One of the things that has been true for politics in the United States is that it rarely leaves one party in power for too long. Usually, different sections of government balance each other out. Consolidated power between the Presidency and the Congress rarely stays that way unless there are moderate voices.
This is one of the reasons that, I believe, the federal government should be more concerned about protecting liberty than amassing power.
The Power of Personality – Pres. George W. Bush
When the attacks of September the Eleventh (9/11) happened over 8 years ago, President Bush used the power of Personality to rally the nation. He stood on the ruins of the Twin Towers in downtown New York and used a bullhorn to rally those that were there. He threw a strike at Yankee Stadium not that much later. He used that personality and determinism to go to war with Afghanistan and to push through the Patriot act, and whether you agree with it or not, he launched the invasion of the Iraq.
It was a crisis, and during that time, he was able to use his personality to get things done that would not normally have happened. He, as President, was able to rally America to do great things.
However, after we look back at what happened:
- Many wonder about the Patriot Act—does it go far enough to protect personal liberty?
- Where are the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction?
- What is the tradeoff between liberty and safety?
Questions that we expect our leaders to make in a snap, we judge from our reverse perspective and then maybe come to different conclusions. And some of these, or most of them, do not have provisions to expire or ways to easily change focus. What is once started is not easily stopped.
The Power of Personality – Pres. Barack H. Obama
President Obama came into office on the power of personality. He’s attempting to govern solely based on it. He attempts to pass policy and force it through the Congress simply because he believes he has the people behind him—or the people that elected him.
The scary part for me is, we know that big decisions that are made in a crisis—whether they be from a Republican or a Democrat—do not seem to create the best solutions to problems.
We also know that, looking back, we often wonder what kind of a mess have we put ourselves in.
What About These Programs?
For example, look at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid:
It sounds like a great idea—we’ll help seniors to not have to work in their later years and we’ll do it by financing it partially over what we collect, and partially what we’ll collect over the next generations.
Except it had a couple of really lousy foundational principles:
- It was crafted during a time where there were more children being born than there is today—fewer children means fewer sources of income!
- It was crafted when people did not live as long as they do today—we have to have more money because people are living longer.
We trained a whole society to look to the government instead of personal savings or retirement plans, and now we’re staring at Social Security going insolvent and we don’t have a good solution to wean the people off or make it work.
By the President’s own speech, Medicare is filled with waste. Why we’re not doing something about it—and waiting until the health care bill is passed is foolishness!
Medicaid is bankrupting states and causing hospitals to close. The foundational principle at work here is that the economy will keep growing and things will go well, but as we’ve discovered, that’s not the case.
Government has a way of planning based on today and not looking forward, but looking forward is what they are supposed to be doing.
If they cannot manage these nation-wide organizations, how do you suspect they will do with a new one? If they are looking forward, do you trust their vision?