Left. Right Center. Who Knows. We all know what the different factions tells us. The left says the country has moved to the left, and as such their extreme left agenda is what the people want and need. The right tells us the country is on their side. Scott Brown proved it after all. A lot of pundits tell us that the country is primarily in the center, with dwindling numbers the further away from that median you you get. Who to believe? I say believe what you want. It does not matter what they say or what we believe. At least… it shouldn’t matter. We find ourselves in today’s world arguing incessantly about which direction the country needs to move. Political pundits preach the virtues of either cutting taxes or increasing them. And a support of a single issue is constantly considered an endorsement for that entire ideal. And that, dear readers, is a small microcosm of the problem with today’s non-representing representatives. That they represent the people or thier party is a constant debate. What is not part of the debate is whether they represent a solution. And for the record, I am going back to the Open mic tonight to answer some posts from Ray and others, so check that out too.
I was reading an article the other night discussing what President Obama needs to do in order to succeed. The question was whether he needed to embrace the far left and go faster and further in that direction, or should he become a centrist in order to get things done? And so we are clear, for the purpose of this article, the definitions of right, left, and center, are the commonly understood versions, not the JAC, BF, USW, PeterB definitions. The first problem with the article lies in what I think was the most profound ommission: a definition of what they meant by “succeed”.
What defines success for President Obama is very different according to who you may ask. For some, success means that he is able to pass through an ultra far left agenda, moving the country towards a state that is more socialist or fascist in nature. For others, success may mean that he is able to make the country “better” than he found it (economically stronger, better international relationships, more green, or more “fair”). When we fail to define what the definition of success is, we cannot come to any conclusions about how to achieve that goal. If the goal is to get to a more socialistic state (and let’s begin by recognizing it as a structure, not a slander), then I would imagine that one strategy might be to move farther left and stand his ground. If the goal is economic prosperity, I would imagine some would feel the best way to achieve success would be to move more towards the center or even the right.
If I were the one to define what is a success, I would say that success is reaching a state of less government by the end of his term than what it was at the beginning. After all, in my opinion less government equals more freedom. But I acknowledge that I, along with those believing as I do, am a minority at this point in our culture. So my definition of success is not what is in play here. It SHOULD be, but it isn’t. So we first have to come up with a way to define what the President needs to accomplish to be successful.
I understand that for Charlie, who espouses a form of socialism, that a growing government and more social programs and industry regulation is success. And I understand that for BF, who seeks a world without rulers, a smaller government and less entitlement programs and industry regulation by government is success. But for the majority of Americans, this is not the case. Most Americans simply want things to get “better”. So let’s set the President’s bar for success at improving the economic fortunes of America, ensuring that all Americans have equal opportunity (not outcomes), and improving the country’s relationship with the rest of the world so that we can continue to grow and prosper. Is there anything about those goals that folks have an issue with? I wouldn’t think so, but I am just one man, and thus just a single opinion.
So if those are the goals, and I do understand that because they are the goals I have stated certainly does not mean that those are the goals of the President, the question becomes whether the President needs to move to the left, the right, the center, or whatever. But before you answer, I ask that you consider my answer and then consider my questions at the end.
I think that the answer is “none of the above.” How ridiculous that the pundits and politicians and partisan hacks all feel that the only answer to what cures America lies in a single ideology. Moving towards the right is not the answer. Moving towards the left is not the answer. The only answer is moving towards success. And no single ideology is going to be the best way to do that. Charlie Stella, you have to understand (and I know that you do) that moving everything in America towards socialism is not going to cure all of our ills. We have seen enough of the fall of communism and the failures of socialism to know that there are great pitfalls in adopting that mentality. And to believe that “this time it will work because we will do it better” is silly. And those on the right are just as silly if they think all the answers lie in the ideology of the ultra-conservative movement or the religious right mentality. Heck, even the Libertarians are wrong to believe that instituting a truly free market tomorrow simply won’t work, as it would take quite a transition period for it to not topple our economy completely.
No my friends, putting our faith in the hands of one portion of the country’s political landscape is foolish and naive. In today’s volatile political landscape, we have allowed the politicians to dictate to us that one side is right and the other is wrong. That’s just dumb. What needs to happen in America is an embracing of the idea that neither side has a monopoly on what will work. Both sides have ideas that, if worked on in the right ways, can improve our situation. Let’s take a look at health care reform as an example.
Forget my personal opinions, let’s look at this from a hypothetical standpoint. The current legislation is curved dramatically to the left. The Republicans were basically shut out of negotiations. The ideas to reform one sixth of our economy have basically all come from the Democrats. Are we foolish enough to believe that the only good ideas for health care reform existed in the ideology of the far left? That’s insane. Perhaps there is merit in some of the ideas that are present in the current legislation (remember, this is hypothetical, lol). And perhaps those good ideas couple with some of the ideas from the Republicans (tort reform, for example), would be even better for us in the long run. But instead, the two sides remain more committed to the idea that it has to be done according to their ideology than to the idea that it has to be done right, effective, and efficiently. Today’s Congress is more committed to political ideology than they are to the people they are elected to serve. As a result, they don’t strive to get it right, they strive to get it their way. And we all lose.
Apply that example to the entire government and we can see why we are all so screwed. Nobody in Washington DC has any interest in getting it right. So the question they ask is whether the President should move more left or more right, instead of determining that the direction doesn’t matter. The President needs to move towards more effective and more efficient and more inclusive and more realistic. Most important, the President needs to move towards more honest, because to say that Washington DC lacks honesty and integrity is like saying the ocean is wet.
And here is the shame of the situation. In Barack Obama, we have perhaps the most persuasive speaker as a President in the last 50 years. We have a man who has the ability to do exactly that. If only he wanted to, but he doesn’t. He would have the power to demand true transparency in legislation. He would have the power to foster an environment where Democrats and Republicans work together to create common goals and solutions. He would have the power to demand that government makes its case to the American people and lets them decide what the best path forward should be. He is the first President in a very long time who has the ability to make the definition of success be effective and efficient. But alas, he is a partisan like every one before him. And his intent is not to be successful as we have defined it here. His intent is to further the agenda of the left in whatever way is made possible.
So my question is this: Are we too far gone to ever reach a point where a truly non-partisan could ever reach a position where such a change is possible? If a person came along who was “cool” like Obama and who was as persuasive and gifted in speaking as Obama, would it be possible for that person to attain the Presidency? And if that person did, is it even possible for them to do what I have suggested? Is it a pipe dream to think that someone could come along and rally Americans to do it right instead of doing it Republican or Democrat?
I ask because I fear that if the answer is no, then we will continue on the see saw ride between Democrats and the GOP, each flailing to make improvements with only half the solutions as an option, and each simply growing government in different ways. And if that is the case, I fear that a revolution will come once Americans decide that government has overstepped its bounds one too many times, increased taxes too much, or stepped on the freedom in a way that crosses a line.
There is no right “direction” for the President to move. Both parties have a few good ideas and a whole bunch of bad ones. But even if Obama himself tomorrow decided that a move to the left is wrong, and embraced what I am saying here, would he have a chance in trying to make it actually happen?
*** And now for my disclaimer. As many of you know, I am a proponent of individual liberty and personal freedom. Being self reliant and personally responsible. As such, I believe both parties have gone off their rocker. If you ask me how to fix this, we must find that rock star candidate with all the persuasive skills of Obama, but who espouses a different path, one of principled government where liberty, freedom, and non-initiation of violence is the base that everything else must flow from. This article falls into the category of dealing with “what is” as opposed to reforming government to what I would ultimately like to see it become (as you may recall I stated that some articles would deal with what we have and others would discuss what we should have, this is the former). VDLG doesn’t yet fit into the political spectrum in Washington DC. If it did, this article would look much different.