Congressmen Ami Bera, David Cicilline, Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger talk problem solving.
By Mark McKinnon and Bill Galston
Just over four months from now, we will elect either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney as president based on what they say they want to do. But America’s future will be decided by what our president can do in the years ahead. And increasingly, he can’t do enough.
Almost 40 years after Congress began the post-Watergate roll-back of the “Imperial Presidency,” America’s chief executive now arguably faces too many impediments to enacting his or her agenda.
Some impediments are political—the rise of partisan polarization that makes it harder for a president to gain bipartisan support for legislation. Some of the impediments are institutional—obsolete rules and procedures that make it harder for presidents to act. And some are informal—White House norms and habits that diminish public trust.
It all adds up to an office of the presidency that has become too insular, too political, and less effective.
On July 16, No Labels will release a new agenda to fix these problems with our Make the Presidency Work! action plan. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be previewing ideas from the agenda, and we want to get a discussion going among No Labels members to get your thoughts on the ideas, and suggestions for how we can get candidates and our leaders in Washington to endorse them.
The Make the Presidency Work! action plan is part of No Labels’ ongoing effort to conquer the dysfunction, gridlock and hyper-partisanship that afflicts American government and prevents us from dealing with our profound national challenges. This plan comes on the heels of our Make Congress Work! action plan, which featured a dozen common sense proposals to reform the outdated rules, procedures and traditions in the House and the Senate.
With your help, Make Congress Work! is gaining traction and our top reform, No Budget, No Pay, has already been converted into a bill with more than 70 co-sponsors in Congress. We need to get the same momentum behind Make the Presidency Work!
Stay tuned for the introduction of the first idea in the presidency booklet on June 26. And join the conversation in the comments section below.
Mark McKinnon has been helping solve complex strategic challenges for causes, companies and candidates, including President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, Governor Ann Richards, Congressman Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong and Bono.
William A. Galston is Ezra Zilkha Chair and Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He was also a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton on domestic policy.
Proposals of the Make the Presidency Work! action plan: