Vision And Will
In my previous blog, I discussed the confused state of the two political parties. The Republicans are being led by the Trumpist base of the mostly white Red State middle class Americans with few left defending traditional Republican values. The Democrats are in an even worse state as both elements of the party, the centrists and the progressives, are digging in their heels without compromising. The first Democratic element is skeptical of a $3.5 trillion welfare act and the second element deems it essential and long overdue. This second element is willing to sink the needed infrastructure bill to get all of their social welfare programs funded without meaningful discussion in congressional committees of each element of the social program.
This wholesale intransigence in both parties as Thomas Freidman notes derives from a singular lack of courage on all sides. Save for Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the GOP is a troop of circus elephants following each other with Donald Trump as the ring leader. The majority of the GOP has no vision beyond winning again and no will to resist the Trumpist elements that are so damaging to the true cause of Republicanism. Most of this derives from deplorable leadership in Congress from Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy who seem to be willing to wreck the economy and shut down the government simply by not raising the debt ceiling and expanding the budget. It is only Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger who are willing to show real leadership, get to the bottom of the January 6 insurrection, and steer a course away from the Scylla and Charybdis of Mr. Trump and his attempt to hijack the party with a story about a stolen election. Trump is already readying himself and his minions for 2024 so he can reclaim the White House. He’s drilling deep into local politics to insert his people as overseers of elections so as to make sure he wins next time. Trump is also going to support primary opponents of right-thinking Republicans who oppose his ludicrous agenda and has thus struck the fear of God into any Republican who does not back him and his policies.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have even less courage. No one on the progressive side will give an inch with regard to the Build Back Better socialist agenda. This negates the power of the slim Democratic majority and may paralyze the government as well.
To quote Dean Phillips a Minnesota Democrat: “the absence of pragmatism among Democrats is as troubling as the absence of principle among Republicans.” How do we fix this?
First, the President of the United States should stop making nice with the extreme left wing of his party and inform them that either they get on board his less radical agenda or he will personally campaign against them during the next primary. Why can’t Biden be as Machiavellian as Trump?
Second, it is time for the Democratic congressional leadership to retire. Neither Nancy Pelosi nor Chuck Schumer can control the Democratic caucus in either house of Congress. They are both too old and too fixed in their adherence to the ways of Congress as it was when they entered it. It’s a new dawn. On the other hand it may be time to reintroduce some LBJ-type muscle and arm twisting. Surely the Democratic caucus can agree to get to the social program agenda in the future and pass the debt ceiling and the infrastructure bills now.
I disagree with Tom Friedman in assuming it is only the Democrats who can save the day. Both parties are wasting the time and money of the American people with their nonsense.
Do the leaders of both parties need to show some leadership? They do. Are either likely to? Not so far.
Things are very close to the breaking point and if we go into a government shutdown or debt crisis expect the markets to suffer. No one wants that.
Both parties need to get to work and do their jobs through discussion, hearings and compromise. This feet in cement nonsense on both sides of the aisle is unhealthy.