Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reversal of Misfortune

[posted by Callimachus]

Looking at the federal government, I sometimes think the whole thing is turned on its head. Traditionally, and by expectation, Congress has been the branch with the initiative, with the dynamic drive to make policy and change the course of events. The president was expected to act as a conservative check on the Congress, which is why he was given a veto power equal to a third of the votes in Congress.

This made sense, since Congressmen were almost by definition bound to specific and local interests, while the president took a broad view based on a broad constituency.

Beginning in the second quarter of the last century, and accelerating thereafter, the executive has tended to be impulsive, creative, vibrant. The presidency, based on campaign funding, has become less and less free of the narrow interests of a few factions. And Congress, without expanding its own parochialism one bit, has been a check on his efforts to create change.

Till now, we've reached a place where the Congress' function seems to be entirely focused on acting as a presidential veto, and mustering the votes to do so.

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