07/14/2013 03:32 pm ET Updated Jul 15, 2013

Bob Schieffer: U.S. Government No Longer Leads By Example

CBS News' Bob Schieffer waxed pessimistic on Sunday about the state of governance in the United States, lamenting that Washington no longer functions in a way befitting "the greatest country in the world."

During his weekly commentary on "Face The Nation," Schieffer explained that "America has always led best when we led by example." The current state of affairs in the nation's capital, he claimed, set a poor example for the rest of the world.

[A]s I look at the growing list of things Washington has made a mess of lately -- immigration reform, food stamps, farm aid, student loans, deficit reductions, a tax system regardless of its fairness or unfairness so complex no one can understand it, a health care plan that even the administration that passed it can’t figure out how to administer, an Air Force where a third of the combat squadrons are grounded because Congress can’t figure out how to fund them -- I have to wonder: Who would want to be like that?”

In this day, when we are telling others how to run their countries, what do other countries think of the model we are presenting?

Schieffer is no stranger to such critiques. When the 113th Congress began its term in January, he admitted to not being "overly optimistic" about the prospects for productive governance in the legislative branch. In February, he blamed "Washington ineptitude" for the lack of a deal to avert $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would later be triggered by sequestration. In May, he denounced the Obama administration for its notoriously stingy press policy, warning that the lack of access for journalists was hurting the president's credibility.

"I still think of America as the greatest country in the world," Schieffer said in summation on Sunday. "But convincing others of that is probably a harder sell than it used to be."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article referred to "$1.2 billion in automatic spending cuts that would later be triggered by sequestration." The correct figure is $1.2 trillion. We regret the error.



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