March 22, 2017 – America is in a crisis of governance. There is no adult in charge.
Instead, we have as president an unhinged narcissistic child who tweets absurd lies and holds rallies to prop up his fragile ego, whose conflicts of financial interest are ubiquitous, and whose presidency is under a “gray cloud” of suspicion (according to the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) for colluding with Russian agents to obtain office in the 2016 election.
He’s advised by his daughter, his son-in-law, and an oddball who once ran a white supremacist fake-news outlet.
His cabinet is an assortment of billionaires, CEOs, veterans of Wall Street, and ideologues, none of whom has any idea about how to govern and most of whom don’t believe in the laws their departments are in charge of implementing anyway.
He has downgraded or eviscerated groups responsible for giving presidents professional advice on foreign policy, foreign intelligence, economics, science, and domestic policy. He gets most of what he learns from television.
Meanwhile, Congress is in the hands of Republicans who for years have only said “no,” who have become expert at stopping whatever a president wants to do but don’t have a clue how to initiate policy, most of whom have never passed a budget into law, and, more generally, don’t much like government and have not shared responsibility for governing the nation.
As a result of all this, the most powerful nation in the world with the largest economy in the world is rudderless and leaderless.
Where we need thoughtful resolve we have thoughtless name-calling. Where we need democratic deliberation we have authoritarian rants and rallies. Where we need vision we have myopia.
The only way out of this crisis of governance is for us – the vast majority of Americans who deserve and know better – to take charge. Your country needs you desperately.
ROBERT B. REICH is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock”, “The Work of Nations,” and”Beyond Outrage,” and, his most recent, “Saving Capitalism.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, INEQUALITY FOR ALL.