Washington Daybook: ‘Worst’ Form of Government

Photograph by Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

President Barack Obama with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, following their meeting at her residence in Yangon on Nov. 19, 2012.

In the immortal words of Winston Churchill, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried.

President Barack Obama is in Myanmar — or is it Burma? — celebrating that country’s move towards democracy. He met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the home where she spent more than 15 years under house arrest during that country’s dictatorship, and later today heads to Cambodia to join meetings with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Back in the U.S., which has had a democracy for more than two centuries, political battles that come with Churchill’s worst form of government continue to rage over the so-called fiscal cliff.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said over the weekend she’s optimistic a deal can be reached, possibly as soon as next month to avert the combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases, though any agreement must include higher rates for the wealthy, something Republicans abhor. NASDAQ OMX CEO Robert Greifeld weights in on the fiscal cliff and capital markets today in a discussion at the Brookings Institution.

Also today, the rule of law that keeps democracies functioning is on display as the International Trade Commission announces whether it will review findings that cleared Apple Inc. of claims its iPhone and iPad infringed some Samsung Electronics Co. patents, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which arbitrates federal contract disputes, is asking Congress to approve the agency’s first-ever fee to file a bid protest.

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