In Search Of Competence

capitol hill washington d.c. DC politics congress

Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) — It’s one of the most famous lines in modern-day American politics, the assertion in 1988 by Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis that the election “isn’t about ideology, it’s about competence.”

That theory didn’t help Dukakis, who by his own admission ran a campaign that didn’t exactly model competence.

But while political success in our time has plenty to do with other things competence is still a factor.

The desire for government to function - for snow to be plowed, tax returns to be mailed on time, and total gridlock to be avoided – lies at least close to the heart of dissatisfaction with a status quo that doesn’t do so competently.

So in the most recent Wall Steet Journal poll one result that caught my eye was the answer to the question: “which comes closer to your view of government in Washington, D.C.: We need to keep shaking things up and make major changes in the way government operates [or] we need more competence and a steady approach to the way government operates?”

The result was a virtual tie, 48% citing shake-up, 45% calling for competence.

I wish they had asked that exact same question in an earlier poll so we could compare, but it strikes me that this reflects a growing desire for competence, at the very least, that surely cuts across party lines.

And a key question for Trump partisans going forward is – do you think your man has a snowball’s chance of meeting that demand?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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