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The trouble with blaming “excessive expectations.”

August 10, 2017

It’s a pretty fair bet that America at least tacitly agrees with the President when he takes issue with Mitch McConnell’s statement that he expected “too much” from Congress. They would argue that Congress expects too little of itself.

Perhaps the President’s business background did not adequately prepare him for the time it takes to turn grain into flour by letting it grind ever so slowly through the millstones of Congress.

And perhaps the stones are simply worn too smooth to do the job. That’s not necessarily the fault of Mitch McConnell, but rather of the process itself and the passage of time.

The Founding Fathers designed a system that was intended to provide both yeast and leavening via the process. They were adamant that Congress not become a rubber stamp for any president.

The House was meant to interpret the needs and sometimes the wishes of the people, while the Senate was there to act as a brake on irrational popular exuberance.

But that’s a brake, not a brick wall. This discontent with the process is more than simple redneck rebellion.

Critics point out that in the 17th and 18th and most of the 19th century, news of global events moved at the speed of sailing ships. Their argument is that the process needs to catch up with the 21st century a bit more. Taking months to decide on policy and implementing it no longer has the luxury of time.

So far nothing of any substance or national importance whatsoever relative to the GOP campaigns of 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, save the inevitable confirmation of Justice Gorsuch, has managed to wend its way all the way through the political process.

No healthcare insurance reform.  No consensus, indeed no work at all on the budget. No working framework for tax reform. No new bridges or resurfaced highways. When Congress went home this year, confirmations were running far, far behind.

Meanwhile the critics complained that Trump is not clearing out Obama holdovers fast enough and insurance premiums shot through the roof while citizens cried foul and the media blamed him for not being “involved” enough .

No wonder the President is a bit cranky.

Switching metaphors for a moment, Republicans have been burning rubber on the starting line for so long they’ve worn out their tires and blown up their engines. It’s time to release the line lock.

Yes, this President is impetuous, impatient, demanding and often woefully naïve about politics. He often does create chaos when he shouldn’t.

But his impatience is mirrored on Main Street. Listening to Senator McConnell prattle on about procedure, while putting process above results was not and is not what America voted for last year.

Perhaps the first place to achieve the much ballyhooed compromise is not across the aisle, but between the House and Senate leadership and the Oval Office.

In the end, the country wants to see progress on the issues they voted on last year. It’s been nine months, and yet we seem to be no further along than we were on November 9, 2016.

It’s even conceivable that if the President got more cooperation he might be more willing to back off on some of his confrontational habits a bit too.

So far, the only bipartisan cooperation seems to be on the resist movement, and don’t think for one minute that voters don’t see the lack of results in that light.

The people delivered the GOP the best harvest they could, but what good is a truckload of grain, if it doesn’t wind up as bread before it becomes moldy?

From → op-ed

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