Emancipating America's Electoral Class.

January 25, 2016

This weekend, President Obama praised Hillary Clinton during an interview with Politico. Explaining her sagging poll numbers, as well as a rising Bernie Sanders. The president noted that Clinton's tenure in D.C. might be a detriment.
"Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot and just letting loose," he said. "I think Hillary came in with the both privilege -- and burden -- of being perceived as the front-runner. ... You're always looking at the bright, shiny object that people haven't seen before - that's a disadvantage to her."
Seriously?
If a 74-year old socialist with a 26-year Congressional record represents the party's "bright, shiny object," then we're all in big trouble.
But there's a bigger story.
Buried among all of unique dynamics occurring within the primary season is a trove of evidence revealing just how exhausted the nation's electorate has become with the political system.
Not entirely unique. It's occurred before.
The difference, however, seems that this time the electorate is willing to do something about it. Leaving establishment party apparatchiks quivering in their lambskin Armani loafers.
Washington's inhabitants, like panicked members of some exclusive club under siege, have been touting the benefits of experience. The value in knowing which "levers" to pull in times of crisis.
Of course, that wasn't a benefit eight years ago.
Since then, CNN, Fox, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox Business, CBS, NBC, ABC and the rest have taught the unwashed masses a thing or two.
They've learned that elected officials, especially the president, will be surrounded by the aforementioned "lever experts." Such policy wonks are everywhere. Having made quotidian the incessant discussions occurring on an abundance of outlets every hour of every day.
Outside of the nation's capital, the nation is befuddled by the sheer volume of political strategists, pollsters and career government administrators, all of whom posses a deep familiarity of the governments levers, buttons and pulleys.
Does every church, synagogue, bar, gym and restaurant in Washington D.C. resemble a broadcast media television set? So available and interchangeable are these blazer-wearing political carpenter ants. Incessantly ready to wax upon the government's inner workings on a moment's notice.
Main Street sees a surplus of lever-yanking wonks. What lacks is leadership.
Main Street has come to believe that the president's role is not that of savvy administrator. But visionary leader. Who in crisis can deduce the ointments and salves the nation most requires. Who can see the path the nation need trek in order to navigate its problems. Who can help the country capitalize upon its strengths and opportunities.
Main Street understands that The White House has had a number of recent presidents. What's been lacking is actual leadership.
Consider the growing array of seemingly insurmountable obstacles .
$19 trillion in federal debt. A lack of good paying, career-oriented jobs. Little to no wage growth. The rise of terrorists and despotic regimes the world over. The diminishing net worth of Main Street. The diminishing faith of friends and allies in the United States. The ugly ratio of business deaths to business births. The nation's diminishing entrepreneurial spirit. The cynical, burdensome regulatory morass that permeates America's business landscape.
The sum of which amounts to an increasingly destructive inheritance bestowed upon younger generations. An inheritance that once bequeathed young Americans a surplus of ambition, creativity and pride. Today, it materializes in an ever-growing number of welfare recipients, restaurant employees, cynics, and non-believers in the American dream.
The duopoly running Washington has incessantly promised the moon and stars. Main Street, however, has stopped reaching for them. As anger, frustration and hopelessness mount.
Promises can be empty for only so long. Eventually, they become lies.
Consequently, Main Street has grown tired of ideology, obfuscations, misdirection and endlessly non-productive talking points.
The electorate wants results.
More than any modern president, Ronald Reagan understood the power of results. He spent most of his life outside the duopolistic political establishment. When he arrived, he brought a plan to enhance the stead of the nation. Not its political parties.
Actor cum politician. Democrat turned Republican. Reagan grasped the aspirational responsibilities of the executive office. Realized that the electorate had to believe in something. In something hopeful.
Reagan learned political mechanics. But he brought the magic of leadership.
If optimism permeated the electorate's philosophical perceptions of its future, then the people might accept a president's grand vision for attaining such an outcome. An inheritance deigned to enhance the well being of every American. Not just its political and corporate classes.
When a president's vision of the future and its possibilities is collectively embraced, then a hopeful people unify in achieving a worthy goal.
Blacks. Whites. Hispanics. Asians. Jews. Catholics. Protestants. Muslims. Unified in their belief of and longing for an optimistic vision of the nation's future. One that can elevate the position of every single citizen.
Such a vision, and its collective support, have been missing. Replaced by divisiveness. Mistrust. And contention. Inflamed by cynical politicians seeking to separate voters. Plotting to leverage the small but exploitable disparities between the nation's races, religions and creeds.
Of course, Reagan began with a wholly different premise than that under which Americans currently operate. That being the idea of the government belonging to the people. Once accepted, that premise enabled an electorate to believe in meritocracy. Where anyone can aspire to, and eventually achieve, anything.
Reagan's vision was forged by a philosophical trinity. Which served to idealize the nation's commitment to individual liberty.
First, the nation's manifest destiny held that it would defeat the Soviet Union and turn back the cruel and autocratic tides of communism.
Second, every American was afforded an opportunity to aspire to and attain a position within the nation's ownership society. Land. Home. Personal and financial assets. Security. All within reach of the aspirational and hard working.
Third, Reagan believed that the American system provided its people with the power to solve all problems. Expressing that, "There's no reason for Americans not to believe that we have the answer to things that are wrong."
Ideals in which everybody, Democrat, Republican or independent, could believe.
Today's America lacks such unifying, non-partisan, multi-cultural ideals.
Reagan's 1981 inaugural speech put forth his vision for an America empowered by its founding beliefs. Propelled by the energy of its people. Ennobled by its belief in justice, liberty and the right, should one choose, to pursue happiness.
Some of the address's aspirational lines included:
"We repudiate that the best is past and that we must share in increasing scarcity."
"The genius in our Constitution produced a community more powerful, more prosperous, more intelligent and more free than any the world has ever seen."
"The federal government should perform only those functions called for in the Constitution and all others belong to the states and to the people."
Then, Reagan did something extraordinary.
He spent eight years forging a path to prosperity. Defining a collective vision that began with the will of the electorate. Viewing government solely as a tool towards achieving that will.
Today, the electorate has been thrust into a supporting role. Financially, psychologically and physically assisting in the will of the government.
Which is why outsiders like Donald Trump resonate.
First, in the morose climate that permeates Americana, Trump's Reagan-esque "Make America Great Again" message reverberates down the halls.
Second, and more importantly, if money is the mother's milk of politics, then Trump's refusal to suckle from the teat strikes a powerful chord.
It leaves him unencumbered. Free from the favors and debts due special interest groups, donors, lobbyists and every other political parasite that seeks recompense when a candidate wins office.
Trump operates independently of the traditional party apparatus. Along with its handouts, fundraisers, paybacks, favors, kickbacks and myriad other performance-nullifying responsibilities.
He may be crass, insensitive and vexing. But so were Churchill, Roosevelt and Jobs. And they made excellent chief executives.
Trump may not understand the consequences of the 1790 Treaty of Reichenbach. Nor the effort required for the successful completion of a bi-partisan Congressional discharge petition. But who cares? His staff would be filled with wonks who do.
We are not endorsing Donald Trump. But political independence.
We are reveling in the sight of the nation's two-party duopoly closing ranks and protecting its own. The GOP. The DNC. The world's largest two corporations by budget, brand loyalty and power. Shivering like cold, wet Chihuahuas because their badge-wearing, card-carrying candidates have proven to be empty suits beside an outspoken, independent-minded candidate with a surplus of moxie.
In fact, I believe that Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Washington and Madison would revel, as well. For an all-consuming federal duopoly was not their intent.
Not to celebrate such contrarian spectacle? That would be un-American.

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