RSS Feed for This PostCurrent Article

With Good Leadership, The Country Is Indeed Governable

One of the political positives of 2008 has been a willingness for some on one side of the aisle to give fair hearing to those on on the other. This was accomplished by none other than Nancy Pelosi, Donna Brazile et al telling those of us not willing to get on board with the new Democratic Party to “stay home.” Or “get lost” depending on your perspective. In that vein, while I might not always agree with conservative Charles Krauthammer, in his latest article, It’s nonsense to say the U.S. is ungovernable, he has the integrity to say something good about some Democrats. Most fascinating is who he took the time to praise:

In the latter days of the Carter presidency, it became fashionable to say that the office had become unmanageable and was simply too big for one man. Some suggested a single, six-year presidential term. The president’s own White House counsel suggested abolishing the separation of powers and going to a more parliamentary system of unitary executive control. America had become ungovernable.

Then came Ronald Reagan, and all that chatter disappeared.

The tyranny of entitlements? Reagan collaborated with Tip O’Neill, the legendary Democratic House speaker, to establish the Alan Greenspan commission that kept Social Security solvent for a quarter-century.

A corrupted system of taxation? Reagan worked with liberal Democrat Bill Bradley to craft a legislative miracle: tax reform that eliminated dozens of loopholes and slashed rates across the board — and fueled two decades of economic growth.

Later, a highly skilled Democratic president, Bill Clinton, successfully tackled another supposedly intractable problem: the culture of intergenerational dependency. He collaborated with another House speaker, Newt Gingrich, to produce the single most successful social reform of our time, the abolition of welfare as an entitlement.

Krauthammer hits the nail on the head:

It turned out that the country’s problems were not problems of structure but of leadership. Reagan and Clinton had it. Carter didn’t. Under a president with extensive executive experience, good political skills and an ideological compass in tune with the public, the country was indeed governable.

One needs experience, depth of knowledge on policy and the workings of government as well as specific understanding of the needs of Americans in order to move this country forward. Tone deaf policies that do little to solve those needs will not lead to a good result.

Krauthammer continues:

It’s 2010, and the first-year agenda of a popular and promising young president has gone down in flames. Barack Obama’s two signature initiatives — cap-and-trade and health-care reform — lie in ruins.

Desperate to explain away this scandalous state of affairs, liberal apologists haul out the old reliable from the Carter years: “America the Ungovernable.” So declared Newsweek. “Is America Ungovernable?” coyly asked the New Republic. Guess the answer. [snip]

Yet, what’s new about any of these supposedly ruinous structural impediments? Special interests blocking policy changes? They have been around since the beginning of the republic — and since the beginning of the republic, strong presidents, like the two Roosevelts, have rallied the citizenry and overcome them.

Krauthammer goes on to dissect the latest liberal complaints about Republican’s use of the filibuster pointing out Democrats did the same in blocking GW Bush’s judicial appointments. Their complaints that Congress’ structure impedes progress is likewise blather to provide cover for an administration that has lost control of its message.

…Indeed, the Senate with its ponderous procedures and decentralized structure is serving precisely the function the Founders intended: as a brake on the passions of the House and a caution about precipitous transformative change.

Krauthammer took time to praise another Democrat along the way:

Leave it to Mickey Kaus, a principled liberal who supports health-care reform, to debunk these structural excuses: “Lots of intellectual effort now seems to be going into explaining Obama’s (possible/likely/impending) health care failure as the inevitable product of larger historic and constitutional forces. . . . But in this case there’s a simpler explanation: Barack Obama’s job was to sell a health care reform plan to American voters. He failed.”

He failed because the utter implausibility of its central promise — expanded coverage at lower cost — led voters to conclude that it would lead ultimately to more government, more taxes and more debt. More broadly, the Democrats failed because, thinking the economic emergency would give them the political mandate and legislative window, they tried to impose a left-wing agenda on a center-right country. The people said no, expressing themselves first in spontaneous demonstrations, then in public opinion polls, then in elections — Virginia, New Jersey and, most emphatically, Massachusetts.

That’s not a structural defect. That’s a textbook demonstration of popular will expressing itself — despite the special interests — through the existing structures. In other words, the system worked.

I also read an interesting piece by Joe Scarborough yesterday, discussing his own conservative principles. He stated that while he may not agree with President Obama’s agenda, he prays for him daily to find a successful way to lead for the sake of our country. He said “if his grandmother could pray for Carter, he could pray for Obama.”

My prayer is that the President starts paying more attention to the message Americans are sending him and less attention to those like Nancy Pelosi who are arrogant in continuing to tell the rest of us to get lost. Perhaps he would then find the country is governable.

  • surfered

    Both Reagan and Bush were succesful at getting bipartisan cooperation on tax cuts.  Big whoo!  How hard is it to get politicians to vote for tax cuts?  But there was no leadership on spending cuts.  As a result of this politically popular but fiscally insane policies, Reagan increased our national debt to $2.9 trillion from $998 billion (186%) and Bush increased our national to $10.6 trillion from debt $5.7 trillion (86%).   Those are records to be proud of.

  • OxyCon

    I was labled a racist for pointing out the fact that Obama had zero executive experience, very little practical government experience and had really never accomplished anything in his life except to stay in one place just long enough so he could bag a fancy title.
    At the time I knew the reason why Liberals turned on me for saying this was because what I said was undeniable and it hit home to a bunch of people who were so emotionally invested in Obama that they were approaching cultist status.
    After eight ruiness years of Bush, the last thing I wanted to see was another underqualified, narcisist poser who didn’t have the experience needed for the job.
    The rest they say is history.

  • CharlotteKey

     reach out to all those young people who swooned and fainted over obama and let them know  the burdens he has placed on them and their children for the foreseeable future. ”

    well, ok. Except that a lot the swooners–maybe most of them–were hired guns, bussed around the country from speech to speech.  Some were noted as reappearing in surprisingly distant venues. I mean is there really anything about Obama to make anyone swoon? Really? If so, where are the swooners now? Genuinely charismatic celebs have their camp followers. This administration may have a few, especially inside the beltway, but the masses never swooned and certainly wouldn’t do it now, unless they were well paid and in front of a MSM camera.

    You don’t have to worry about young people seeing through Obama. Without his styrofoam pillars, he’s a dud who can’t speak straight. What we have to worry about are the old pols whose machinations maneuvered this dud into office in the first place.

  • timmy

    Nothing wrong with typos and typos makes me brian dead..?  You are really a door hole….. 

  • arabella trefoil

    Great post, ani.

  • whoframedrudy

    “When have you guys NOT agreed with him?!”
    Jackie, you see the guy’s picture at the top of the blog?  Larry Johnson has been constantly pounding on Krauthammer’s analysis of the War on Terror.
    Will you never learn?  Blind partisan lies only drive Independents to the right — that’s why some of us former Dems are now reading Krauthammer, because we don’t trust the viral baloney from the left.  I’m starved for some decent, honest commentary from the left, but I can’t even read Paul Krugman anymore, it’s just Obot sophistry.
    I completely agree with this article by K.  But Larry has convinced me that K is wrong on terrorism.  Not everyone’s brain runs on a 2-bit binary chip:  ”Beck=bad.  Olbermann=good.  Republicans=bad.  Democrats=good.”
    But I can see how the debate on NQ would be impossible for an Obot to process.

  • EllenD

    krauthamer said we needed someone  with experience in governing, foriegn policy,and an understanding of how government works.

    Isn’t this just the opposite of this much-heard comment?

    we can do a clean sweep in nov. and start with some fresh new faces

    OK – how about we DON’T do a “clean sweep” but decide which current ones with the experience we need are doing a good job, and replace the ones who aren’t doing a good job with someone whose experience bears some reasonable resemblance to the job they are going into.
    I don’t know – I’m just sick of neophytes.
    The Schwartzennegger/Obama syndrome is wearing thin. Would you hire someone for your business with no related experience for the job they’re filling?