Takes one to know one
Leadership failure 101 by Tom Daschle
Presidents have failed as well as Congress at a basic responsibility of planning and budgeting.
“In at least four of the past ten years alone, Congress has failed to produce any budget at all.” Tom Daschle
American voters are 100% at fault. We elect people who are incompetent.
“Washington’s leadership failure on the debt ceiling
By Tom Daschle, Published: June 27
This piece is part of a leadership roundtable with Post columnist Steven Pearlstein and five expert contributors — Governor Mitch Daniels, former Senate leader Tom Daschle, Harvard professor John P. Kotter, former Congressman Slade Gorton and Wharton professor Stuart Diamond — about the leadership issues at the core of the U.S. debt debacle.
Dwight Eisenhower once described leadership as the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
He could have been talking about Congress. Having been on both ends of that definition of leadership in scores of policy negotiations over the years, it appears to be getting harder with each Congressional session and with each new freshman class. It is especially true regarding past and present negotiations on the federal budget and this year’s drama on raising the debt limit.
In at least four of the past ten years alone, Congress has failed to produce any budget at all. That is because, in large part, neither presidents nor congressional leaders were able to execute Eisenhower’s description and get the other side to do something because they wanted to do it.
At the very root of this failure is the two parties’ fundamental difference of opinion on the role of government in modern society. The Republicans’ view that we must severely limit its role has led them to pledge, almost universally, not to support new taxes that would fund an enlarged government at any level. Just last Thursday, the Republican congressional negotiators pulled out of the deficit reduction talks because of Democrats’ insistence that taxes be included as part of the final agreement. Meanwhile the Democrats’ view that government’s role is essential in making society fairer, especially during economic downturns, has led them to oppose any major change in our national health and retirement programs.
Yet, policymakers have very limited choices. Most realize that they can only marginally reduce the debt and deficit by cutting domestic discretionary spending programs. That leaves only three tough options: cut defense, cut mandatory spending (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) or raise taxes.
The result has been a political leadership standoff, exacerbated by four major factors.
First, both party bases have become more demanding and far more successful in maintaining a disciplined ideological rigidity in these debates. Republicans have been completely committed, for example, to taking off the table higher tax rates—even rates that would merely approach Reagan administration levels—despite the fact we’re seeing the lowest revenue as a percent of GDP in more than fifty years.
Second, special interests from all sectors have applied immense pressure on members of Congress to protect their priorities. Given the Citizens’ United ruling by the Supreme Court, the opportunity for money to inundate the policymaking process is now completely unlimited.
Third, most in Congress suffer from a Washington political reality that goes like this: Repeat something often enough and it becomes fact.”
A South Dakota native, Daschle obtained his university degree there, and served in the United States Air Force. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1978 and served four terms. In 1986, he was elected to the Senate, becoming minority leader in 1994. Defeated for re-election in 2004, he took a position as a policy advisor with a lobbying firm, and also became a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He co-authored a book advocating universal health care.
Daschle was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy, and was offered the position of Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services after the 2008 election. He was President Barack Obama's nominee to serve as the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) inObama's Cabinet, but withdrew his name on February 3, 2009, amid a growing controversy over his failure to accurately report and pay income taxes.He is currently working for the global law firm DLA Piper.”
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