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Capitol Hill
Let’s get busy governing
By David E. Black
Date Published: 10/1/2016

 

I was in Washington D.C. back in mid-September with the U.S. Chamber as a member of a select group of Chambers from around the country. I don’t go to a lot of these events, but every other year or so, it’s good to see what is going on in our nation’s capital as well as other regions throughout the country.

I get to Washington on a regular basis and have spent a fair amount of time kicking around the Capitol during my various careers. Capitol Hill is always an interesting place and you just can’t make up the cast of characters that occupy the seats and offices. As of late, Congress has done very little other than a continuing resolution to continue to fund the government a few months back that is coming up again very soon (hopefully it’s done by the time you read this). 

I’m not going to get into who is right and who is wrong, however I may touch on who is right and who is left! Not in the political sense, but in the pragmatic sense.

As the fall election nears and control of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House, along with the Presidency hang in the balance, I can’t help to go back to the kinder, gentler days of the 1980s and 1990s. Some may say what I am about to write is heresy, but I think Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton got things basically right as President. Now not everything was perfect and not every decision was a homerun and mistakes were made, but I see common pragmatism in all 3 of those leaders.

Reagan and Clinton had an advantage over Bush 41, they were much better communicators. Reagan as we know was the Great Communicator. Communicating to the American people, connecting with them and selling them on his ideas and position were his specialty, yet he was a pragmatist from day one. Many forget that Reagan never had a majority in both chambers of Congress when he was President. Then Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill offered newly sworn in President Reagan a deal practically on day one. Reagan had campaigned on a 30% tax cut. O’Neill very publically offered up 25%. The politically savvy Reagan accepted it on the spot.

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