"Tom Daschle still doesn't get it.
John Thain never did.
Barack Obama gets it sometimes, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner not so much.
Corporate executives think they get it but aren't even close.
College presidents, governors and union leaders, for the most part, don't have a clue.
"It" is an understanding of how fundamentally the political and economic environment has been transformed with the bursting of the bubble economy and how that has jeopardized basic assumptions and expectations and the way we do what we do.
Tom Daschle's problem wasn't that he didn't pay his taxes. It was that he -- along with those who vetted his nomination as health and human services secretary and many of his colleagues in the Senate -- found it perfectly ordinary and acceptable that he would be able to cash in on his time in the Senate by earning more than $5 million over two years as a law-firm rainmaker, equity fundraiser, corporate director and luncheon speaker, all the while being driven around town in a chauffeured town car. Not exactly Cincinnatus returning to the plow.
For the American public, Daschle became the latest symbol of everything that is wrong with Washington -- the influence-peddling and corner-cutting and sacrifice of the public good to private interest. Now that this system has let them down, and left them poorer and anxious about the future, people are angry about it and no longer willing to accept the corruption of the public process and the whole notion of public service."
Get the Story:
Steven Pearlstein: Stumbling on Their Sense of Entitlement
(The Washington Post 2/4)