“Politics as usual … ” is a derogatory phrase that indicates manipulations, self-promotion and a lack of ethics. The “fiscal cliff” (a phrase I have come to hate) is an excellent example of “politics as usual.”

Congress was never really going to allow the country to fall over that cliff, not because of the damage that would have caused for the country, but because it would have been political suicide.

It was all a game of “chicken,” played out on a national scale, picked up and promulgated by the news media that allowed the game players to preen and posture and declare their power.

No one took the high road — they all crowded onto the low road and were so intent on jockeying for position and power that they never noticed the other avenue was available.

I understand now why former Sen. Olympia Snowe gave up her Senate seat.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if, someday, “politics as usual” became an indication that representatives in Washington were working for the people and not for themselves?

Beth Springer, Norway