David Ignatius: A political DUI

BY DAVID IGNATIUS Published: February 27, 2013
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Only a few years ago, George W. Bush was the compassionate conservative and John McCain won the GOP nomination as the Republican who knew how to govern across party lines. What happened to that Republican Party? Today's Republicans seem to suffer from what's sometimes known as Obama Derangement Syndrome, in which their hatred of the president blinds them to the country's interests. To be honest, this malady is eerily similar to the Bush Derangement Syndrome that afflicted Democrats during the previous decade.

So how can we get these incapacitated drivers to stop before they do any more damage? In politics, the public gets to intervene through elections. We just had one, and the Republicans lost, big time. Yet it didn't seem to make much difference. House Republicans are still grabbing for the wheel and the car is rumbling toward trouble.

Obama tries everything to gain control — except a clear, firm presidential statement that speaks to everyone on board, those who voted for him and those who didn't — that could get the country where it needs to go.

The weird thing is that, politics aside, there is every reason to be optimistic about America's future. The country's financial markets are resilient; the housing slump finally seems to be ending; a new era of low-cost shale oil and gas is beginning and, as a result, the United States is becoming a competitive manufacturing economy again.

There's one ruinously dysfunctional part of the American story, and that's the breakdown of our political system. It's time for an intervention, to take the keys away.

WASHINGTON POST WRITERS GROUP


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