well. Let's hope this series gets canceled.

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. E-mail, cflowers1961@gmail.com.



By CHRISTINE FLOWERS