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Old 10-17-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
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5 reasons America is still in trouble

Great article from David Rothkoph:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/16/opinio...ns-washington/

Quote:
I blame Kris Kardashian.

Think about it. Doesn't the most recent episode of "Keeping Up with the Debt Limit" feel more as though it were an E! production than one by C-SPAN? Hasn't it been as predictable, brief and of itself, as inconsequential as a Kardashian marriage, as odious as Kanye and as certain to lead to unhappiness as Lamar's reputed drug problem? Doesn't the pinheaded disconnect from reality seem familiar?

The problem is that it is easier to deal with the Kardashians than their counterparts in the Capitol. We can just change the channel. The reality is, we all depend on the U.S. government in enough ways that letting it turn into a repetitive, meaningless form of basic cable melodrama would be a formula for national catastrophe.

We should therefore try to draw lessons from this round of Beltway follies: what we must fix if our country is not to go the way of Kris and Bruce's marriage. Here are five critical problems we must address.

1. The political system is broken

Gerrymandering has caused House districts to be essentially "owned" by one party or the other. That makes general elections irrelevant. So it is primary voters who determine who runs, and they tend to be the more energized, activist voters of the left and right wings. The result? Extremes are rewarded and virtually ensured of re-election.

Add to that campaign finance rules that give disproportionate power to big money, and incumbents and Senate rules that give the minority and individual senators too much power, and you have system in which gridlock is virtually institutionalized. We need campaign finance reform, an end to gerrymandering and rules reform in both houses of Congress, and we need to make these initiatives a top political priority of America's centrist majority.


2. Our national conversation has gotten off-track

Promote extremist politicians and reward them for their extremism, and you get tension, incivility and a reluctance to embrace the compromise that is essential to democracy. Bring in the language of religion and culture wars, and the debate becomes about what divides us rather than what we need to bring us together, about our problems and not about their practical solutions.

Wedge issues then play a greater role in campaigns than new ideas. Opponents become enemies rather than neighbors with alternative views.

We need to defuse the language, edit the loaded terminology, reinvest in the separation of church and state and call out dangerously divisive ideas, racism, sexism and sheer stupidity, like denying science, history or basic arithmetic.

3. Governance has become a lost art

The least-valued skill set in Washington is the ability to actually get things done. We mistakenly believe that articulating a problem is the same thing as solving it. We reward those who give good speeches and not those who have a proven track record of fixing things.

Politicians are too often elected because they advance an ideology, and when they serve, they inevitably focus on what they need to do to be re-elected. But their jobs were created to serve the public, to govern and to lead, even if that means making their positions of power more precarious. We need to start voting for people who have proved their skill at bridging partisan divides and focusing on the needs of the electorate.

4. We are ignoring the really big problems

We are trapped in a cycle of punting problems ahead a few months and chipping away at the margins of issues. When this shutdown/debt-limit crisis is finally resolved, we will have a few months until it recurs. If a deal is struck before another crisis happens, it will be incremental.

Yet America has much bigger issues: a too-slow recovery from a great economic setback, an inability to create good jobs at the rate of past recoveries and, perhaps above all, a failure to address the growing inequality that is dividing our society.

It is not just an economic quirk that 90% of the benefits of the current recovery are accruing to the top 10% of our society; it is a formula for social breakdown and national decline. It is also profoundly unjust. We need to start demanding that leaders address these bigger issues.

5. The American people have failed their government ... and each other

You can't blame the politicians. You elected them. You turned away from the system. You didn't run for office. You didn't write your views down and pass them along to people in power. You didn't fund campaigns that supported people committed to big solutions.

You have become ill-informed, caught up in the name-calling and the partisanship and the climate that created the Washington we have today. You've got the government you deserve. Remember, according to the Constitution, the top job in the U.S. government goes to the voter. If these clowns in Washington can't get it right and you don't fire them, you deserve what you get.

This is not reality television, even though it feels as pointless. This is just reality. And reality, in this democracy, is what the voters make of it. You can't blame Obama or Boehner. Scarily enough, the TV screen, whether it shows the Kardashians or C-SPAN or cable news, is just a mirror, a reflection of what America wants and is.
I agree with the premise of the article. Especially number 2 where the radicals of the political system are the ones with the most power. We are seeing this in the Tea Party and their fight for "good" against "evil" (back to busa's thread). The rhetoric combined with ill-informed citizens are driving this country down.

While he does a good job highlighting issues that need to be fixed, there are other area where America is failing. First, America lacks any accountability. It is always the other person's fault. No one owns their decisions. And Americans cannot get passed their belief in exceptionalism and the chest thumping that goes along with it. There are many good policies, processes, and ideas that do not originate from America. Instead of looking outward and adopting good ideas Americans dismiss anything foreign. If America didn't do it, it wasn't worth doing. Rather than look outward for new solutions many Americans would rather remain in a place of stagnation and failure simply because of an ego that cannot deal with not creating the best ideas. No one is capable of everything. Once we learn that and realize it is acceptable to replicate good ideas, even if they were not our own, than America will be in a better place.

#5 convinces me this article was written by rdseq

Last edited by badfast; 10-17-2013 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:33 AM   #2
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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Great article!
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What would 'busa have done?
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I would love to hear what Busa would have done
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I'd like to know how Busa would handle this situation.
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What are we to do?
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:22 AM   #4
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ooh ooh, throw out another meaningless buzzword without explaining how it actually fixes things!!!
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:28 AM   #5
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ooh ooh, throw out another meaningless buzzword without explaining how it actually fixes things!!!
tort reform
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What would 'busa have done?
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I would love to hear what Busa would have done
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I'd like to know how Busa would handle this situation.
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What are we to do?
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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ooh ooh, throw out another meaningless buzzword without explaining how it actually fixes things!!!
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:35 AM   #7
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vote for me
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:42 AM   #8
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Seriously, though. Good points!
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:47 AM   #9
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Good, talk, guys. I feel that much has been accomplished in this brief dialogue.
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:21 AM   #10
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:38 AM   #11
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Article is bullshit, it says that Democrats engaged in gerrymandering and everyone here says only Republicans do it... And they're never wrong
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:44 AM   #12
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Article is bullshit, it says that Democrats engaged in gerrymandering and everyone here says only Republicans do it... And they're never wrong
I think most serious people realize that both sides are guilty of it, but I'm actually not sure who does more of it. Do you?
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:48 AM   #13
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only 5?
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:49 AM   #14
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only 5?
Most Americans have short attention spans. Gotta keep it easy for them.
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:15 PM   #15
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I think most serious people realize that both sides are guilty of it, but I'm actually not sure who does more of it. Do you?
Article is bullshit
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:37 PM   #16
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IMO dudes opinion is garbage
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:41 PM   #17
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IMO dudes opinion is garbage
would expect nothing less from you. Especially when it comes to providing a counter argument. I am convinced you know how to give your opinion, you are just not very effective at defending it.
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Old 10-17-2013, 01:01 PM   #18
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I think #5 is perhaps the most salient of all.

Our government is OUR government, not some alien entity from across some ocean comprised of some vague bunch of "others," and each and every member of the congressional branch and the heads of the executive branch are there for one reason only, because WE voted them there and thus, WE are ultimately responsible for the government we have. To somehow argue that the government is the enemy is, in essence, to argue that we Americans are the enemy.

GOP/TP doesn't like ACA or the Democratic budget proposals? Fine, fair enough, then propose policy solutions appealing to a broader majority of Americans, get your representatives elect to office on those policies and then legislate and enact those changes into law as has been done for 200+ years. That ACA is the due law of the land and, especially, remains so after the 2012 election indicates that the GOP/TP has failed in that basic element of the democratic process.

Don't try to subvert the machinery of our democratic process to try to unilaterally impose one's policy prescriptions and preferences through raw extortion by holding the government and economy hostage. We now see how that cynical and desperate scheme worked out -- very, very badly for the GOP/TP -- and will only likely make their attempts at implementing their desired policy changes through our regular democratic process very, very difficult.

Rather than subverting and side-stepping our democratic processes, perhaps the GOP/TP should submit and commit to it and get busy crafting broadly appealing policies and then campaigning and getting elected on them.
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Old 10-17-2013, 01:01 PM   #19
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Old 10-17-2013, 01:34 PM   #20
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