My first car as a teenager was an old car with a lot of problems, but at least it was functional. It had an oil leak and I could not afford to get the leak fixed. It was cheaper for me to add oil occasionally to prevent the engine from totally locking up, or worse yet, catching fire.
The president, his administration and Congress are functionally leaking oil, and the American people are nervous about a total government shutdown, or worse yet, economic collapse. We are not too big to fail, as some people seem to believe, and Uncle Sam does not have a “sugar daddy” to bail us out.
Leaking of classified information by WikiLeaks has compromised our national security, and has put our military warriors in and out of uniform at risk. We have yet to see definitive action by the administration to address the issue, even though we have seen and heard a lot of news stories that make us uncertain that the situation is under control.
Economic uncertainty continues to thwart economic growth while Congress and the administration continue to bicker over extending the existing tax rates. Extending all of the tax rates is the right thing to do for the economy, instead of playing class warfare once again to try to gain a political victory.
If Congress and the president do not act, then we will all see tax increases on January 1, 2011. This would be a devastating blow to our economy. A sense of urgency by Washington does not seem to be a priority, as if they have the option to extend the 2010 calendar year. Thankfully, they do not.
In addition to no sense of urgency, there is also no focus in Washington, D.C. Rather than concentrate on what most of the voters consider priority issues, such as national security threats and real economic stimulus, the administration and the Democrats are more concerned with passing unnecessary FDA legislation, the unfair so-called Dream Act, and repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
We are in a war! The economy is stalled! Nearly 15 million people are out of work! We have a national debt crisis, which could become a national security crisis if we do not reduce the spending and stimulate economic growth!
To say that we have a leadership crisis in Washington is an understatement, and it has become obvious to more and more people. National priorities are not clear, and the direction on critical issues is even more unclear.
The Washington political class did not hear the message from the November 2, 2010 election results. Control of the House changed from Democrat to Republican with a 63-vote net pick up by Republicans, while the number of Senate Republicans increased by six. We can only hope that all of these new Republicans act like renewed conservatives.
As Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and others have stated, Washington still does not get it. The Democrats still do not get it. They did not hear the very loud message of the election results. Stop ignoring the people!
Even at the state level, the number of Republican governors increased by six, and the number of state legislative seats won by Republicans increased by a net 683 across the nation. I gave a keynote speech last week at the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting of over 900 state legislators from every state in the Union. Just prior to my address, the Chairman of the Council asked all members who were attending for the first time to please stand. Nearly fifty percent of the attendees stood up, and most of them were first-time elected state legislators.
The voters get it! And they also know that we may have to continue to shout very loud to this deaf and dysfunctional government in D.C until November 2012.
That’s when we will have the opportunity to change the engine in Washington, and replace “position-ship” with leadership.
Herman Cain is a former CEO, a radio talk show host on AM 750 and 95.5 FM WSB in Atlanta, and a Fox News contributor.