Good Government

Pre-Decided Decisions Benefit No One

We are in the seventh year of the “Party of No”. Since the start of 2009, when influential opposition leaders gathered to adopt a “unified resistance” strategy, the party has steadfastly – and reflexively – opposed every proposal made by the President.

Every proposal. Without exception.

The pundits argue that the President’s proposals are dead on arrival and blame him for not making proposals that are acceptable to the opposition. But, in the face of an opposition that rejects every proposal, what would an “acceptable” proposal be?

It’s unreasonable to be reasonable with those who are steadfastly unreasonable.

The tragedy of this hard-core opposition is that the nation loses the opportunity to solve, or even address, problems. When something is DOA, there is no point in talking further. The matter is dismissed and any evidence, argument or justification for one side or another counts as nothing. When the opening argument for one side is “You’re wrong because you’re you”, there is no room for compromise, negotiation or even discussion.

In this context, all decisions are pre-decided — if the President is for it, the opposition is steadfastly opposed.

Pre-decided decisions benefit no one — whether pre-decided in support or in opposition. For all but the most simple matters, a proposal bears discussion before a decision is made. That discussion, however it concludes, benefits the governance process. It raises questions and answers, it clarifies points of confusion, it makes the case for or against. The discussion offers the opportunity for participants and observers to understand the benefits and the costs of adopting the proposal, modifying the proposal or rejecting the proposal.

But when the discussion is rendered moot and the matter is pre-decided, all of those opportunities for understanding are lost. Governance becomes dumbed-down to the simplistic question of who will gain the electoral advantage. And the hope of an informed public is lost as well.

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