An article in The Wall Street Journal by Neil King and Bob Davis reported on a rally in the nation’s capital last weekend for people who believe that the American political system is broken. The article said that the rally “offered few details on how to fix the country’s problems.” According to a late, great mathematician, understanding the problem is the first step in fixing whatever is in need of a solution.1
In spite of an American system of government established by Founders who intended legislative authority to predominate, most people currently believe that the United States Congress is the problem, with Congressional approval in recent months remaining at historic lows.2
“There’s something about August going into September,” Barack Obama said, describing members of Congress while appealing for laughter from a health care forum at Democratic National Committee headquarters, “where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up.” 3
The following day, journalists asked what Obama meant by “wee-weed up” at a news conference. “This is sort of an August pundit pattern between people getting overly nervous,” said Obama’s press secretary, with an equally bizarre reference to what is known as nocturnal enuresis, a common condition that takes a heavy emotional toll on the many Americans afflicted. “Bed-wetting would be probably the more consumer-friendly term.” 4
“Decisions in a modern state tend to be made by the interaction, not of Congress and the executive,” political expert Walter Lippmann said in 1920, “but of public opinion and the executive.” In order to solve the country’s problems, the United States needs to return to making decisions through interaction between a sovereign public and their respective Representatives and Senators serving in Congress. The president’s role in the decision-making process is stated explicitly in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Consitution: “recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” 5
A loser makes fun of bed-wetters.
1. Neil King and Bob Davis, “Rally Funnels Anger Toward Washington,” The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2010, U.S. News.
2. James Madison, “Federalist No. 51,” in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, ed. Garry Wills (New York: Bantam Books, 1982), 263. Lydia Saad, “Low Approval of Congress Not Budging, Now 19%,” Gallup, August 11, 2010.
3. Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President in the Organizing for America National Health Care Forum,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-organizating-america-national-health-care-forum.
4. Robert Gibbs, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/briefing-white-house-press-secretary-robert-gibbs-82109. Lynne Lamberg, “Dealing with Pediatric Sleep Disorders Can Call for a Wide Range of Expertise,” JAMA 299 (2008): 2497-2498.
5. Walter Lippmann, Liberty and the News (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 36.