In response to the push-back / cool reception / dissenting voices that met the initial introduction of Democrats to Obama’s proposed stimulus package, Obama adviser David Axelrod astutely quipped,
I’m going to characterize it as people doing their jobs
If I can just say, amen!
Far too often in modern American politics, the voicing of dissent is seen as a sign of weakness. An administration that has its stuff together is identified as an administration whose congress-people and senators rigidly adhere to the party line. But as the past eight years has aptly demonstrated, just the opposite is generally true.
Now, there is a difference between constructive dissent and dissent for the sake of dissent. But Democrats sincerely speaking their mind about problematic aspects of Obama’s plan strikes me as an optimistic sign of the return to much needed debate in the machinations of government.
Historically, such debate has played a key role in the healthy functioning of our democracies. Without it, the rubric of dogma calcifies our decision-making and debilitates our ability to appropriately consider issues from a variety of angles.
So, hoorah for dissenting Democrats.
One can only hope that Axelrod’s approach to the criticism facing the administration wins the day. Such an openness to debate is not just a boon to Obama, but also to the American people.