WSJ's Dan Henninger sees a perilous vacuum....
Here’s the job description: Needed, a U.S. president able to confront a world in chaos, rebuild shattered alliances, revive the country’s demoralized intelligence services and senior officer corps, manage foreign and domestic demands with a budget that will be drained for years by fantastically expensive debt servicing, and along the way restore public faith in an array of deeply politicized federal bureaucracies—Justice, HHS, EPA, Labor, Internal Revenue, the NLRB, FCC, EEOC, even the Federal Reserve.
The U.S. just tried electing a rookie president and had six years of amateur hour. It doesn’t work. And it won’t work again if the next president, whether rookie or former governor, shows up in the Oval Office in January 2017 with not much more than his victory cape and some political pals.
Given the scale of the challenge, the next U.S. president isn’t going to have a six-month honeymoon to figure out the policy details of what he wants to do. Whoever occupies the White House after the Obama Terminator presidency stops will have to hit the ground running from day one. Competent Cabinet secretaries and their deputies aren’t something you can grab off the shelf. The next president, before the Inauguration, will have to be someone who can attract about 100 of the most skilled and yes, experienced, people available into government.
The GOP, DH writes, is ISO Captain America, with no CA in sight. Worse, DH adds, save for Jeb Bush no one running appears to have a staff ready to put rapidly in place. On the Democratic side, Hillary does.
One prerequisite for a GOP win in 2016: end the Senate filibuster. Unless the GOP has legislation sent to Obama's desk to show they have a positive program, the party is sunk come November 2016:
The constitutional balance of power between the two political branches must be restored. In this connection, it is important to understand that the Senate filibuster rule has no constitutional basis. That document does not reference a “filibuster,” but merely permits each house of Congress to determine its own procedural rules. The filibuster is a historical fluke, resulting from the Senate’s failure to impose constraints on how long senators may speak on a particular matter, thereby delaying other business and especially votes on legislation that require only a majority to pass.
Only a cloture motion, which requires a supermajority of three-fifths (60) to pass, can end these delaying tactics—and cloture has become nearly impossible to achieve because of an increasingly ideologically divided Senate in which neither party has a supermajority.
This raises fundamental issues: Since all constitutional provisions must be read in harmony, rules in one house that consistently frustrate the ordinary legislative process by preventing a vote work to nullify other key congressional powers. Ultimately, this undermines the Constitution’s balance of power between Congress and the executive.
The authors, two top legal scholars, propose waiting until the 2016 session to make reforms. Too late, way too late. It should be done now..
Bottom Line. The optimistic scenario for President Obama's last 22-1/2 months is disaster; the mid-range is catastrophe; and the worst case is precipitous collapse of Western civilization, and the advent of a new Dark Ages.
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