Pragmatic Governance Should Guide Democratic Voters
People can say a lot of things about me, and they most certainly do. But there is one thing even my friends on the other side of the political aisle will have to agree with when it comes to my views. I walk the talk.
Early in President Obama’s first term there were many gay Americans who were clamoring for a far more strident and determined approach to issues that impacted their lives. Being gay, I too, wanted to see progress made and steps taken to remove DADT and work for marriage equality.
But I also knew the stimulus package, caring for the auto industry, and fashioning a health care plan was more than the most tip-top White House could handle all within the first year. I stated at the time gay Americans needed to wait. There was no doubt where Obama wanted to lead the nation about the issues which impacted me personally, but there was a need to govern with pragmatism given all the pressing needs of the country.
We waited, but in the end gay people prevailed. The other major needs of the nation were also addressed and in so doing a lesson should be clear for Democrats as we seek our party nominee.
The passion and energy unleashed by Bernie Sanders is stunning and there is no way not to listen and be caught up in the mood. But the lower-key style and skilled approach to meeting the challenges of national and international issues in the manner that Hillary Clinton approaches them is also to be highly valued.
It is great to dream bold as Sanders does, but in the real world of Washington one has to work not only with a diverse and mostly uncontrollable Congress but also bring along an increasingly partisan electorate that seems more inclined to head to the fringes than seek common cause in the middle. Any president must understand from the start the best way to succeed is knowing pragmatism and compromise must be constantly used in governing. As I watch and listen to Sanders there is nothing in his speeches or interviews which proves to me that he has a grasp of this essential lesson.
There are cheerful pleas for his audience to start a revolution and believe that college is going to be a free commodity in this nation. Sanders expresses that taxes are going to be increased (something I feel should happen) but the ease with which he makes voters think these things can happen in modern-day Washington is akin to the guy who showed up in Dodge City trying to sell an elixir. In Gunsmoke Matt Dillon helped move that type of salesman out of town.
In today’s rancorous nominating process it is Clinton who is bringing sanity to the populace. Democrats just need to be smart enough to know why it is happening.
Her appeal to me and to many others in the party is the fact she has been able to effectively deal with issues and move matters forward. After the dysfunctional way Congress has worked over the past seven years should prove that we at least need to have one part of our national government that is grounded in reality. We need at least one leader in Washington come 2017 who has a dose of pragmatism along with an interest in making government work.
Many agree with me that over the past years the level of disagreement and polarization from Washington has been more than we ever thought possible. Everything seems intractable when it comes to how our national government responds to the needs of the people. Too many ideas have become the victim of old-fashioned partisan gridlock. We must vote smart when selecting our Democratic nominee so that matters do not get worse. We need to be as pragmatic in our voting for a nominee as our next leader will be in governing.