This morning on Good Morning America George Stephanopoulos interviewed Mr. Bowles, co-chair of the President's Deficit Commission talked about the solution to the escalating deficit that they will be laying before Congress soon. He mentioned something very interesting—and refreshing to hear in government circles. He talked about listening.
He didn't talk about just noting what someone said. He talked about spending months listening to members of Congress, to build trust and uncover a bipartisan consensus on what can be done.
Finally, Congress is leading the way rather than reacting to the public's anxious reactions. Quick fixes almost never work, but hard, long-term decisions are almost always hard to sell to people who want quick fixes. We're a nation of quick-fixers. We're in a bind! But these leaders took time to listen, to build consensus, and to try to figure a way through.
Now I'm no economist and I don't really know whether their idea will fly or not, but if we would all do as they did and take some time to listen to one another for a lot longer than we normally think is necessary, this whole nation would settle down, relax and let some real leadership emerge. With that kind of leadership we can figure out a way to live decisively and confidently into the challenges of the second decade of this century and beyond.