Column time. At TAP today, I argued that we're unlikely to have a second shutdown when the current CR expires in January. The big point I've been making is that shutdowns are the result of a deliberate strategy, not the accidental effect of difficulty reaching a deal.
At Salon, I talked about the broken GOP and why that's the problem, and not institutional design.
Going with both of those: a PP post today in which I complained about one specific reform proposal: a fail-safe automatic CR at current levels. Terrible idea!
And way back on Friday I took note of one of the big issues in the TX Lt. Gov. Republican primary: the 17th Amendment.
So your position is that if we ended Madison's failed experiment and switched to the superior parliamentary system, the GOP would have the same power to force government shutdowns and debt limit fiascos?ReplyDelete
Seriously, I don't understand your love of James Madison. The guy did one good thing (the Bill of Rights), but he was an evil President who took the country into a war that we had no business being in (resulting in the shelling of the capital and the loss of thousands of American lives), and he was a complete idiot when it came to government, creating a system with a god-like President and way too many obstruction points and opportunities for partisan mischief.
He's one of the most incompetent men in human history, and you will do anything in your power to avoid blaming him for all the wreckage that he has caused. How sad indeed.
How sad, Anon, that you can't distinguish between an assessment of Madison the specific historical figure and an argument about a constitutional structure that has conventionally been dubbed Madisonian.Delete
Madison, and his allies, were the incompetents who designed this structure. It's their fault we don't have the superior, more democratic parliamentary system.Delete
The problem is that Bernstein worships the framers and therefore can't accept that America is a failure when it comes to governmental structure and other countries got what are essentially extremely simple questoins right.
I'm not a framers-worshiper (does hating Jefferson count? Not technically a framer, but still...). I do think they got it right.
And I strongly, strongly disagree that these are simple questions.
Why not, Anon, have a good faith discussion about this, on the merits? Instead you're assuming that Bernstein "worships the framers" and is therefore deluded.Delete
I do have to disagree with the idea it's the GOP's fault. Good institutional design must take into account worst possible scenarios. If norms work for a while and then they don't because cynical actors manipulate the actual rules instead of following norms, then the rules must change to take those strategies into account.ReplyDelete
You can't wish for better actors. You have to work out a better system of incentives and disincentives.
I disagree. From my experience, it's almost impossible to design a system that can't be gamed. Considering that government will be made up of humans, that makes the task even harder.Delete
If you think you can work out a better system, do tell!
I didn't say you can build systems that can't be gamed. But you can always make improvements:Delete
1. If you think that the Senate wasn't designed to required 60+ majorites, remove the filibuster.
If you like 60+majorities, make it explicit requirement but remove the bs time wasting.
2. Remove the debt ceiling.This is a no brainer as far as I am concerned. It really has no value for handling financial affairs, it's a basis for at best grandstanding at worst blackmailing.
3. If you don't like diving and playacting injuries in order to waste time in soccer, start punishing them with use of video.
The point is that a system shouldn't rely on good intentions or sporting spirit. I believe someone said the same thing when he said that if men were angels, they wouldn't need laws. Or something like that.
Thanks for the answer. Certainly those are reasonable suggestions.Delete
The PP link isn't working.ReplyDelete
Back up now, thanks for letting me know.Delete
You've acknowledged elsewhere that the 1995 shutdown had little if any impact on the 1996 elections. My understanding is that the deal that resolved it was a compromise, not a Republican capitulation. Why do you say it was it a loss for the Republicans?ReplyDelete
I certainly haven't made a study of the 95 event, but that said, it has always been my takeaway that it was a Republican defeat. Maybe not quite as total as this one, but I always recall it being described as a failure.Delete
Come to think of it, I recall one pundit arguing that the perception was the reality. Politically, it was a Republican loss because the media succeeded in spinning it as such.Delete
I guess it's a matter of what Republicans set out to accomplish in each case and how far they came to reaching that goal. Since their alleged purpose this time was to destroy Obamacare, and it ended without them getting even a scrap (or maybe just a scrap), it's hard to spin it as anything but an absolute, crushing defeat.Delete
But I think the '90s shutdown appears more devastating in hindsight simply because of the element of novelty. It was the point when the idea of Clinton the Political Mastermind, as opposed to Clinton the Accidental President or Clinton the Waffler, really began to take form (among pundits, at least). In contrast--and despite the liberal chorus of "I'm glad Obama grew a pair this time"--I don't think the recent shutdown has fundamentally changed the common perception of either the president or his Republican opponents. Partly this is because the outcome was much easier to predict this time around, having been through it before, and partly it's because it happened during Obama's second term, as opposed to Clinton's first, and therefore people's views of the president are likely to be more set by now.
JB, is it true that Texas is shutting down its state-run high-risk insurance pool and telling everyone they'll have more options and better options through ACA? Are they serious, or are they hoping to overwhelm the system?ReplyDelete
Yes, they are shutting it down, but my understanding is that all the states that have them are shutting down their high-risk pools. But I'm hardly an expert; I read a couple of items in the local paper.Delete
Institutionally, I still think House rules should make it easier for a bill to reach the floor for a vote, when the Speaker won't do it. A lot of this might have been avoided, although that's not a certainty.ReplyDelete
Yes, it's crazy extremist Republicans, and a political culture that empowers them. The Saturday Night Massacre anniversary clarifies my feelings on the matter. Eliot Richardson, Archibald Cox etc. opposed Nixon's overreaching on principle, and those were culturally powerful stands. They defined the moment, and it meant Nixon ultimately wasn't going to get away with it. No Rs did that in any obvious way this time. That's a depressing commentary on the health of American democracy.