Friday, December 26, 2008

Making Congress Moot

From a recent email:

On Thu, Dec 25, 2008 at 11:29 PM, Ken wrote:

Chuck this is one you can appreciate........ good thing money grows on Christmas trees...


Santa is talking to the wrong people.

As George Will explains in Making Congress Moot (emphasis mine):

A new Capitol Visitor Center recently opened, just in time for the transformation of the Capitol building into a tomb for the antiquated idea that the legislative branch matters. The center is supposed to enhance the experience of visitors to Congress, although why there are visitors is a mystery.

Congress's marginalization was brutally underscored when, after lawmakers did not authorize $14 billion for General Motors and Chrysler, the executive branch said, in effect: Congress's opinions are mildly interesting, so we will listen very nicely -- then go out and do precisely what we want.

On Friday the president gave the two automakers access to money Congress explicitly did not authorize. More money -- up to $17.4 billion -- than had been debated, thereby calling to mind Winston Churchill on naval appropriations: "The Admiralty had demanded six ships: the economists offered four: and we finally compromised on eight."

...The expansion of government entails an increasingly swollen executive branch and the steady enlargement of executive discretion. This inevitably means the eclipse of Congress and attenuation of the rule of law.

...The administration has not, however, confined its aggrandizement of executive power to national security matters. According to former representative Mickey Edwards in his book "Reclaiming Conservatism," the president has issued "signing statements" designating 1,100 provisions of new laws -- more designations than have been made by all prior presidents combined -- that he did not consider binding on him or any other executive branch official.

...Still, most of the administration's executive truculence has pertained to national security, where the case for broad prerogatives, although not as powerful as the administration supposes, is at least arguable. With the automakers, however, executive branch overreaching now extends to the essence of domestic policy -- spending -- and traduces a core constitutional principle, the separation of powers.

...Most members of the House and Senate want the automakers to get the money, so they probably are pleased that the administration has disregarded Congress's institutional dignity. History, however, teaches that it is difficult for Congress to be only intermittently invertebrate.

"intermittently invertebrate". How can you not love that. And that is from a conservative! Turns out that when Vice President Cheney told Sen. Patrick J. Leahy to "Fuck yourself" he was really referring to all of Congress.

I leave you with the words of recently deceased Harold Pinter from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Art, Truth & Politics, in 2005. Read the whole thing. He was clearly pissed:

As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavor. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realizing that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost. ...

Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.

Have a fantastic Friday. We're leaving for Florida Saturday. Hallelujah!


1 comment:

goprairie said...

obama is showin' 'em now!
this is old. get to work.