If anything, I consider myself a "whatworksian". If it works, I'm for it.
... Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan would tear each other apart; but they were both cut from similar cloth and if you asked either one of them they'd say they'd certainly agree they wanted to make America work.
So you give more examples of leaders that spent vast amounts of money and interfered in every aspect of economic and private life.
I don't think we should be striving towards any particular ideology. If some ideological strain starts leading us down a path that is contrary to our objectives, then it's time to abandon the ideology, not the objective.
What you call "our objectives" and "what works" is what other people call "an ideology". We have more common names for your "whatworksianism" and "honorablemenism", you're just unwilling to use them because you like to live under the illusion that they are new ideologies, rather than known and failed ones.
You know, there used to be some consensus in this country on what it meant for things to "work".
Yes, an anti-liberal consensus among big-government Democrats and big-government Republicans, a consensus mostly rooted in their common lust for power, money, and votes, and the lack of public awareness of what they have been up to.
Fortunately, people slowly seem to be waking up to the fact that this is a lousy direction for the country to go in and the the country's problems will not get fixed by attempting to send "honorable men" to Washington and that the right direction is to stop trying to do "what works".
I think the Internet is helping by not letting politicians hide behind the filter of sycophantic national news media, as they used to.