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Thursday, Oct 23, 2014
Douglas MacKinnon Columns
COLUMN

Leadership a lost art on Capitol Hill

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When, as a people, do we admit we are leaderless? What are the final tipping points that wake us to the fact that Washington is populated by people who look out for themselves first, their party second, and the people last?

For instance, the signature programs of Barack and Michelle Obama are falling apart before their eyes, and they just don’t seem to care. Shouldn’t that be a tipping point?

Since 2004, when the Democratic machine and the fickle finger of fate plucked Barack Obama from obscurity and made him the keynote speaker for the 2004 Democratic convention, the first couple has been showered by a firehose of money, luxury and opportunity that will cascade upon them for the rest of their lives. So what if the programs they pushed upon the American people now unravel? It’s clearly never going to affect their celebrity lifestyle.

A columnist for The Washington Post just took the president to task in a column headlined: “Obama vacations as the world burns.”

As President Obama spends two weeks on Martha’s Vineyard mingling with the Hollywood elite and playing his 200th round of golf, “Obamacare” enrollment numbers are dropping as patients come to the shocking realization that it raises their rates dramatically while lowering their standard of care. If that spreading rebellion bothers him, the president is doing a great job of hiding it.

For Michelle Obama, the news is no better. School after school is opting out of her federal school lunch program. Why? Because children are choosing not to eat at all rather than be forced to eat food chosen for them by the First Lady and others. School administrators are deciding that dumping the program is healthier for their students than keeping it.

Beyond that fact, school leaders are fighting back against the nanny state tactics of the program. John Barge, state school superintendent for Georgia, told an Atlanta TV station, “We don’t have enough teachers in our classrooms and now we are expected to hire some type of food police to monitor whether we are having bake sales or not. That’s just asinine.”

Indeed it is, but as the asinine becomes the norm, the president seems to be retreating even further and faster from the duties of his office. Who is going to step up? Where are the adults in the room?

Never has our country needed true leadership more, and never have we been so leaderless. Petty political issues are being created and then magnified with the express purpose of both distracting and polarizing voters. That’s all for the greater good of politicians.

This is not a partisan issue. This is reality, a self-destructive reality created by both parties led by entrenched establishments existing in a pampered and isolated bubble for so long they have lost touch with not only the real issues confronting the American people, but from the imminent threat posed by the fanatics from without who aim to destroy us.

A number of years ago, I was privileged to have lengthy conservations with George McGovern, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Bob Dole. Two Democrats and one Republican, but statesmen all. They are men who not only served our nation with distinction, but who worked diligently to move it forward. Ideology aside, they were political giants. If we look at Congress and our government today, such statesmanship seems all but extinct.

The Republican leadership substitutes lawsuits for policy while the administration mangles our healthcare system and takes away macaroni and cheese from school children. Bravo.

When he was first running for president, Barack Obama was fond of saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He was absolutely correct.

And yet, of late, both political parties offer up highly flawed presidential candidates “over and over again” and tell us that is the best we are going to get.

The American people deserve so much better.

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