Friday, April 25, 2008

Do-Nothing Politics

* I read an article in Foreign Affairs Magazine today entitled the Future of American Power. It was by Fareed Zakaria, who is frequently published in Newsweek, and is one of my favorite journalists. It's a great look at globalization, how America is performing, what reforms could be made in the business and political sectors to make it more innovative, and what the future might look like. I highly recommend reading it.

* Towards the end of the article there is a section called "Do-Nothing Politics" in which Zakaria comments on the stagnation of our current political body hindering needed change and innovation in our society:

The problem today is that the U.S. political system seems to have lost its ability to fix its ailments. The economic problems in the United States today are real, but by and large they are not the product of deep inefficiencies within the U.S. economy, nor are they reflections of cultural decay. They are the consequences of specific government policies.

[...]Progress on any major problem -- health care, Social Security, tax reform -- will require compromise from both sides. It requires a longer-term perspective. And that has become politically deadly. Those who advocate sensible solutions and compromise legislation find themselves being marginalized by their party's leadership, losing funds from special-interest groups, and being constantly attacked by their "side" on television and radio. The system provides greater incentives to stand firm and go back and tell your team that you refused to bow to the enemy. It is great for fundraising, but it is terrible for governing.

* While reading this I couldn't help but substitute "America" with "Illinois." Not only is the situation analogous, but Illinois' current climate is like the aforementioned on steroids.

There are some serious problems in this state that have been greatly exacerbated by the political posturing, bickering, and refusal to compromise by all sides in our government. In the Capitol Fax today Rich wrote:

It doesn’t really matter if the governor wants to get out of town on time if he can’t even get Madigan to return his calls. And the two men have such a poisonous relationship that it’s difficult to see how they can come to any agreement on anything any time soon, let alone address the daunting problems faced by the state.

* It's naive and unrealistic to think that a call to "play nice" could mend the wounds of the past six years. However, it isn't unrealistic to say that the perfect storm that is brewing after the Ali Ata revelations will lead to the end of voter tolerance for the mess in Springfield.

Something needs to be done to address the budget, need for a capital plan, late medicare payments, and other urgent concerns of the state. Someone needs to step up to the plate. Whether that will be one of the three top leaders, or an emerging outside figure remains to be answered.


Antwoin,  1:05 PM  

Impeach and/or recall governor Rod Blagojevich. Before he gets indicted.

Anonymous,  4:04 AM  

Money and hubris are no substitute for integrity and intelligence. The political inertia in America and Illinois can only be stopped by getting rid of a large number of incumbents, party identification, and lobbyists, while limiting the amount spent on elections to what the candidate can raise by himself without matching funds or pure bribery. Incumbent records must be examined and published continually right up to the eve of elections. The terms "liberal" and "conservative" need to go away as well because no candidate is either. And voters need to stop being lazy and not push a button just because they recognize the family name of a candidate. Voters need to think and candidates need to examine their true reason for running. Don't make politics an automatic elevator to riches and make it a full-time job.

Extreme Wisdom 8:04 AM  

When commenting on articles like this, everyone agrees. OTOH, when some one actually proposes solutions, the Lib. Cons. labels and Dem Rep manuevering get locked into place by the same people who just agreed labeling was "bad."

Compromise becomes impossible in this environment. Worse yet, the stuff that DOES get passed is universally stupid, making the problems worse.

(you know...stuff like ethanol subsidies to "fix" the environment)

Here in Illinois, the opportunity to break this deadlock is presented in the form of the Constitutional Convention, where there will fewer "incumbent" delegates, and a good dose of new blood.

Nationally, who knows what the solution is? All past empires have fallen. Maybe we will be the exception, maybe not.

Anonymous,  1:40 PM  

I think the time is right to impeach Gov. Corruptovich....

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