Tag Archives: good government

‘Good government’ isn’t pretty

As a good government progressive, I find this discussion over Build Back Better, the debt ceiling and ways to avoid a government shutdown an example of just how ugly good government can be.

Man, it is damn ugly.

But I will stand by my belief that good government, which is the government of the possible, must be ugly in order to get anything done.

Indeed, the older I get the less ideological I become. I once was a flaming liberal. I took a two-year turn in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s, went to war for my country, came home as confused about that war as I was when I arrived, then got involved in presidential politics. I campaigned in my home state of Oregon for George McGovern in 1972. He lost big … remember?

Time went on. I grew up a bit more. We’re now watching the progressive wing of the Democratic Party battle with the more moderate wing. The progressives have made some good points about wanting to spend a lot more money than the moderates want to spend. However, I am going to await the end of this haggling to see how it plays out.

Thus, we are watching how good government might look ugly.

In reality, I believe it will produce a thing of beauty at the end.


Compromise fuels good government

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The older I get the more I believe in compromise and the less weight I place on the value of long-standing ideology.

Which is my way of suggesting that the haggling that’s occurring over (a) voting rights legislation and (b) infrastructure legislation is a sign of good government trying to find its way into law.

Congress is wrestling with itself over both of those notions. Republicans seem wedded to the “just say ‘no'” theory of government. Anything that comes from the Democratic president, Joseph R. Biden, is deemed DOA the moment it leaves his mouth.

Biden has long prided himself on being able to work with the GOP. He did so with great effect while serving for 36 years as a U.S. senator and then as eight years as vice president. Now, though, he is deemed the enemy of the GOP, even among his once-good friends … such as Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Mitch McConnell. Oh well.

He threw a $2.25 trillion infrastructure package at the GOP. He apparently is willing to settle for a lot less than that. Still, most of the Rs ain’t budging. At least not yet.

As for voting rights, the GOP now has taken up the “states’ rights” mantra, contending that the feds shouldn’t interfere with states’ ability to write their own voting rules. Except that the Republican-led states, such as Texas, are seeking to disenfranchise millions of Americans who, as luck would have it, happen to vote mostly Democrat when they get the chance.

The GOP’s other mantra? Voter security, as if there was a huge breach in that security in the 2020 presidential election. Spoiler alert: There wasn’t any such breach!

But the two sides are slogging through an effort to find some level of compromise.

I am a good-government progressive. I am not wedded so much these days to ideology as I am to seeing government work. I want my federal government to work, to serve me and my family; we are paying the freight, along with you.

Stay busy, ladies and gentlemen who serve in government. We demand you find a way to compromise. Or else!

Wanting a GOP revival … really!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me whether you choose to believe what I am about to say, but here goes anyway …

I want the Republican Party to pull its head out of its a** and rejoin the mainstream American political movement that pits its ideas squarely against the ideas offered by the Democratic Party.

What we used to know as the Grand Old Party has been desecrated, perverted and prostituted by the cult developed by the immediate past president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

I don’t know what ever became of the once-great political movement, but I am not yet willing to write it off, consign it to history’s trash heap.

I consider myself a good government progressive. I am not a flaming left-wing ideologue. I like the notion of compromise. Good governance requires a bit of give and take and for both sides to seek common ground.

The recent partisan vote in the Senate and  the expected partisan vote in the House of Representatives on the COVID relief package pushed by President Biden illustrates and symbolizes what has gone wrong with our political process. The Trumpster Wing of the GOP has grabbed that party by its genitals and is making it scream loudly and incoherently. 

Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency as a populist. He said he wanted to stand with the little guy, only to persuade the GOP-dominated Congress to give trillions of dollars away to rich Republicans in the form of tax cuts.

Then the GOP caucus opposed the COVID relief bill because, it says, it is “too expensive.” Huh? What about  that tax cut, ladies and gentlemen? The price tag on the the tax cut exceeded the $1.9 trillion contained in the COVID relief bill. That didn’t bother them at all. Good government? That ain’t it!

Come back, Republican Party. I miss you!

Can Biden resist the extremists?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump demonstrated during his term as president an inability to resist the demands of those on the far right wing of the Republican Party.

As an aside, I’ll resist referring to the GOP as “his” party because I consider Trump to be a Republican In Name Only.

No such qualifier is required of President-elect Joe Biden, a center-left Democrat with years of credentials to illustrate the point.

So, the question of the day is this: Will the new president be able or is he willing to resist the tug from those on the far left wing of his own party? 

I am just a single voter, but I’ll offer this: I hope he can and does. I voted for a “good government” presidential candidate, which is what I see in President-elect Biden. By “good government,” I favor a federal government that is prepared to step up and help when needed, but is not willing to capture all the duties and responsibilities assigned to state and local governments, or the private sector.

I sense the president-elect is of the same ilk as yours truly. If that proves out to be the case, then I will be happy.

Meanwhile, the president-elect will have to steel himself for the onslaught of pressure he no doubt will feel from the “democratic socialist” wing of the Democratic Party. To be candid, I still am not sure what a democratic socialist is, other than perhaps being someone who doesn’t want the government to assume control of every aspect of our lives.

Still, I sense in Joe Biden a reluctance to avoid the socialist label, despite what Donald Trump and the GOP sought to attach to him. Trump accused Biden of being “anti-God,” of wanting to take guns away from Americans — while destroying the Second Amendment to the Constitution, of disarming the military, of taxing us into oblivion.

I have looked at Biden’s record and to be honest I don’t see evidence of any of that during his 44 years as a U.S. senator and vice president.

The man is a mainstream Democrat. I want him to govern that way. I am going to hold out hope that he will do as I wish. If not, then he will hear from me. Hey, if he does govern the way I want him to govern, he might still hear from me.

‘Good government’ is about to take some time off

I consider myself to be a “good government progressive.”

Government should do the most good possible but it takes individuals on both sides of the political aisle to make it work as I believe our nation’s founders intended.

So … having laid that out, I fear we are about to enter an era of “no government” action aimed at helping Americans.

Impeachment now is clouding it all in Washington, D.C. Donald Trump is enraged at Democrats who want to impeach him for violating his oath of office. He says a phone conversation he had with the Ukrainian president was “perfect,” even though he asked his counterpart for foreign government assistance in getting re-elected and in digging up dirt on a potential 2020 opponent, Joe Biden.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has launched an “impeachment inquiry.” Trump is spending his days now firing off Twitter tirades and tantrums at his foes.

What does all this do for the cause of good government? It throws it into the crapper.

Democrats are enraged at Trump, too. The president, who doesn’t work well with Democrats under the best of circumstances, isn’t likely to work with them on anything now that House Democrats appear intent on seeking his ouster from office.

So, we’re going to pay our lawmakers a six-figure salary ostensibly to enact legislation, cast votes and send bills to the Oval Office for the president’s signature.

Except that none of that is likely to happen as House Democrats and Donald Trump play political chicken with each other.

Therefore, good government will vanish for the foreseeable future.

How long will this border budget deal last?

I am trying to ascertain an element of the budget deal that “solves” the border security matter that has gone largely unreported by any media, print or broadcast.

How long will this deal last? Will we be taken to the precipice yet again when the money runs out? Will there be more threats of more government shutdowns in the near future?

House and Senate negotiators cobbled together a border security deal that provides $1.375 billion for The Wall on our southern border. It kicks in more money for other matters related to border security.

The House and Senate have approved it. Donald Trump will sign it. He’ll likely plan to announce a “national emergency” to provide even more money for The Wall.

But . . . how long does this deal last?

This isn’t “good government” as I have understood the meaning of the concept.

A congressional breakthrough … maybe?


A single dinner involving two political leaders of opposing parties likely doesn’t signal much all by itself.

It might portend a potential thaw in relations on Capitol Hill. I reiterate … it might.

Newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., invited House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to his Capitol Hill office for a two-hour get-together. They had a meal in the office and talked a little shop and got to know each other a little better.

What does this mean?

It might be a precursor to some actual progress in Congress between political leaders who’ve been fighting each other — often using some intemperate language to describe the other sides’ motives and intentions.

Democrats and Republicans are battling at the moment over a new budget. They did manage to cobble together a five-day stopgap measure that keeps the government running … but only for a short time. More bargaining is due in the next few days for everyone to agree on a $1.1 trillion federal budget that funds the government through most of next year.

Oh yeah. It’s also an election year.

Ryan and Pelosi reportedly don’t know each other well. This meal in Ryan’s office was billed as sort of an ice-breaker.

Where do we go from here? That remains anyone’s guess.

Congress, though, needs to figure out a way to assert its constitutional responsibility to actually govern. There’s been too much fighting between the parties, not to mention between the majority party — that would be the Republicans — and the White House.

The president must share responsibility in this ongoing inability to find common ground. However, just as members of Congress want to take credit for the good things that happen, they also need to take responsibility for the negative occurrences.

Ryan and Pelosi likely aren’t going to become best friends forever — aka BFFs. A dinner, though, well might set the stage for a new working relationship that restores the concept of good government to Capitol Hill.