Obama - Failure of Leadership, or Legislation?
by Trey Rentz, Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 07:14:50 AM EST
There have been questions raised regarding Obama's leadership. What basis?
The previous administration dealt heavily in the crossover between the executive and legislative - putting candidates up during recesss, having the vice president ramrod falsified intelligence through committees and even going out to the public at large to attempt to justify and square their actions with congress (does anyone remember that the Bush Administration spent millions of our tax dollars on ad campaigns like the one 'Support the Presidents Policy of Pre-emptive Strike') leading us to the most costly administration in the history of American government.
However, Obama has been an advocate of balanced, effecient government. Obama's healthcare proposal - laid out to congress in an address - and not a public ad campaign - included the key element of reform - the ability for people like you and I to receive national healthcare - the one issue that energizes the entire electorate. This is because, as a leader - Obama truly connects with the electorate - and understands us.
Following the President's lead - the house of representatives forged a strong bill that included a public option. Further, Speaker Pelosi stood strong on the issue and the house version still contains National Health Service.
However, the Senate passed a series of measures that could only be qualified as giveaways to the lobbyists that had been allowed to write them. The senate transformed a transparent process into an Opaque series of transformations and allowed a monstrosity of a bill to be formed from the meetings and input gathered by lobbyists assigned to write the legislation. The bill went from progressive reform - to one that requires every man woman and child in America to buy their insurance from a private company. Does anyone remember the medicare reform that passed - which prohibited the US government from getting reasonable prices in quantity discount? Just as this other senate wonder bill arose from that process - a bill that no less required you - if you went to the dunkin' donuts - to buy each donut individually instead of cheaper by the dozen - so too the president's agenda met an installed form of corruption in the senate.
We stand here at a key moment in the passage of Healthcare reform. Some have said that the President's adoption of various elements of the bill - in his latest attempt to kickstart a stalled process - and his repackaging of the reform amounts to a failure of leadership.
The reality is that the failure exists wholly in the legislative process. We should not demand our president to be a legislator. Far from it. We should insist upon separation of the legislative and executive. To place upon the head of our president - a failure of a single institution - is to misdirect us as to the nature of the beast.
The reality is that the senate is a horribly broken institution. So much so that a senior senator recently resigned (Bayh) in protest of its condition. Lobbyism for six year tenure so called 'statesmen' has reached an all time high.
The President has asked America to press forward with reform - and selected a few key points. This does not mean we should rewrite the house bill to drop the public option - this means we should press forward through reconciliation to pass real reform - the house version of healthcare reform.
Reconciliation has been rumoured widely to include these elements. The correct view of Obama's leadership is not that we should abandon change, but rather continue the upward arc of our country - rising up from a massive bank crash - a huge foreign policy debacle - and ultimately to the betterment of life for all of us.
Ask yourself - if a public healthcare reform proposal arose from the halls of the legislative process - that contained a National Health Service - would Obama sign it?
If your answer is yes, then there is no failure of his leadership. His job is to sign the bill into law. Not write it.
Instead, the failure is a massive, corrupting mechanism of lobbyist driven policy engineering that has infiltrated the American senate. It is a million dollar industry - probably even billions of dollars -with its offices in Falls Church, Virginia , McLean, and other places just outside of Washington - and they are running the senate. To accept that this is Obama's failure is to at once misdirect the focus of the American public away from the legislative failure that occurred in the Senate - and to adopt implicitly the kind of policies that created the problem.
Did I get this right or am I just whistlin' dixie?
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