We love to complain about how Washington is broken, that it is too tied up in partisan politics and has forgotten how to actually govern. And ironically, we also complain about Obama and the Democrats not standing up to the Republicans. Or, in plainer words, we attack them for not being partisan enough.
And yet, governing is exactly what Obama is trying to do. You can hear it in his announcement last week of an overhaul of the failed “No Child Left Behind” act in response to the report that the US is falling even further behind other countries in education.
You can also see it in the health care reform bill, which is likely to pass later today. Yes, it isn’t the bill that some people on the left wanted, and goes way further than some people on the right wanted. But it is reform, and it is at least a step in the right direction, which is a big step more than any president before him has been able to take.
I don’t agree with everything that Obama does. I don’t like the bailouts of banks and auto companies. I’d prefer a single-payer health care system, modeled on the one in New Zealand, or at the very least a public option like in the bill sponsored by Alan Grayson. And, occasionally, I want the Dems to be more partisan; for example, I’d love to see Dick Cheney rot in jail for war crimes.
But instead, Obama is trying to get this country back on track. He’s governing. I may not like every little thing he does, but the important thing is that it is clear that he is working hard to do what he thinks is best for the country, not what is best for him getting reelected or for enriching his friends. The process of governing might not get the headlines, but it is just what this country needs right now.