Another negotiation flaw plaguing the debt issue has been how laden the debate is with emotional buzzwords. Emotional people are physically less able to listen, which in turn means they are not often persuadable. They focus less on goals and more on retribution. If Vice President Biden’s task force was unable to calm down, it was right to turn this over to different bipartisan negotiators with fewer hotheads, but they need a better process.
Former Congressman Slade Gorton says it comes down to a lack of presidential leadership:
What do you think is Washington’s biggest leadership failure?
Any president is the final and sole spokesman for the entire administration. What he says becomes its position. His trumpet is either clear, muted or silent. Not so with the Congress. Speaker Boehner (and Senators Reid and McConnell as well) can lead only to the extent that he can persuade the members of his caucus to follow, a task seriously complicated by the promises they made to their constituents in order to become members of that caucus.
So the necessity for leadership does not end with Barack Obama, but it does begin with him. Only when the president is willing to announce that he understands the depth of our problems and that they require a course change that he had not previously contemplated can he seriously ask Republican leaders to do the same, to join hands with him and to dive into very cold water together.
Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein says the problem is an
addiction to brinkmanship
The problem is that this generation of political leaders has become addicted to brinksmanship. If all that matters is for your side to “win” and if the best way to win is to threaten to blow up the global economy unless you get your way, then of course you don’t fly off to Camp David with a promise not to return until a deal is at hand. What you do is play rope-a-dope for as long you can, then declare that the talks have reached an impasse, you’re not willing to give another inch and walk away. The hope is that the other side eventually caves out of a sense of responsibility for the general welfare. In this game of brinksmanship, the idea is to demonstrate you are willing to be more irresponsible than the other guy, which is the level to which political leadership in American has now degenerated.
What do you think is the fundamental leadership failure? Join in with a comment, or chime in on Twitter using #WashingtonsProblem