Harry Truman also faced the prospect of a disorganized government with a dysfunctional do-nothing Congress. He was not faced with an economic collapse when he came into office, and the wars in Europe and Asia had been resolved. He called on a bipartisan commission of business, political, and legal minds to put together the Hoover Commission — to reorganize the responsibilities of Congressional oversight, and to reorganize the machinery of government, which President Eisenhower was glad to take advantage of.
The contrast with Barack Obama is clear and obvious. Obama did not have the luxury of resolved wars or of tentative postwar recovery, to pay serious attention to government dysfunction. He had national dysfunction to deal with. In addition, he was burdened with the extra impediments which Republicans provided by a badly designed Bush TARP program, by refusing to approve 1000 mid-level appointments, and by refusing to approve regular Congressional business — budget, appropriations, and authorizations; increases in the debt ceiling; routine foreign treaties, many negotiated in the Bush Administration — which held his attention because regular business comes first.
Charles Krauthammer's "surprise" (Inquirer, Dec. 16) that Obama is only after 6 years attacking government reorganization is entirely disingenuous. Krauthammer's endorsement of Republican obstruction does not even begin to excuse his unwarranted finger-pointing.
Ben Burrows, Elkins Park