Cleaning up the mess of the Bush era

There has been a great deal of talk in recent years about political narratives and story arcs.  One I happen to believe is very germane to the times we live in is that the next stage of our history will be defined by those who work to clean up the mess of the Bush years.  We need to "clean up the mess."

The mess is our foreign policy, economic policy and in our vision of what the role of government is and does.  Lets reviews news from the last few days to get just the latest manifestation of their failures.  North Korea explodes a nuclear device.  Taliban resurgent in Afghanistan.  Iraq is spinning out of control, and now seems to be on the road either to a major civil war or becoming a failed state.  Only 51,000 jobs were created last month.  The Republican Leaders in Washington fan out across the country to defend their decision to put a known sexual predator in charge of the Committee for Missing and Exploited Children.  A 2nd senior White House official, Susan Ralston, Karl Rove's right hand, resigns over their ties to Abramoff.  Bush unilaterally decides to ignore portions of the new Homeland Security bill. 

The scale of the governing challenge in front of us is captured by Fareed Zakaria in today's Washington Post: "When Iraq's government was formed in April, after four months of bitter disputes, wrangling and paralysis, many voices in America and Iraq said the next six months would be the crucial testing period.  That was a fair expectation.  It has now been six months, and we have seen bitter disputes, wrangling and paralysis.  Meanwhile the violence has gotten worse, sectarian tensions have risen steeply and ethnic cleansing is in full swing.  There is really no functioning government south of Kurdistan, only power vacuums that have been filled by factions, militias and strongmen.  It is time to call an end to the tests, the six-month trials, the waiting and watching, and to recognize that the Iraqi government has failed.  It is also time to face the terrible reality that America's mission in Iraq has substantially failed."

Our governing party is a mess and can no longer be counted on to lead America in a challening era.  They have failed at virtually everything they have tried to do, but the world has not slowed down, our problems have not just magically gone away.  Our movement has done a remarkable job fighting the great PR machine of the governing party, so evident even in the last few days.  We should be proud of how we've stood firm, fought back and helped weaken their hold on power.  But in the months ahead, regardless of what happens in the fall elections, we now have to get serious about cleaning up the mess they've created, and building a governing coalition true to our democratic heritage, and ready to tackle the challenges of our time.