This article originally appeared on HuffPost.com on August 1, 2016.
What’s missing in the crazy campaign season is a coherent plan to fix Washington. The appeal of Trump and Sanders is that they are outsiders. Clinton’s burden is that she’s an insider.
Americans want change. But without a clear mandate a fresh face in the White House won’t have a chance against entrenched bureaucracy and special interests. It wasn’t long ago that we elected the freshest candidate in memory, running with the slogan “Change we can believe in.” Washington just plowed ahead in the same direction.
Voter anger is too unfocused to drive change. It’s like punching a pillow. Fix Broken Government! OK, what does that mean? Let’s fill Congress with better people—say, clones of Washington, Hamilton, Lincoln, and Howard Baker. What’s our vision of what they would do?
Where’s the plan to fix decrepit infrastructure now—not in ten years? Or to bulldoze the paperwork crushing teachers and doctors? Or to get rid of New Deal subsidies and other obsolete laws? Or stop the bureaucratic run-around whenever Americans need a permit? Or to let kids go outside and play without parents signing a waiver?
Something basic is missing in this season of political anger—a vision for how to fix broken government. Without a clear vision for change, the inertial forces of Washington will win again. Four years from now, voters will be even angrier.
That’s why, this week, we’re launching a nonpartisan campaign—“Who’s in charge around here?”—to demand basic overhaul of Washington. Our vision for fixing broken government is simple: Clean out the bureaucratic jungle so everyone—regulators and regulated alike—can use common sense. From the schoolhouse to the White House, replace mindless bureaucracy with human responsibility and accountability.
Reforming specific programs is not enough. Washington needs a change in its operating philosophy. Simplify regulation so people can understand what’s required. Leave room for people to roll up their sleeves and make sense of things. People must be free to ask in each situation: What’s the right thing to do here?
Something basic is missing in Washington. Take any frustration, and ask: Who’s in charge around here? That’s a problem. Nobody is in charge. No one designed this legal tangle.
It just grew, and grew, and grew, until common sense became illegal. That’s the main reason government is paralyzed. That’s why it takes a team of lawyers to get a simple permit. Every year, the red tape gets denser.
This is an historic moment, fraught with peril and also bursting with opportunity. Government needs to be focused on current challenges, and agile when global winds shift. That’s why we must replace cast-iron bureaucracies, preoccupied by mindless compliance, and put humans in charge again.
It’s not hard to make most things work. A little common sense goes a long way. Humans take responsibility. They succeed, or not. Other people judge how they do. Humans taking charge is the secret sauce of America’s culture.
What’s hard is overthrowing the Washington status quo. Americans know that government is broken. But Washington will never fix it. That’s why we must join together to demand a historic overhaul. It will only happen with your help. Taking charge ourselves is the only way to fix the mess in Washington.