Friday, September 21, 2012

Changing Washington from the outside; a case of an irresistible force meeting an unmovable object.

Barack Obama's admission on Univision the other day that he was unable to change Washington from the inside and it had to be changed from the outside. gave the Romney talk machine a point to be made that Obama had failed as a leader to create bi partisanship and break the gridlock.

The Obama PR machinery countered with a video of Romney saying exactly the same thing several years ago.

If Pres. Obama is guilty of not schmoozing and golf playing with Congressional Republicans, the House Republicans have also their share of guilt: making it clear they will oppose anything Obama proposed; signing on to a pledge never, never ever to raise taxes...or revenue;  and to make sure Obama appears to be a failure.

It reminds me of the old paradox of what happens when an irresistible force meets an unmovable object. It results in gridlock. Wikipedia gives  an accounting  of  how the paradox was solved In Greek mythology. "The Teumessian fox[1] or Cadmean vixen, was a gigantic fox that was destined never to be caught .... The then Regent of Thebes, set Amphitryon the impossible task of destroying this beast. He discovered an apparently perfect solution to the problem by fetching the magical dog Laelaps, who was destined to catch everything it chased. Zeus, faced with an inevitable contradiction due to the paradoxical nature of their mutually excluding abilities, turned the two beasts into stone. The pair were cast into the stars, and will remain there forever more."

What is grim about the Zeus solution, is that the paradox and the Zeus solution  will probably define Obama's second term if he wins and the lame duck Congress cannot reach compromise on the fiscal cliff issues.   At this point it looks like the Democrats will retain just enough votes in the Senate to deliver legislation that reflects Obama's agenda and the House will not purge itself of the unmovable Tea Party.   Without the outside pressure of public opinion or a revolt within the GOP against the Tea Party obstructionism, little will change. If the GOP experiences losses up and  down ballot...Senate, House, state governments and legislatures...that might be the outside force that changes the obstructionist House and they feel freed from their prior session pledges.   That  will happen only if  the GOP itself realized that    the movement of the GOP to the extreme right is viewed as the reason for their losses.

If Mitt Romney wins, the question is: will the Democrats in the Senate fill the same role as the House Republicans? That could happen, too, but as the moment of writing this, the scenario of Romney winning is the less likely outcome.

Assuming Obama wins, the only way out of the paradox without changes within the GOP  is to do what Obama has begun doing with his edict on the "Dreamers" :   a workaround the House, to do what he can do within the existing laws and using his executive powers: of appointing those to 
administrative positions favoring his positions  and determining the outcome within regulatory bodies, and making executive orders that do not contradict laws. If schmoozing the key,  and he does not want to cut into his family dinner time, perhaps he should do more during  happy hour.   A  remaining tool  is to use his bully pulpit to rally public opinion and public sentiment so that  becomes the ultimate outside force.

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