Bayh, partisanship, and Obama's leadership
Sen. Evan Bayh's attack on partisanship in Congress and his decision not to seek re-election have inspired our Readers Who Comment to agree that there's a problem and to support a columnist's call for more presidential leadership.
Dan Balz tells us that Congress has had similar periods of gridlock in the past. Steven Pearlstein says it's time for President Obama "to demonstrate the leadership the country needs and craves." Each article has attracted more than 300 comments as of this writing with many suggestions about what is wrong with the country or Congress or President Obama.
Every political story these days is followed by comments that blame Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for poisoning the well. Some writers blame single-issue voters -- war policy or abortion, if you're wrong on that nothing else matters. There is loud distrust of health-care reform legislation. I have an Oklahoma high school classmate, one of our school leaders long ago, who is petitioning us to vote against all incumbents on Capitol Hill. What's worse? A do-nothing Congress or a Congress that doesn't know how to do anything?
First to comments on the Balz analysis, all of which are here:
wearedoomed1 wrote, "Obama has little to no chance of passing anything with Republican support as long as Pelosi and Reid are in charge on the Hill. Pelosi defines partisanship. And she's about as clueless as it gets."
And farmsnorton added, "I'm a conservative Democrat that has resisted Obama'a agenda. I thought he would bring the country together. I think Pelosi and Reid came on way to strong and polorized the country. This is a very dangerous time for us with the elections just around the corner... Both sides have got to bend but trying to ram something through is the wrong way to go."
John991 wrote, "Bayh's criticism is spot on. Our government is dysfunctional and everyone knows it. Political bickering, partisan politics, the catering to special interest groups, etc. Why isn't something being done to seriously trim the deficit? How much longer can we continue to borrow money? What happens when the dollar collapses? And some wonder why most people don't bother to vote.
lindakinne said, "I'd like to think that Bayh's stated reason for quitting reflects his true feelings. Call me an idealist, but if more of these politicians took this kind of moral high ground, we might make some actual headway in this country. But then again, what Republican would be so noble?"
But mil1 wrote, "Democrats have the majority. They have consistently brought Republicans in just to throw their ideas out--to say, Look we Democrats have the best ideas. Now they complain that Republicans are holding them up. Impossible---Democrats have a majority. Democrats are now arguing with Democrats and this is why nothing gets done... Vote all incumbents out...the era of privilege has to end."
erikavanheusen wrote, "Brain-dead politics results from a brain-dead electorate. Politicians want to be re-elected again and again and again. And when a large number of elections are decided solely on the basis of what position a certain candidate takes on abortion the country obviously has a large number of voters that have a brain-dead, stone-age mentality."
josettes said, "...There are examples this year of the Republicans not cooperating, but on the health bill they were 100% justified... the bill worked it's way from the left toward the center and is still a govt takeover of the insurance industry, with over 100 govt boards of bureaucracy to make personal decisions, and a law to require health insurance. How do you compromise with that? Adding a few Republican ideas isn't going to make this bill any more popular..."
mayosan, wrote, " 'If I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months,' he [Bayh] said on CBS's 'Early Show.' The emperor has no clothes....Finally!"
asclepious2 said, "If the Democrats can't govern effectively,they don't deserve to govern,but that leaves the Repuglicans who have already demonstrated the lack of ability to govern, so I would say he's spot on!It's time to start voting for the challenger,no matter who, until the parties stop taking our vote for granted!"
daylight1452 wrote, "Senator Bayh's comments were in my opinion spot on. Our whole congress and White House leadership is dysfunctional. Let's hope it stays that way at least until the next election when there is hope of electing some people who will actually represent those who send them to Washington and our state capitals. Until then, the fewer laws they pass the better for America."
Now to comments on Pearlstein's call for presidential leadership, all of which are here.
annnort said, "...We need jobs and a working economy. We do not want government run healthcare, government run banks and businesses, and communist czars (self proclaimed) in or out of the WH. We do not want "funny people" appointed by BO to positions in government. We do not want Pelosi and Reid telling everyone what to do. WE WANT A WHOLE NEW CREW!!!..."
ESTEELE25 wrote, "I agree with the article. The last several months I have been hoping for a Presidential demonstration of leadership, cut loose from ties to political party and Wall Street, and speaking directly to American people, with a serious look into the eye of the camera. Barak, you've got the personality and intelligence to do it, and TV is made for it. So rise to a higher level and just do it!..."
debsmyth said, "...Obama came into office with the wind in his sails and an electorate starving for leadership on the issues that won him office. He is quickly becoming the equivocater/triangulator in chief. This does not earn one respect or cooperation. It earns contempt... It's now or never - there's no do-over when it's apparent that you're just another empty suit selling BS."
joe100821 wrote, "Mr. Pearlstein,you hit the target dead center.Now encourage other experienced commentators like yourself to follow your lead, and bombard Washington with the same message. "Congress, get your House in order or please get out."
But freepost said, "Another effete liberal pseudo-intellectual spouting a load of cr@p. It would be easy to refute every rediculous statement that Pearlstein makes, but why waste the time? Suffice it to say that Americans aren't confused - they want a smaller, more honest government that listens and is accountable to the people..."
sophic wrote, "Pearlstein, I don't agree with anything you say. Period.
Americans don't want Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Dodd/Democrat to do anything, they are incompetent, arrogant and corrupt and spending us into oblivion and the government is way to big... Government in business is bad business and bad government..."
trotsky2 offered that "Nobody can claim that Obama has not been trying to lead us. Its just that we don't want to follow."
carjvc wrote, "This piece is more statist trash and Obama cultism.
The public wants smaller government, less taxes, and less regulation. Cut entitlements,farm subsidies, corporate cronyism. Simplify the tax code to encourage savings and investment. Give up on the socialist dreams and return to the founder's ideas of liberty! Simple!"
But howjensen said, "I read these posts and draw the same conclusion as Evan Bayh. Not only is Congress brain dead, so are the citizens they serve. If you want to skip the middle chapters and go straight to the story's end, history will show these days to be the last glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow. America in 10 years will be a bankrupt and second rate world power. The end."
We'll close with this analysis from mmaza1, who said, "That hopey changey thing is working just fine. It's better than the spend ,charge it, deficits don't matter message that pea brain W sent us."
Posted by: american1 | February 17, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: djrhood | February 17, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.