Is the US Capable of Change?

South façade of the White House, the executive...

Steve Benen comments on the alarming fact that Americans understand that the Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the economy, but take it out on Obama regardless of his ability to do anything about it:

The degree of national cynicism is so intense, many Americans may simply assume Republicans are sabotaging the national economy, but take their frustrations out on the president anyway. As Greg [Sargent] noted, “The number who see Obama as a strong leader is now upside down (48-51), suggesting yet again that even if Americans understand that Republicans are deliberately blocking Obama’s policies, they may conclude that his failure to get around them just shows he’s weak or ineffectual.”

Voters’ understanding of the political process is severely limited, and many Americans likely fail to appreciate the role Congress must play in policymaking. There are no doubt plenty of voters thinking, “Sure, Republicans are sabotaging the economy, but why can’t Obama just go around them?” unaware of the fact that, on a grand scale, this isn’t an option.

The US governmental system is set up to make big changes very difficult to enact. There are three separate branches of government that have the power to block policy, and a huge amount of time is spent volleying laws back and forth between the different bodies. The President can't just circumvent Congress and pass legislation that he wants to – the system is designed to moderate policy and craft legislation through consensus. In theory, this is a great idea. But when the political system has been completely corrupted by money and the Presidency, Congress and Senate has been bought out by corporate interests, radical change is necessary to restore sanity to government.

Unfortunately, the US simply cannot make the changes needed to get itself out of the economic catastrophe it is seemingly headed for.

Is there a solution? Yes. Get money out of politics, and real change might actually be possible.

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