Thursday, October 27, 2005

What Congress Did Is Disgusting

I was tempted to do the blogosphere version of dancing a jig, in celebration for Harriet Miers withdrawing her nomination to the Supreme Court. But I'm all about substance, as you faithful readers (all six of you) know, so I'll submerge my glee and instead focus on the negative; always an easy task when dealing with Washington.

One of the reasons the Miers controversy became so toxic is that it opened the Pandora's Box on the many other disapointments of the Bush administration. I say this as someone who voted (proudly) for W twice.

Among those disapointments, which include signing McCain-Feingold and ignoring our perforated borders, is this administration's tendency to spend like a sixteen-year-old with daddy's credit card. Writing in RealClearPolitics, John Stossel notes the response to a Senator's attempt to rein in this feasting at the public trough.

"How do [Senators] live with themselves?" Stossel asks.

They live quite confortably with our money is the real answer.

In his book After Liberalism: Mass Democracy and the Managerial State, Paul Edward Gottfried argues that we now live in a society organized around the handing out of spoils. Forget the supposed differences between Republican and Democratic governments; the reality, according to Gottfried, is that all politicians obtain and retain power by handing out the booty collected from you and I (and sometimes handed to you and I). While on the surface this may not be an original thesis, the mechanics of this process, as well as cultural change that influences the political process, are nicely ellucidated in this book.

Is Gottfried correct? One thing is certain: the second Bush term is not a convincing argument against Gottfried's thesis.


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