Saturday, September 24, 2011

"The System"

Here is an email exchange I had with a friend and former colleague. 

His email:

"How in the hell does congress work so that a bill that primarily a bill to grant money to disaster relief gets packaged together with a bill that cuts emissions standards for cars?  Ends up Dems don't vote for it, because while they want the first, they don't want the second.  What the hell kind of a system allows you to package things that have nothing to do with each other?"

My response:

Well, it is not "the system" that does this but the people in it. And as with most people, they have reasons to bundle different stuff together in the same bills, and usually it is their way of justifying a vote against something that any sane or rational person would approve. Why do they do that? In this case, because some of the Dems don't want to approve disaster relief but they want to maintain the myth that we have two parties in this country. Smoke and mirrors, my friend, smoke and mirrors.

Just recently I reread a Federalist Paper in which Madison, after admitting that he hoped that elites would be chosen for Congress, argued that they would be kept faithful to those they were allegedly representing because they wanted to be re-elected. While not a bogus argument simply, what Madison failed to appreciate was that the desire to preserve one's power also would lead an elite to support that elite at the people's expense. Of course, because they cannot do this openly, they have to concoct ways to kill measures the people want - but they don't want - that disguise what they are doing. So much of what goes on in D.C. is of this nature.

Some academic from Berkley has written recently that Obama did not go after Bush for war crimes because he was afraid of a coup! To me, this is propaganda on an order that would make Goering or the Soviets proud. The elite devouring one of its own? For policies that the successor to Bush has continued? This is really too much foolishness to respond to.

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