A mostly forgotten comedy show called That Was The Week That Was aired first on the BBC and then on NBC in the 1960s; it skewered the high and mighty. The title sums up my timeline. While many are writing end-of-the-year columns, I can’t escape the last week or two.
I find interesting that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Congressman Joe Crowley in a Bronx Congressional District to be one of four hundred and twenty-five members of Congress, is now celebrated in article after article, many devoted to her various socialist causes.
It was said often in the venture world of dot com startups, circa the turn of the century, that this or that entrepreneur was “smoking his own dope” or “breathing his own exhaust.” If the Democrats are inebriated by the hard left agenda, we might well have another four years of Trump inebriates.
Many (myself included) wonder whether the world has gone mad. While most media gush over left-wing proposals that we cannot afford even if they made sense, we have a President that is engaged in performance art diplomacy. He should be briefly introspective: Trump to Trump, “how would I feel if I was presented with one loud public proposal after another from an adversary that if accepted would cause me to lose face?” Politicians—democrats and autocrats alike—put a 5-Star value on face.
President H.W. Bush was celebrated because he was able to influence real or potential adversaries with quiet diplomacy aided by principled resolve. I hope, but doubt, that the acclaim Bush received will influence the President. We can only hope that it sets a benchmark for future leaders.
And now a word on last week’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act, as altered by congressional and judicial actions since its passage in 2010, is no longer constitutional.
I am not a constitutional scholar (understatement) but my brief review of Judge O’Connor’s decision causes me to conclude that it is tenable. Some have dismissed it as politically inspired; I agree with Chief Justice Roberts that branding judges and opinions as politically inspired is mostly wrong and certainly corrosive.
My suggestion: Congress has a great opportunity to renew “regular order” and a new healthcare law should become the “poster child” of a healthy legislative branch. Regular Order anticipates a thorough Committee process with public hearings and the holding of multiple votes which accommodate minority points of view that can be both revealing and helpful.
According to the most recent CNN poll, just 18 percent of voters approve of Congress, while 75 percent disapprove. We need both a bipartisan health care law and a healthcare process for the Congress.
And now a brief look into the crystal ball. The fact Donald Trump won the Electoral College is instructive—learn the lessons. The fact he is burdened with intense disapproval in all the polls is instructive—learn the lessons. A wise friend of mine noted: “Look to your values. Over time, values are more potent than power.”
Two lessons should be evident. The next President will depart from his Party’s script. Leadership is not scripted by the Party’s special interests. Character seeks out its own space and it is not found in the grubbier reaches of politics.
And the next President won’t be Trump because most Americans are embarrassed by him. He fails an essential test; they don’t know how to explain him to their children. Those who reflected on President George H. W. Bush, yearn for steady and respectful leadership. 2020 is the year!
I have been reminded. The reminder is to let you know that you can still buy my book, Culture Leads Leaders Follow. Biased opinion, great Christmas gift.
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.