How ironic that Barack Obama became the president at a time when the country is perhaps as divided as it has been since the Civil War. Anyone willing to seriously look at the implications of the advances in technology and rising populations can see that the Reagan paradigm regarding the government as a burden to its people is mortally flawed. The old song of "cut taxes and reduce government" is obsolete. We need governance that is smart, effective, and ENOUGH
. Look at what LESS
got us in terms of our financial institutions. How will LESS
handle the impending health care crisis? How does it address our need to educate our workforce? What about the our neglected infrastructure (bridges, roads, transmission lines..)?
Now that we truly require a governing system that can handle today’s complexity, having those who despise government in the government is deeply problematic. The Bush administration amply demonstrated how those who hate government govern. The obstinacy of the GOP nay-sayers in Washington points to the frightening possibility that they would prefer to be scorpions on the frog rather than face the notion that their ideas require new thinking. The hard copy days of typewriters and paper filing would not have prevented some of the recent financial shenanigans, but without question the current economic meltdown, in particular the credit swap fiasco, would be far less extensive had it occurred back then. Now the country needs the most competent and intelligent government in history.
Unfortunately, it appears that Republican leaders will not lead, follow, or get out of the way. They condemn but offer no tenable solution, no new concepts, no fresh perspectives. Lacking a single creative idea, mechanically chanting like an LP record mindlessly stuck in its groove, "Tax cut, tax cut, tax cut," they bring nothing to the table. Eli Blake’s post One Page Playbook
captures it. If aliens land in New York and capture Washington Square, Republicans in DC will call for a tax cut. Over at Blog for AZ, AZ Blue Meanie's Cognitive Dissonance
notes the GOP hypocrisy of benefiting from governance while denying the need to fund it.
To be effective, those struggling to move the country forward must not only find votes, but also craft the lens through which the nation understands the issues, the answers, and the political wrangling. The art of framing is difficult. Cerebrally challenged W predictably chose the bullying language of the tyrant, "You are either with us, or you are against us."
Sadly, I think the GOP in Washington still operates in such a mindset. Some GOP governors assert they will decline unemployment insurance for their own unemployed constituents. While I am not delighted with the stimulus package, in particular the rescue of people that over borrowed to over buy, no one has produced a more attractive alternative. One productively counters a less attractive solution with a more attractive one. I don’t have one. Neither does the GOP.
Obama has a challenge in shaping the nature of the unfolding conversation. While I am sure a better angle exists, I have a first draft for his consideration. When it comes to our members of Congress: They are either part of the solution, or they are part of the problem
. Sometimes getting out of the way if one has nothing better to say is quite the contribution.
I know how to classify the broken records moaning the same old song.