Sunday, August 9, 2009

David Gergen on the Health Care Town Hall Mob Scenes

Gergen, on CNN:
This is -- this is very discouraging for people who want to see the democracy work. We've had two presidents in a row now, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, come to Washington promise to change, make this our discourse, make it more civil. And it just gets worse.

I mean, we saw last night, Erica, in the "200-Day Report Card." There is a tremendous polarization that's now taking place that equals that of what we saw under George W. Bush. And there's anger growing on both ends of the spectrum at the other end.

That makes governing very hard. It makes -- and the real question facing us as people right now, are we a self-governing people or not? Can we face the large challenges we have as a country? And health care is clearly one of them.

And I think this is putting democracy to a real test and leadership on both sides, leaders on both sides need to step up and put an end to these disruptive kind of brawling, physically violent sessions...

Gergen has worked for presidents of both parties for many years, and perhaps more than any voice today, promotes what could be called a Washington consensus.

He is not a wild-eyed radical or a perennial doomsayer. Someone who is at the heart of the political power is speaking of the possibility that bourgeoisie democracy in the United States is failing - i.e. "are we self-governing people or not? "

As with the fall of the Roman Republic, it is unchecked greed amongst the ruling class - both towards the general population and each other - that is rendering political compromise and practical solutions almost impossible.

Is the American Republic on the verge of collapse ? No. But strains are being felt, and there clearly is a trend towards degeneration in the governing institutions that make up the post-World War 2 capitalist order.

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