First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you become the conventional wisdom in the Washington Post

Questions of timing aside, Richard Cohen is making a lot of sense over in his WaPo column:

Great presidents lead. In a sense, Lincoln “rammed” through the Emancipation Proclamation just as FDR “rammed” through Lend-Lease, Truman “rammed” through desegregation of the military, and Lyndon Johnson “rammed” the Civil Rights Act down the throat of a gagging South. These might be considered more dramatic issues than mundane health care, I grant you — but grant me an exception for someone putting off doctor visits because he or she can’t afford to be sick. To that person, this bill is as dramatic as the difference between sickness and health — the great divide of mankind.

The baleful fact is that the country suffers from a surfeit of democracy — a gazillion interest groups, a gazillion blogs, a gazillion talk shows and all of them insisting on transparency so a gazillion eyes peer over the shoulders of politicians. The black but necessary art of politics shies from the sun. Little gets done. Backrooms have been turned into rec rooms and meetings are seminars. We are doomed. Worse, we are bored.

Google does not tell the whole story. It fails to answer what’s wrong with the old belief — a virtual childhood mantra — that “majority rules”? It was never “supermajority rules,” and the presidency was never intended as a weather vane, turning this way and that on the slight breeze of the latest poll. Lead and the people will — or will not — follow. Either way, ram the damn thing, Mr. President. Ram it!

Not only does is the phrase super majority missing from the traditional conversations about Democracy, but where it is mentioned it is usually described negatively. Super majorities and power sharing arrangements create the type of irresponsible and intractable party of ‘no’ politics we see today.


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