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Want to get things done? Get back to basics

By DOUG THOMPSON
April 1, 2011

Former House Republican Leader Bob Michel: The last GOP leader who knew how to get things done.

Our government, the political system that runs it and society in general has become a study in extremes.

So it’s little wonder that nothing gets done, that we get bogged down in minutiae and the bizarre outranks the important when it comes to capturing public attention.

So let’s get government and our lives back to basics.

Instead of electing those who advocate extreme positions, let’s look for leaders who know how to reach out for build coalitions and find common ground so we can move forward into the future.

The tea party faithful demand their agenda no matter what, even if it shuts government down, states like Wisconsin face disarray because of the extremist positions of Gov. Scott Walker and Congress remains deadlocked because its leaders cannot find a middle ground.

Americans want action, not endless debate from two sides that cannot learn to work together. Speaker of the House John Boehner apears to want to work with moderate Democrats to try and work out a budget compromise but he is undercut by his bombastic second-in-command, Eric Cantor, who listens only to the “our way or the highway” extremes of the tea party faithful.

Government gets things done when both sides learn to compromise. Coalitions move things forward. Lockstep extremists create deadlock, not progress and the nation suffers.

Ronald Reagan worked a tax cut through a reluctant Democratically-controlled Congress in 1981 because the GOP leadership in the House — led by a Capitol Hill pro named Robert Michel knew how to deal with the other side.  Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill — another House pro — was also willing to work with the other side to reach agreements that led to passage of a tax cut bill that started to cut into the spiraling economy, soaring inflation and sky-high interest rates.

This was before Newt Gingrich brought his out-of-control, take-no-prisoners approach to governing into the mix and coalition-building and compromise became dirty words.

Boehner, leader of the Republican Conference during Gingrich’s turbulent years as Speaker, knows that things can’t get done if both sides stick to extreme positions and refuse to work with each other.  He remembers that the GOP, which won control of Congress in 1994, ran afoul of public opinion and approval a year later when the party’s extremes led to the last government shutdown.  He knows Republicans will get the blame if it happens again and the party will pay when voters get a chance for payback in the 2012 elections.

What the tea party and the newly-elected GOP freshmen members of the House and Senate don’t understand is that the election results last year were not an endorsement of their extremist positions. It was a voter rejection of a gridlocked Congress. Voters would have elected a baboon on the ballot if one ran against an incumbent and many of those elected in 2010 could find themselves unemployed when they seek re-election.

Buyer’s remorse is already setting in. Approval of Republicans is dropping among those who voted for them in 2010. Firefights, cops and other first responders are abandoning the GOP in droves because of the campaign against public employee unions and the Republicans will need these folks next year.

Unless the newbies learn to work the system and build coalitions, nothing will get done and the voters who embraced them less than a year ago will be looking for another solutions to the problem next year.

It’s time to stop shouting and start working together.

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10 Responses to Want to get things done? Get back to basics

  1. griff

    April 1, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Back to the basics? What are the basics?

    Freedom? Sound money? Free markets? The Constitution?

    Too extreme.

    No one understands these things any more. Least of all Republicans and Democrats. Therefore their faithful followers don’t understand them either.

    But of course their blind faith, their rabid following, their unrestrained allegiance is just dandy because they’re “mainstream.” The system sanctions itself.

  2. Almandine

    April 1, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I believe the neurotelepathic comm link is being disrupted by solar flares today…
    the fuzzy logic circuitry is working overtime.

  3. Sandune

    April 1, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Getting back to basics can be as simple as knowing how to get the attention of the voters. Why are we missing the point of aiming for corrections? This morning on Morning Joe, Dr. Frank Luntz introduced his new book on how to sell a politicsal point of view. I ordered the book but will bring in his missing link needed by all candidates. Frank has written and listened to more campaign speeches than anyone I know and his opinions can be worthy of listening to or ignored.

    He threw out the word “Imagination” as a good place to start. If the Candidates want more suggestions in why they will or will not vote for a candidates, he wants to know what is missing.

    We all have a short, clean, easy definition for our government to follow but what exactly does this mean? I want the core of free enterprise capitalism back but as seen above, it is too extreme and too difficult to describe.

    As I mentioned on another thread, we need to determine how much government we require to get through another term of POTUS. Do we as individuals have the imagination to discuss the problem?

    Many here want the wealth redistributed so they don”t have to learn how to be successful CEOs. Many have never used their imagination to envision themselves as successful in any capacity. Why? Time constraints? or could it be a lack of knowledge in what they really want to achieve?

    We are born in Freedom, but can we keep it? Do we have the ability to protect our own freedoms and not be taken in by some illegal quick system of making money without working for it? Do we really believe that if corporations were forced into paying higher taxes, that money would be used to make more jobs?

    I do not believe we are as stupid and ignorant as described by griff. If he truly was concerned he might just throw out some suggestions. If I were standing in front of him, I would ask him how much government he wants to make everything equal? The system is faulty and we can fix it by doing the following?

    I would bet my last dollar the solution would come from redistributing the wealth in America and not a single book produced to prove it would work. We are not born with information like this form of government but we are born with the ability to improve our own personal lives and the lives of our fellow Americans.

    Do we even have imaginations left in our brains to fix anything? There are no open forums for discussions on this government mess. There are always hundreds of armed guns filled with labels to stop anyone from finding fault with anything involved in DC.

    Compromise and tolerance have been bred out of the minds of American voters.

  4. woody188

    April 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Is it even fixable at this point?

    Without immediate cuts, our government will default on it’s debt. It’s a matter of when, not if, it will default. It is no longer possible to get out of the debt spiral. It has become a black hole sucking in anything that comes in contact with it.

    Personally, I’m going to continue distancing myself from government and working on self-sufficiency and survival. It isn’t possible to save the nation, but it might be possible to save your family and maybe a few others. This isn’t cold, this is reality. I can’t save you. You have to save yourself!

    I’ve tried to convince others for the better part of a decade of what was coming. We can’t change course. Congress won’t change course. They’d rather continue hitting the iceberg knowing their lifeboats are prepared. Where’s your lifeboat?

    You didn’t prepare one?
    Didn’t you hear the warnings or see the signs?
    Should I let you in my lifeboat if it means it will sink my lifeboat and everyone else on board it?

    Go ask Congress for a lifeboat and let’s see if they will let you in their boat.

    You have to save yourself. Save yourself. Do it. Save yourself. Just do it. Save yourself. No one is going to save you. Save yourself or perish. That is the lesson of Katrina. Save yourself or perish. No one else is to blame if you don’t save yourself. Do it! Save yourself. You are on your own. Save yourself.

    • Almandine

      April 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      You know, Woody, the differences in the state of our “Union” now vs back then… at whatever point in time you want to compare, are glossed over almost universally to the point that serious consideration of what it might take to survive the coming upheaval has not even been contemplated, except for folks like yourself, and of course DHS, Northcom, etc. Back to basics? They can’t imagine.

      Reminded of Dylan… tis a hard rain’s a gonna fall.

      http://neithercorp.us/npress/

      • woody188

        April 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm

        They talk about us as terrorists. That’s all I’ve seen coming from DHS. People storing food or working towards their own survival are to be stopped and held for questioning by the police. We are listed as potential terrorists and racist hate groups by the SPLC and the Fusion centers for simply wanting to survive on our own as free people.

    • griff

      April 2, 2011 at 10:22 am

      Of course it’s fixable woody!

      Just ask Kissinger.

      Notice he has to wipe his mouth when talking about the “New World Order” which doesn’t exist. He’s salivating just thinking about it.

      • DejaVuAllOver

        April 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

        A soon-to-be classic Satan video. Thanks, griff.

  5. logtroll

    April 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Hey! Where are all the Paul constitution posters? I’d like to hear what they think…

    One view of what “basics” might mean is a higher level of civility and respect in politics, and maybe a wee bit o’ pragmatism.

    (You’re right, we’re toast!)

  6. DejaVuAllOver

    April 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I think that, from here on out, whenever we vote, we all should write-in our own name. For every election from City Clerk to POTUS. That way, no-one could, by definition, receive more than one vote. Complete government shut down, time to start over. Set up local election committees, allow everyone a Pentagon-style security code and vote by Internet on each and every issue, with hard copy backup. Secure algorithms DO exist, they’re just (presently) reserved for the terrorists, aka our government. It’s entirely possible, folks.