Enough Is Enough

I have always been fiscally conservative and socially liberal which, when I lived in New England, meant that I was a moderate Republican aligned with the likes of Edward Brooke, John Chafee, Eliot Richardson, Nelson Rockefeller, and Margaret Chase Smith.

I was a fan of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton 1, and Obama — three Republicans and three Democrats. Bush 2 and Trump did not work for me. Clinton 2 did not work for me either, although I voted for her.

Something has changed. We no longer debate alternative policies, each party bringing the best evidence to support their position. In an earlier post, “Stranger in a Strange Land” of August 2017, I observed that power, hence being re-elected, is all that counts.  I suggested that we should honor this predisposition and prohibit Senators and Congressman from doing anything other than running for reelection.

This suggests that government should be professionally managed as it is in Singapore. Seasoned managers would determine how to manage defense, education, health, and so on.  Members of Congress would focus on entertaining the population to gain reelection. Their articulation of values, norms, and attitudes towards corruption would receive ample attention but have no impact on government policy.

This could work quite well. Americans would get effective and efficient defense, education, healthcare, and equal opportunities. Members of Congress would decry the costs of these benefits, build personas around these diatribes, and win constituencies that applaud their standings. But, of most importance, they would have absolutely no impact. They would be like American Idol winners at the Academy Awards, respected but only as amateurs are respected at events way beyond their comprehension. The majority and minority leaders of the Senate and House would be seen as members of the cast of entertainers, while the seasoned professionals ran the government.

This might require changes of the Constitution, but there is an alternative. A third party could be formed to compete with the Republicans, aka Trickle Down Party, and Democrats, aka Universal Equity Party. This third party might be called the Liberal Conservative Party. So, the TDP, UEP, and LCP parties would compete for votes.

The platforms of the TDP and UEP would continue as they have been. The LCP, in contrast, would compete based on the resumes of the professional managers they would appoint.  The skills and accomplishments of these people would be LCP’s competitive advantage. The LCP would primarily promise high levels of competence to deliver effective and efficient government services.

These professional managers would not be corporate or military retreads. As in Singapore, they would be highly paid professionals with extensive training and government experience. They would also be highly accountable to the public, with quarterly report cards of their accomplishments.

Legislation submitted to the Senate or House would be voted upon without debate. All current Senate and House committees would be eliminated. Campaigning for reelection would consume virtually all the time of Senators and Representatives.

Over time, the LCP would gain more and more seats, except perhaps for the members of TDP and UEP that were particularly entertaining.  Outlandish behaviors, apparel, and pronouncements would help success. Former members of the cast of Saturday Night Live would do well.

So, how do we get started? We need a strong LCP candidate. Michael Bloomberg might be good, running against Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren, candidates that can epitomize TDP and UEP values quite well. The debates could be enlightening.

Using AI technology, Trump’s lies would be instantly headlined. People might gamble on how many lies he can average per sentence. The economic feasibility of Warren’s proposals would be instantly assessed, perhaps in terms of how much they would cost per debate viewer.

Bloomberg, completely ignoring every Trump utterance but taking Warren seriously, would calmly outline how problems should be addressed, using data and visualizations similar to John King’s favorite venue.

The organizers of the debate might protest the use of data and visualizations, but Bloomberg would otherwise refuse to participate. Given his substantial lead in the polls, the debates would be meaningless without his involvement. The American public will have come to realize how tired they are of everything being fake.

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