Wineke: Democracy can’t work without process
Sometimes I wonder if anyone other than President Biden and a few legislators still have faith in the democratic process.
Biden is currently being slammed by “progressive” Democrats, the entire Republican Party and, seemingly, the entire press corps for letting precious time slip away while he negotiates his agenda with people like West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin.
It remains to be seen whether the Democrats will, in fact, pass infrastructure bills and voting rights legislation into law.
But the process he is following is exactly how politicians who actually believe in the democratic process ought to be acting.
He is negotiating with those who don’t agree with the scope of his proposed legislation. He is making compromises. He is backing down.
Republicans see that as weakness. The Republican Party has become a Trump death cult that seemingly stands for nothing except appeasing the former president. In fact, “seemingly” is too optimistic a word. Just what does the party stand for today aside from standing behind Trump?
So, set them aside for a moment.
The Progressive wing of the Democratic Party is fed up with the president’s cow-towing to the more conservative elements represented by Manchin and Arizona’s Senator Krysten Sinema. They want him to crack down, knock heads together and take action.
In that, they are egged on by a good part of the press. MSNBC’s Brian Williams, for example, keeps mocking the Democrats, proclaiming night after night that, culturally, the Democrats were all presidents of their student councils while Republicans are stone-cold killers.
Other pundits fret that democracy itself is on the line and wonder aloud how Biden fails to see the stakes.
There are two problems with this scorn.
One is, obviously I would think, that the Progressives may have the hearts of the majority of Democrats, they don’t have the votes in Congress.
If Biden wants to get anything done, he has to compromise with Manchin and Sinema. I honestly don’t understand why this is so difficult to comprehend.
The other is that compromise leads to better legislation.
Political ideas fare far better if they are tested and retested among people – politicians in this case – who have to explain them to the folks back home. It is not carved in stone that spending an extra trillion dollars or so will make this a better society. That idea has to be debated and tested.
It would be far better for the country if Republicans would join the debate and enter into the compromise process. But they won’t, so it is up to Manchin and Sinema to raise questions.
The process would be simpler and initially more effective if Biden could be dictator but we aren’t yet at that point.
The problem is that no human being makes a good dictator. That’s why we created a democracy.
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