Saturday Column: U.S. needs president who can break the gridlock
Appeals for voter and financial support by those seeking the U.S. presidency are bound to become more intense as the various state primary elections and the Nov. 8 general election draw near.
The time and money spent by these candidates on the just-completed Iowa caucuses (really nothing more than holding a moist finger in the air to determine which way the wind is blowing) is almost obscene considering all of today’s pressing needs.
As in most election cycles, the name of the game seems to be who or which party can offer the most attractive freebies or subsidies to entice voter support. Ideas relative to effective government, fiscal soundness, national security, the environment, terrorism, immigration, etc., are discussed, but, in far too many cases, voters base their ballot decisions on which candidate appears to mirror their own wishes, rather than on what might be best for the country.
Almost 50 percent of this nation’s adult population relies on some form of government subsidy so, for those on either side of the subsidy divide, it’s almost a matter of voting for or against Santa Claus (Uncle Sam) and the attractive goodies in his bag.
This situation is growing more contentious year by year, election by election.
Most presidential candidates try to present themselves as open to close cooperation with those in the other party. They promise to use bipartisan efforts to mend severe divisions in the U.S. House and Senate and increase cooperation between Congress and the White House. They pledge tough measures to reduce the nation’s debt, improve trade relations with other countries, combat terrorism and place Social Security on a sound fiscal footing.
It all sounds great, but once the election is over, it’s back to the same highly partisan, raw political warfare. Genuine legislative negotiation and compromise are little but a forgotten campaign promise.
Campaigns in Iowa, New Hampshire and soon in South Carolina and throughout the country focus on the idea “Washington is wrecked” and that the federal government produces a tremendous amount of lip service but no meaningful action.
Based on the charges, countercharges and accusations among GOP candidates and the two Democratic candidates, along with claims of mismanagement, corruption, lies, etc., across party lines, is there really any justification to believe that once the election is over, everyone will apologize for what was said during the campaign and actually join hands to try to fix the Washington mess?
Not likely. Just four more years of political gridlock.
Consider this possibility. It calls for many “ifs” and one giant “if,” but something needs to be done to correct a Washington situation that is deteriorating, debilitating and potentially deadly for our country.
What if Donald Trump, a true outsider who looks like he might have a chance of winning, would announce that, if he is elected, he would serve only one term. He would not move into the White House or, almost from the first day, mold his legislative actions to place him in a favorable position to win a second term.
He would do and demand what is best for the country, not what is best for the Republican or Democratic parties. He would call for changes that have been identified in the past but no one had the political courage to take action.
Such leadership might, just might, force leaders in both political parties to join the effort. Certainly such actions would have the support, maybe even the enthusiastic support of the public. Something would be getting done in Washington, not just talk.
The big “if” in this is whether Trump would be able to swallow or set aside his ego. In his campaign, he talks about getting the nation’s best and brightest, regardless of party, to serve in critical government positions. He says he would listen and pay attention to what senior and knowledgeable military and intelligence officers advise. Would he follow through on his nice-sounding pledge?
Something has to be done. The current situation is not working for the benefit of the country and its citizens. The national debt cannot continue to rise unchecked, more people need to have meaningful employment and our national security is weak. There is far more negative than positive thinking, and, as one extremely knowledgeable observer said, this country needs “some sunshine. There’s not a drop of sunshine among this year’s class of presidential candidates.”
Could an outsider such as Trump, as bombastic as he is and as infuriating as he is to some, be able to initiate actions and policies, with the help of nonpartisan advisers, that would create a new Washington image that would renew the public’s confidence in their government?
He is a borderline Republican and, compared to other current presidential hopefuls, carries less partisan political luggage. He’s not a Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton.
As noted above, the one-term Trump possibility carries with it a lot of “ifs,” the biggest of which is Trump’s ego, but something needs to be done. Are there others who would pledge to serve only one term if elected and would Trump agree to such a radical commitment?
Who or where is the true statesman?