super hanc petram

Thursday, February 3

Who Needs Reform?  

Reading over the commentary on the SOTU, I confirmed my suspicion that there was no need to actually watch it. Indeed, all Bush's speeches are, as Ezra noted yesterday, worthless by intent. Full to the brim of empty rhetoric that gets the good-intentioned all atwitter, but deliberately avoid any meaningful details. This is a luxury afforded Bush by his fellow traveller Tom DeLay. DeLay has structured the legislature such that all bills are written in their entirety behind closed doors, passed out of committee at absurd hours of the night and presented for an up or down vote on the floor of the House within hours of the bill's particulars being released to members. It then gets tossed over to the Senate where Frist botches the process entirely and the bill either dies or gets modified. From the Bush/DeLaw perspective what actually happens in the Senate is irrelevant since if the bill is modified it goes to conference committee. That committee, meeting behind closed doors, either discards all the Senate's changes in favor of the original House bill or writes a totally new bill that is far more egregious than the original. The result is once again presented and within hours is voted up or down. If it passes, great, if not, blame the Democrats.

You might ask what the point is to all of this since it ensures that, most of the time, nothing gets done or if something does pass it's so egregious that members would be embarassed to admit voting in favor. The point is to pass the most foul laws possible, and only the most foul laws possible. Otherwise, let them die and try again when conditions seem more favorable. No one's watching so who gives a shit? Make pretty speeches and pass whatever your donors want in the middle of the night. Then make a pretty speech about it. Details? What details? It's all he-said, she-said and you can't report the fact that they're lying, that's not objective.

Reform? That's class warfare. You're just too angry. The American people don't like anger. We're not going to win in the heartland by demonizing our opponents, people just tune that out. We need someone who can reach across the aisle and make common cause. Present our side and reach a compromise bill. That's the Third Way. That's centrism.

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