As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Washington’s Polarized Governing Class

Thought you might want to take a look at this piece I did for the London Observer – the Guardian’s Sunday paper – on Washington’s crippled ability to move controversial legislation and the apparent need for absolute power by one political party to do it. Here’s an excerpt to give you the idea.

House Republicans insist on legislation to increase the debt ceiling that cuts spending but raises no new taxes, and seem to have worked themselves into such a state that, when given this by their leader, Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, they nearly vote it down.

Democrats vote in turn against the Boehner measure, though they’ve already pretty much relented on their demands that the bill raise revenues, apparently willing to ignite an economic apocalypse over their insistence on a large increase that ensures they do not have to go through this again until after election day in November 2012 . . .

Nevertheless, that Republicans were able in this environment to seize control of the House in 2010 and establish an implacable conservative majority is Obama’s own fault.

In a country where those who call themselves conservatives outnumber liberals by two to one, Obama has governed as the latter. Neither the sweeping health system overhaul he jammed through Congress nor his $800bn stimulus bill is popular.

I hope you are able to take a look and that you enjoy it.

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24 Responses to Washington’s Polarized Governing Class

  1. Good article Keith and I learned a new word — bonhomie. I guess I’m pretty naive about how things are supposed to work in DC. Thought we sent our legislators to DC to preserve and protect the Constitution. Now they just want to preserve and protect their own wealth and power.

    Guess the London Observer draws from a more liberal audience. One comment was particularly funny.
    “The tea party are a new breed, and the monied elites, which astro turfed them into existence, has created an out of control golem, a sorcerer’s apprentice which no longer obeys it’s master.”

    Guess that is another take on the hobbit reference, although I’ve never read Tolkien’s work. Gotta ask….Who are those monied elites and where is this hobbit’s money???

    There are three common principles of the Tea party…1) fiscal responsibility, 2) constitutionally limited government, 3) free markets. If believing in those principles casts me on the dark side, so be it.

    • They really seem to like the place once they get here, and they decide they’d prefer to stay and be called “Congressman” when they arrive for their dinner reservations. It’s a very old story.

    • Seems to me that the Tea Party, in general, is also pretty pro-war and tends toward Christian Conservatism. I could get behind the Tea Party if I wasn’t an anti-war atheist :)

      • The Tea party has both pro- and anti-war members, there are no religious requirements to join, and better yet no membership fees. We support our troops because they are our sons, daughters, and family members, but I want these wars to end too. I am a Christian, but work side by side with my friends who have different beliefs. We are united in one cause–to return America to constitutional principles and fiscal sanity…nothing more, nothing less. You are already a Tea party member if you believe in those basic principles.

  2. Bravo Keith! I hope that our cousins across the pond start to read this little site of yours.

    Granted, they have no influence on the American political landscape, but at least they will learn that not all of America has fallen off the cliff. I think that too many on the Continent get their news about us from the likes of WaPo and NYT, and either think we have all gone daft or are just a bunch of buggers.

    You are right with your observation that the country has not changed all that much philosophically over the past decades. It is just that the media has changed, and ergo the reporting. The “5-Ws and H” have not only been thrown under the bus, but also tied to the stake of liberalism and burned alive.

    Perhaps there needs to be a revolt in the journalism schools across America and a return to traditional reporting. It seems that everyone now wants to editorialize their stories versus just telling what has happened. During my undergrad I took a “news writing”class as part of my electives. My professor drove home the idea that reporters are to be objective observers of news, and if you wanted to state an “opinion” then you needed to move to the editorial page, or write reviews of movies and plays. She was a fantastic teacher, and is now the President of the University of Indianapolis. We need more instructors like her teaching the new crop of “reporters.”

  3. Interesting analysis of the New Washington scene.
    I’m not sure the Brits will ever understand our political system, anymore than we can figure out how they lovingly support a RoyalFamily who eats their taxdollars and does nothing, a ruling party that can lose “confidence”, and where exactly does the PrimeMinister fit in their system.

    It’s a new day all over America and that is reflected in the way we view our elected officials.
    Nice piece, Keith.

  4. I’m now thinking that it is time to establish the third party, the Tea Party. There is so much dissention that I think there is a real good chance of deposing the current administration. Do any of you know what steps would need to be taken to do this?

  5. Great article! To bad the powers to be don’t read your work. Breaking news President Obama to read a statement signifying he has brokered an agreement.

    • Nice to know our corrupt big government “leaders” were able to broker a “deal”. Six politicians deciding our fate behind closed doors. Wonder when we’ll get a chance to see what they worked out? These politicians know our credit will be downgraded with this deal, but they have put politics over country. All Americans will lose when interest rates rise and food and energy prices soar, but the politicians won’t have to change their vacation plans. Lots of golf and imbibing umbrella drinks on a private beach are waiting in the wings. Not to mention a big birthday bash on Wednesday. Y’all have fun now, we’ll see you at the voting booth next year.