Habemus Papam! We have a Pope! The centuries-old tradition of locking 115 men in a room until they make a decision still works today. This brings us to an old idea for getting rid of gridlock in our political system.
Back room political deals which were once the hallmark of getting things done have fallen out of favor. Imagine if Lincoln hadn’t been able to bribe opposition Democrats to end slavery? Not only would the Emancipation Proclamation have faced strict scrutiny but Daniel Day Lewis wouldn’t have gotten an Oscar and Mount Rushmore would be one face short of a full monument.
Self-righteous government do-gooders and nosy, self-interested media ended the much maligned and tawdry deal-making process—for the most part. But what is wrong with a little mystery in government? So what if Jerry Brown has to take a couple Republican state senators on a fact-finding tour to the Cayman Islands to raise a few taxes? You know how cheap Jerry is, they will fly coach. But at least he could get a couple of bucks for our schools.
Still not buying? Well, on the national stage, maybe we would get a real budget passed instead of a continuing resolution. Heck, the Republicans wouldn’t have to tell anyone how they voted. They just send up some white smoke and Habemus Budget, we have a budget.
Cable news would actually increase its ratings as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Fox and Friends could mindlessly droll on about the speculation deep inside the Capitol, without any cameras on the actual individuals—sort of like what they already do.
Of course, we are way too sophisticated to use the old methods to solve our problems. Democracy is working far too well in this open and transparent environment. And there is rarely a scandal to cover up with all of these open and transparent rules.
Yes, the reporting requirements, plethora of ethics laws and iron-fisted enforcement systems have certainly eradicated corruption in our land. You can almost see everything working through all the black smoke.
Rich Robinson is a political consultant in Silicon Valley. Some of these ideas were written with tongue firmly planted in check.