How to get through the next 100 days? Stop the political blame game
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For everyone’s sake, let’s set aside the stopwatch of arbitrary deadlines and obsession with Trump palace intrigue and allow more time and attention to be given to the hard work ahead if both parties in Congress and the White House want to find areas of compromise on significant agenda items.

In an upcoming report from the Kogod School of Business at American University, my colleagues and I lay out a series of steps needed if Washington wants to deliver on items voters say they still want.

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From Fortune 100 CEOs to small business owners and local leaders to influencers across the country, our current findings analyze where there remains enough support across party and geographic lines for the Trump administration and Congress to forge some type of compromise on a major infrastructure initiative, new programs for education and workforce development, help reigning in the high costs of healthcare, and tax cuts.Beyond corporate America, small business owners say they are the ones needing more access to capital to grow and create jobs.

 

But, before Washington can move forward, we need to get past assigning blame. Having served in both the Senate and executive branch and then as a business news anchor based in Washington for many years, I know the blame game is nothing new here. The public, however, is done with it.

So here are four ways both sides should and could move forward.

First, don’t cast all the blame on the president for lack of focus. During the first 100 days, the Trump team provided a steady stream of events highlighting the economy. But often those events did not translate into significant media coverage.

Take day one as an example. The focus for President Trump’s first official day in the White House was a meeting to discuss ways to grow the economy with top CEOs, even some who had criticized him during the campaign.

But news coverage that day was focused on the president’s weekend tweet angrily denouncing media coverage of his inaugural crowd size. The President had trampled all over his own day one public messaging, but the media gamely followed suit.

It took a full hour — as White House spokesman Sean Spicer was wrapping up his first day’s briefing — for any reporter to ask about the president’s plans to grow the U.S. economy, despite polls showing the economy remained issue one for American voters. And the question came from a Chinese news organization.

It’s time for news outlets to resist the urge to overly engage in squabbles with the president over issues that have no real impact on voter’s lives. Both the president and the media need to press the reset button.

Second, blaming a “do-nothing” Congress misses the point. No one would suggest Congress is a well-oiled machine. But it’s inaccurate to say no work is being done.

Members of Congress from both parties and their sleepless staff have rolled out numerous legislative proposals this year. House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE was roundly mocked for providing too much detail when he laid out his health care overhaul.

And when the president recently unveiled an outline for tax reform, Congress had committee bills already lined up for action. But the more sweeping the legislation, the more extensive the debate needed. Initiative will not easily translate into action without a bipartisan commitment to finding consensus.

Third, forget blaming “the media” as a whole. With thousands of reputable news sites available to choose from, it’s simply lazy to say “all of the media” is dumbing down the debate. Just try for one hour reading the entirety of in-depth issue coverage available.

Eliminate questionable news sites and pure political blather and there remain thousands of hours available daily to anyone truly searching for more factual issue coverage and less daily palace intrigue.

But with exponentially more “news” sites available to track President Trump and Congress, it falls increasingly to consumers to make better informed choices as to where to turn for reliable information.

Fourth, it’s not the voters fault. Yes, American voters are a restless electorate sharply split between Trump haters and loyalists. But, on this, voters seem to agree: it’s time for Washington to focus on the issues the electorate cares most about. It may be more interesting to insiders if Washington spent another 100 days debating Steve Bannon versus Jared Kushner. But for most Americans, it’s past time for the real work to begin.

Rebecca Cooper is as an executive in residence at the Kogod School of Business at American University and author of the upcoming report “Washington & The Way Forward: Implementing the Voters’ Agenda.” She created and anchored the weekly news show “Washington Business Report” and previously worked for the Senate Finance Committee and the U.S. Department of State.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.