Today, the Republicans in the Senate voted for the third time to stop the Senate from debating Wall Street Reform on the floor. The Republicans still won't do their part to rebuild the trust between Washington and the American people and are willing to risk America's economic safety and stability to play some short term political game.
A recent poll by the Pew Center reveals that only 22 percent of Americans say they can trust government all or most of the time and only 25 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Congress. Similarly banks and large corporations are viewed negatively by over 60 percent of the public and only 31 percent of Americans view the media as having a positive effect on the way things are going.
We have a crisis in leadership just at the time we need a national will to maintain our competitiveness. Our country borrows too much money from China, Saudi Arabia and Japan and the politicians will probably have to ask Americans to pay more taxes and receive fewer benefits to cut the deficit. As the manufacturing base disappears Americans need to invest in green energy that will create new jobs and small businesses here at home. Then we must train our workers in the skills needed to serve them and stop cutting education to balance state budgets.
This is all tough stuff and the United States needs a Republican Party that is trying to fix this nation, not treat it like a political pinata. The problems we face are too daunting and will require a generational effort to unravel. That means one party or ideology, no matter how much one agrees with it, can credibly solve these problems alone. Instead, we need conservatives to offer ideas along with progressives that lead to consensus solutions that will last from one administration to the next with only a few adjustments made to meet the ideological leanings of any new president or majority.
By standing in the way of Wall Street reform, health care, alternative energy policy and anything else the Democratic president and majority proposes without trying to make the proposals better, Republicans are shirking their responsibility to the nation when we need them most.
Their voters deserve to have a seat at the table and their ideas deserve to be a part of the process.
We need constructionist political leaders willing to risk their political futures to make our country stronger -- not a destructionist party willing to risk the economic security of the nation to have their chance at leading it. The funny thing is the risk of doing something in this case is small.
Americans overwhelmingly support reforming Wall Street and the performance of the bankers on Capitol Hill this week hasn't helped. I'm all for businessmen having a little swagger when they make money, but when your industry almost brings down the entire economic momentum of the United States a little humility might be more in order. Republicans should stand with the rest of us in reining them in.