The United States Congress has a nine percent favorable rating.
According to Michael Genovese, Chair of Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Congress is rated lower than, “lice, traffic jams, Brussel sprouts, NFL replacement referees, colonoscopies, root canals, and used car salesmen.”
Genovese was one of many guests who spoke on how we can fix Congress and many other aspects of government in the State of the Presidency event, hosted by the Andrus Center for Public Policy on Thursday.
“I think this program on the presidency was tremendously successful. We had some 200 people turn out to listen to some of the premier presidential scholars in the country,” said David Adler, the coordinator of the event and director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy.
The event consisted of eight lectures and two panel discussions. Genovese was the concluding speaker.
Genovese began with a roast of Adler, a close friend of his.
“I could be witty, sparkling and brilliant tonight but why change the mood from David Adler,” Genovese said.
Genovese then reassured the audience he and Adler were good friends and Adler was truly a tremendous
Genovese focused his speech on three propositions, the first aspect being that Congress does not function in a viable manner.
“While congress is granted greater constitutional power than the presidency, Congress is not structurally designed to lead in a modern age,” Genovese said.
Genovese claimed that Congress is weak and cannot govern effectively.
“Congress is a deliberative body set up for a deliberate age,” Genovese said. He then explained that in order for Congress to be successful, America may have to increase its trust in the President.
“We must recognize that presidential leadership will be necessary to animate and move our system,”
His second proposition premised around the fact that if a president has too much power, it is easy for him or her to become dangerous.
“Strong presidents can easily become tyrants. Power may corrupt even the best man,” Genovese said. “We need strong presidents but we need strong agents of accountability as well.”
Genovese proclaimed that good judgment is the key characteristic that defines a good president.
Lastly, Genovese proposed that in order to rectify these things and fix a broken system, America must alter all branches of government, including the people.
“To do this, we must change congress, the presidency, the courts, and the public,” Genovese said. “We need all three branches to be involved in this reform.”
Genovese explained that he believes the system is broken but not so much that it needs major surgery. By implementing good judgment and what is known as promesis, which is translated to, “knowledge put into appropriate action for a good cause.”
Genovese then explained, “The Congressional process must be streamlined in order to meet 21st century needs.”
Genovese claimed presidential initiatives must go through Congress and presidents must feel that when they do go to Congress, their initiatives will get a hearing.
Congress needs to establish a more direct appealing process to the Supreme Court to help alleviate conflict. And lastly, Genovese advocated for a more informed public through government programs aimed at high schools and universities. Genovese said the information could take numerous formats such as informational television programs.
“I want it to be so cool, you’re an idiot if you don’t watch it,” Genovese said.
Audience Member: “These are pretty quixotic ideas you are putting forth; where is this all leading? These are all great ideas but I don’t see any solutions coming in the near future, particularly while we are so grieved by the financial issues that pressed upon the
Genovese: “More people can name the Simpsons than the Supreme Court. This is why the only salvation is something like a national teach-in where we really do reshape and reinvigorate the dialogue, the debate of what American government is.”
Audience Member: “What about switching to a parliamentary system?
Genovese: “Nine out of 10 political scientists would say that a parliamentary system is better. I half agree with that. I wouldn’t want it here because you can’t take something whole and just plant it and expect it to function. As attractive as it is, it’s just not going to