Will: Government's Only 'Broken' When Left Can't Enact Its Agenda

George Will said Sunday that people only talk about the government being broken when the Left is having trouble enacting its agenda.

During the Roundtable segment on ABC's "This Week," "Nightline" host Terry Moran brought up the recent announcement by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) that he would not seek reelection in November because "Congress is not operating as it should."

When the baton was tossed to him, Will said, "[W]ith metronomic regularity, we go through these moments in Washington where we complain about the government being broken. These moments have one thing in common: The Left is having trouble enacting its agenda."

Will followed by noting, "No one when George W. Bush had trouble reforming Social Security said, 'Oh, that's terrible - the government's broken'" (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary):

TERRY MORAN, HOST: There's a sense that something is broken in Washington summed up this week by Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) who announced his retirement. I think it's fair to say he's leaving in disgust. Here's what he had to say.

SENATOR EVAN BAYH, (D-IND.): I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should. There is much too much partisanship, and not enough progress. Too much narrow ideology, and not enough practical problem solving. Even at a time of enormous national challenge, the people's business is not getting done.

MORAN: Is he right, George?

GEORGE WILL: Well, it's hard to take a lecture on bipartisanship from a man who voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts, the confirmation of Justice Alito, the confirmation of Attorney General Ashcroft, the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State. Far from being a rebel against his Party's lockstep movement, Mr. Bayh voted for the Detroit bailout, for the stimulus, for the public option in the healthcare bill. I don't know quite what his complaint is, but, Terry, with metronomic regularity, we go through these moments in Washington where we complain about the government being broken. These moments have one thing in common: The Left is having trouble enacting its agenda. No one when George W. Bush had trouble reforming Social Security said, "Oh, that's terrible - the government's broken."

Will was spot on in a couple of matters. First, as it pertained to Bayh, he has been routinely depicted by media as being a "moderate" Democrat.

As Will pointed out, his voting pattern and behavior of late by no means support this "moderate" image disseminated by the press.

Beyond this, for months as the President and the Democrats have had difficulties passing healthcare and cap and trade legislation, the Republicans have been depicted by media members as being the obstructionist "Party of No."

Yet, as Will pointed out, when the Democrats stopped George W. Bush from enacting Social Security reform in 2005, the same press saw this as good governance.

As such, when Will stated that all this talk about government being broken must mean the Left is having a hard time enacting its agenda, he was 100 percent correct. 

*****Update: Glenn Reynolds predicted this months ago.

Almost on cue, CNN poll finds 86 percent believe government is broken (h/t Glenn).

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.