I saw two good objections to my description of how I would govern the country after being elected President. (See prior post.) Allow me to address both objections.
Objection 1: Supreme Court justices shouldn’t be picked to mirror the country’s majority opinion. Their job is to decide what the Constitution intends.
Response: That’s true in principle. But in reality, justices insert their own philosophical leanings into the gray areas, and the Supreme Court’s job is entirely about the gray areas. I’d pick justices who lean the same way as the majority of the public, whatever that might be. That’s the most stable system.
Objection 2: How will you get Congress to actually do any of the things you are promising? It’s one thing to promise spending cuts, tax increases, etc. But Congress has to pass them.
Response: For starters, an independent, one-term president with triangulated, middle-of-the-road proposals probably wouldn’t get the knee-jerk 100% opposition on every issue that a Republican or Democrat would get.
But I’d also go all “Steve Jobs” on Congress’s asses and redefine the game. (That was the secret of Jobs’ Rasputin-like charisma: He upgraded the context of every discussion to the bigger picture.) The current mindset of government is about which party wins. I’d upgrade the context to focus on which elected individuals are earning their pay. And I’d attack incompetence in both parties with the same intensity. After I ruined the careers of a few members of Congress, the rest would fall in line and start making decisions based on where the data leads.
In our current system, a Democrat president might campaign for a member of his own party against a Republican incumbent. Voters see that as self-serving. As an independent president, I’d campaign against corrupt and incompetent representatives in a very public way and advise voters to pick someone more honest and capable from their own party. That’s a context changer. It pushes “winning” to the sidelines and makes competence and objectivity the focus.
Third, I’d also give the major philosophical approaches of both parties full and public vetting (using the Judge Judy model) until the public forms a super majority on important points of fact. That process would make it clearer to voters which politicians oppose the facts. And it would give every major point of view a fair look.
Fourth, in some cases, the states could try out various conservative or liberal approaches and the country as a whole can evaluate which methods work before they are more broadly adopted.