This is very rich.
No doubt, Edward Kennedy was a great legislator. He passed tons of stuff. So, speaking at a tribute marking the opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Center, lecturer-chief-Obama chastised other senators, no doubt most of them of the Republican persuasion, for lacking the courage to pass stuff too.
People fight to get in the Senate and then they’re afraid. We fight to get these positions and then don’t want to do anything with them. And Ted understood the only point of running for office was to get something done — not to posture; not to sit there worrying about the next election or the polls — to take risks. He understood that differences of party or philosophy could not become barriers to cooperation or respect.
Now, first of all, Obama does have first hand knowledge of this issue, because you could put the list of his accomplishments on a sticky note.
Unless, that is, you include running for president, writing a book, and giving speeches. Then we might be able to use an index card.
It’s amusing to me how it goes without saying in Washington that lawmakers are successful only if they “get something done.”
They’ve actually gotten a lot done, and so we are left with a metastasizing welfare state and $18 billion in debt. Does it ever occur to anyone here among the Washington cognoscenti that Congress actually needs to stop “getting something done?”
Somehow, rolling bad laws back is never considered getting things done. It’s Neanderthalism, rather, a return to a less tolerant and compassionate America, or whatever. Getting things done means progress.
Our system, with its checks and balances, is intentionally not set up to make it easy to get things done. Totalitarianism, on the other hand, is constructed to really move things along nicely. All you need is a place to stack the bones of the Kulaks, and you’re off.
If our Founders wanted efficiency, they would have offered George Washington a crown instead of a veto pen.
As president, Obama has continued his run as the world champion of not getting anything done. With the exception of Obamacare, for which he needed a fully Democratic Congress and some parliamentary funny business, Obama has achieved very little with Congress.
For this, he wants to blame Republican cowardice and Obama-hatred. But even Bill Clinton, who was probably reviled even more intensely by what was then also viewed as a deeply partisan GOP, achieved a strong legislative record. As did Ronald Reagan, who racked up major legislative achievements, despite being abhorred by his opponents as a war mongering dunce.
Obama’s problem is Obama. He lacks the energy and temperament to build relationships and assemble coalitions. Members of Congress often don’t even know who his legislative affairs people are, so clunky is the White House lobbying operation. And that clunkiness flows from the top.
This would all be fortunate for those who don’t want more statism, except that Obama, via executive orders, is at long last accepting the crown Washington eschewed. And getting things done.