Face The Nation: Obama's First Task Is Restoring Credibility

(h/t Heather)

Bob Schieffer's closing tells us what we already know: the country does not trust politicians any more to make things better for the citizenry. However, for all of its self-evident truth, it is frustrating to hear him take such a passive stance in not pinpointing that this impotent lip service to public good is as much a hallmark of Republican politics as union busting, corporatism and privatization. That doesn't absolve the Democratic Party, who have been frustratingly as impotent as the Repubs, but in a different, blinded battered spouse kind of way.

(T)his is an observation on how ineffectual both Congress and the administration have become.

Years of political spin, rosy reports that never seem to match the pictures on television (remember "Brownie, you've done a heck of a job"), and endless partisan turf wars have left the country cynical and suspicious of everything Washington says and does.

So Washington is unable to generate the political will to do anything.

Government's credibility has sunk so low that the pronouncements - no matter how dire - from the lame duck President and the even more unpopular Congress go unheeded, if not unheard.

The credibility of Washington was destroyed by the Bush White House (backed by their Republican colleagues in Congress) that Iraq had nuclear weapons in their non-existent WMD arsenal, that NCLB would improve education, that the Healthy Forest Initiative would be good for the environment, and many more, along with they would bring honor and dignity to Washington...all lies on par with the worst Orwellian nightmare. But yeah, let's make this a "Washington" problem, instead of acknowledging that its genesis lies in the Republican platform. I know we're all supposed to be adults and above this kind of partisanship now, but I don't see how we will ever get traction to move past this kind of inertia until we see the problems for what they are.

Transcripts below the fold

A cartoon from the Houston Chronicle caught the flavor.

A man standing in front of a burning building labeled "the economy" is shouting into a phone: "My house is on fire, how soon can you get here?"

A fireman who looks like Barack Obama answers, "January 20th."

Yes, we do get only one President at a time, and this is not a comment on who had the right idea on the auto bailout.

Rather, this is an observation on how ineffectual both Congress and the administration have become.

Years of political spin, rosy reports that never seem to match the pictures on television (remember "Brownie, you've done a heck of a job"), and endless partisan turf wars have left the country cynical and suspicious of everything Washington says and does.

So Washington is unable to generate the political will to do anything.

Government's credibility has sunk so low that the pronouncements - no matter how dire - from the lame duck President and the even more unpopular Congress go unheeded, if not unheard.

When Republicans killed the bailout bill, the Republican President was so lacking in influence he could only watch.

Yes, there's a new fire chief coming January 20th, but his first assignment is not to put out the economic fire. First, he must restore the government's credibility.

He might begin by just being candid. Don't over-promise, don't underestimate the difficulty of what's ahead, and please, no magic solutions or assurances that all of this can get done without sacrifice or inconvenience to any of us.

That's the one approach we have proven simply doesn't work.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.