The Guardian State

This column appeared in the Albany Times Union May 31 2014.


David Brooks in his column (“State of Guardian states,” May 21) argues democracy is in decline worldwide, citing the increased number of democratic governments that are rated as functioning poorly. He plainly thinks our own country is doing badly, with a “pathetic” 26 percent of voters believing in the government’s ability to do the right thing.

As for a solution, he thinks we should borrow a page from China or Singapore. How would that work out? There would be a lot of Simpson-Bowles-type commissions that would enable us to react to changing times more rapidly.

Here we have a conservative columnist decrying gridlock. The irony is truly astonishing. How many crises have we been through brought on by House Speaker John Boehner and the tea party Republicans who have been pulling him around by the nose hairs, threatening default on our debt, and then forcing a partial government shutdown to try to force right-wing policies on the Obama administration?

In a democracy, and in contrast to China, it is possible to vote out those responsible for bad government. Here’s hoping it happens soon.

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