(WSJ) Gerald Seib–Twin Paralyzing Factors Keep Washington Divided

Today’s spectacle of a dysfunctional Washington, unable to tend to even its most basic task of protecting the nation’s financial standing, may be appalling. It should not, however, be a surprise.

he inability, after eight months’ warning, to agree on any plan to deal with deficits and raise the nation’s debt ceiling isn’t some freak accident. Instead, it is the logical culmination of two giant trends in American politics: an unresolved debate over the size of government and the growing hyper-partisanship of Congress, particularly the House of Representatives.

Put those two together and you end up with leaders of the two parties speaking, as they were over the weekend, of the need to “defeat them,” as if the two parties were Cold War adversaries rather than partners in running the same nation. President Barack Obama, in a nationally televised speech last night, bluntly acknowledged how bad the picture looks to his countrymen, and to the world: “The American people may have voted for divided government,” he said, “but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, History, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

6 comments on “(WSJ) Gerald Seib–Twin Paralyzing Factors Keep Washington Divided

  1. Sarah says:

    I do agree that this is a logical culmination of differences in fundamental values/political worldviews. I posted this on another thread as well.

    I don’t think there’s a leadership deficit. Indeed there are plenty of leaders out there. Obama himself is leading just fine. And I don’t think it at all appalling that he’s speaking in terms of “defeat them” — the “them” are the people who hold antithetical beliefs from him.

    Fact is, the various leaders simply don’t have the same political foundational worldview as one another—indeed their worldviews are antithetical and mutually opposed.

    One side of leaders has a very different set of values and beliefs about the role of the State, private property, the free market, the Constitution, and central planning then the other side of leaders.

    The only solution is for one side to overwhelmingly win the various elections over the other side.

    Then there will not be the stalemate.

    Americans are getting precisely what they are electing. We are—in broad swathes—who our leaders are. We can hardly complain when they lead in response to their own values and foundational worldviews.

    Personally I think the current “debt limit” drama is way way over-inflated, rather like the OJ chase down the highway was. The media hysteria over all this is like what they did with the Caylee Anthony trial — “all debt ceiling/default all the time.”

    We won’t default on our loans, unless the current crop of leaders *decides* to default on our loans. There is plenty of revenue to service the debt, pay Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, pay the defense budget, and have several billion left over.

    So what will happen in regards to all of that will be whatever it is that our current leadership decides it will be.

    Thankfully we live in a constitutional Republic and if the people decide that some different leadership in a different direction should take place, I’m sure we’ll vote in that way in less than two years.

    We’ll see—pass the popcorn!

  2. APB says:

    Sarah,
    I largely agree, though I used to believe much the same about TEC, and that it would be self-correcting. Also, in the OT bad government was often the punishment for bad behavior, not always the cause. Like you, I will keep a good supply of popcorn, but a also a few shots of corn whiskey around as well. 😉
    APB

  3. Br. Michael says:

    I agree, with the following caveat. Our Constitution is supposed to provide limits. The Government is not allowed to do what it wants unfettered. That way both parties are content to see the other party in power knowing that the worst possible excesses are prevented by the our founding Charter.

    However Governments have started to ignore the Constitutional limits. They are in fact traitors to our system of Constitutional government and are in the position of usurpers. It is clear that Obama and the Democrats obey the laws they want and ignore those that they don’t. I fear they are actually laying the grounds for a lot of civil unrest as the people realize that the Government has become arbitrary and lawless.

  4. Creedal Episcopalian says:

    [blockquote] Thankfully we live in a constitutional Republic [/blockquote]

    Depending on which side wins, we could easily wind up living in a Fascist Republic, with lip service paid to the Constitution. Then all bets would be off. (Who owns General Motors? what level of cooperation does the administration get from GE, who, by the way, paid $0.00 in US taxes last year?)
    Remember that the rights and principles in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were put there by men of God, with full submission to him and observance of his laws. Then remember who our real battle is with. It makes it easier to choose sides.

  5. A. McIntosh says:

    The leadership of America in the years right after WW II had a
    shared experience of that war, as well as the Depression that
    preceeded it. They could trust each other while maintaining their
    differences. Much got done in those years from the Marshall Plan to Civil Rights laws. I am afraid that we are in danger of losing this sense of what is best for the nation. Many of the current leaders
    grew up and came of age during Vietnam and Watergate, two of the
    most divisive events of recent times.

  6. Cennydd13 says:

    I have to agree with Sarah on this one. And maybe…..just maybe……in the next election, we’ll be wise enough to elect scholarly and brilliant persons who have the country’s best interests at heart, and who will shove aside all thoughts of personal interest and gain in order to ensure that we’re on a stable footing. Otherwise, we’re in for a total worldwide financial meltdown with predictable consequences.