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Kremer: I’m probably not the first to say good riddance, 2012 | LIHerald.com

Unless I hear some credible dissenting voices, I’m going to vote for 2012 as one of the worst years in recent history. You can pick just about any topic — the weather, politics, the economy, sports — and there isn’t much to brag about, at least for me and many of the people I talk to.

Let’s start with the weather. Superstorm Sandy wreaked the most havoc of any storm in recent memory. Irene did a fair amount of damage, but Sandy was a long-term tragedy for the entire region. Any one of our readers who believes that there’s no such thing as global warming is just plain hallucinating. The freakish weather we’ve experienced isn’t just the product of a crazy 10-year cycle. We are paying the price for years of environmental indifference.

The American political scene is truly an embarrassment of enormous proportions. Our Congress is being held hostage by special-interest groups and a small pocket of House members who’d like the country to fail and are willing to do everything possible to make that happen. Republican Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are incapable of leading our nation in a positive direction. Neither one is worthy of the title he holds.

The national Republican Party has reached an all-time low in prestige and is on track to stay in the minority for many years to come. No party that is perceived as anti-immigrant, anti-woman and pro-millionaire is entitled to run the country. That’s not my opinion; it’s what the voters told the GOP in the November election. If ever a political party was tone deaf, it’s the party of Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

President Obama may have comfortably won a new four-year term over an inept Mitt Romney, but he has yet to prove that he can govern the country in a way that will solve our current ills. He may talk anti-assault weapons and pro-immigration reform, but he did nothing on those subjects in 2012 or earlier in his tenure. He is a brilliant speechmaker, but inviting the leaders of Congress to the White House for some serious talk is more important than another sermon. Everyone wants to believe that our economy is on the upswing, but if it happens this year, it will be an accident. In 2012 we heard nothing from the president about how he will rebuild the nation, other than middle-class tax cuts. Republican leaders tell us we have to cut Social Security and Medicare and every other program that helps people, but that’s where their reforms stop. My friends in business keep telling me that we shouldn’t bash Wall Street, but the list of self-dealing, corrupt players grew much longer in 2012 thanks to a bunch of fresh convictions.

Local sports fans had little to cheer about last year. The Islanders are on their way to Brooklyn because their owner couldn’t get a taxpayer-financed arena, and there were no solutions offered to keep the Nassau Coliseum from going dark too many nights of the year. The Mets continued to disappoint their loyal fans with promises of better days ahead that are empty words. The Yankees made it to the playoffs, but some of their better players will be gone this year.

If Congress and the president somehow managed to keep us from going over the so-called fiscal cliff as this column went to press, 2013 might be a brighter year. We know there’s plenty of money sitting on the sidelines, but no one is going to invest in this country if our tax policy is destructive. Delaying a long-term solution for another six months or a year opens the door to more hostage-taking in Congress that would make 2012 look tame compared with 2013.

They say that we either live in hope or die in despair. Let’s get past the despair of 2012 and move on to a hopeful 2013.

I’m probably not the first to say good riddance, 2012 – Long Beach – LIHerald.com – Nassau County’s source for local news, breaking news, sports, entertainment & shopping.