Ever since Theodore Roosevelt the Bully Pulpit has been used to persuade and convince the public of the President's position on an issue and to get action. Our great Presidents (yes there have been some on both sides)were wise to use this powerful tool on a limited and often non-political basis when the nation's interests were what mattered.
Now,it's become an ineffective device to which no one pays attention. In fact, the influence of the Office of the President has been significantly diminished when domestic issues are at stake because of too many speeches, phony town hall gatherings, daily press briefings and the palaver the 24-hour news cycles spawn via a faineant yet opinionated media.
To combat this effluence of executive propaganda, the legislative branch responds with an eqivalent barrage of tripe. And, of course, the media gobbles up this nonsense and filters it based on their bias.
We can't count on the politicians to get anything done because of their public posturing in front of cameras and mikes. But we do suspect that, in private, some degree of modicoum and bipartisanship still exists.
So, here's what I propose as the replacement for the old Bully Pulpit. Whomever wins the Presidency should use this technique. Congress too.
1.Eliminate the daily press briefings and keep Air Force One on the ground unless for national emergencies and required foreign travel. Also, eliminate those wasteful Congressional "fact finding" junkets.
2.Schedule monthly formal press conferences.
3.Send (don't make the speech) a State of the Union message accompanied with an annual set of nine objectives for the government. Three budget and deficit reduction; three Defense; three economy and entitlements. Incidentlly, how's that Department of Homeland Security working out for us. Are we getting our monies worth?
4.Schedule monthly meetings for the year and note the agenda items for each meeting. Make sure the dates don't conflict with events of national importance (NFL games, American Idol, etc.)
5. Schedule total coverage of the meetings on C-SPAN.
6. Appoint a non-partisan facilitator.
7. Arrange meeting room with Executive on one side and House and Senate on the other. Facilitator in the middle.
8. 'Bully" the Cogressional Leadership (and that means all the players who control the votes in both parties) to attend. Include those faceless parliamentarins to ratify the legislative process and staff members as advisors to participants. The Executive Branch should have all members of the Cabinet.
9. Let all positions on each issue be articulated (time limits please). Match pros and cons so the gap between positions can be evaluated and risk assesments determined.
10. The facilitator must be empowered to narrow the gaps by negotiating with all sides to compromise toward the goal.
11. The facilitator must evaluate and grade the levels and degrees to which each side was willing to compromise and if it happens that a compromise can't be achieved identify those who were responsible for the failure.
12. The President then advocates all the positive outcomes and enforces the "no change in position" rule. That now becomes the new Bully Pulpit.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
We need to shut down the icon museum. For years the museum housed a modest assemblage of godlike, heroic, mythical or religious artifacts, images, symbols and idols. Attendance wasn't overwhelming but those who knew of its existence appreciated the authenticity of the collection. Sadly, in recent years,the museum has become victum to an influx of so-called "iconic" events, places and people donated by intellectually sloppy individuals-primarily from the media-who either can''t take the time to properly describe their "icon" or just don't know how. In the past, noteworthy people, places or events were made historically significant by descriptive narratives which, in an eloquent and respectful way, permanently memorialized them. Now, concurrent with an otiosity that pervades the public forum the word icon or iconic gets attached to any and every ephemeral person, event or thing that is the subject of a media snippet.One might have an academic of enormous accomplishment paired with a pop star who wears gaudy clothing as their "signature"--both being branded ICONIC!!! Shameful indeed. Before we close the musuem let's throw in for display some other "iconic" phrases like,"the fact of the matter...", "the bottom line...", and finally "awesome".
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
In an ironic and maddening way the politicians (House, Senate and White House), by way of their spineless inability to get off their "principled" positions have created an opportunity for this country to find some certainty for the next couple years-and that may be enough time for the economy to naturally "right itself". The forced reductions in government expenditures and the reinstatement of the Bush tax cuts are acceptable steps to take and might be just the right medicine to get the economy out of its funk. Are they painful? Not really. Any good businessman can tell you its easy to cut 10% out of an operation and not miss a beat and don't tell me that the Defense Department can't take the hit. That's just plain BS. Also, reinstating the tax provisions the Bush Administration eliminated were never deemed to be permanent. We'd just be getting back to a period where the economy was percolating along rather nicely and showing surpluses (from year to year) which could have begun to reduce the long term deficit). So, if you ask me, now that the politicians have shown their talents at not being able to do what's right let's tell them to go home so they can't mess anything up and let the sequestration take hold. Oh, and tell those presidential candidates to stay out of it too!