Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Maverick Rides Again?

In an effort to be both fair and balanced, let me call attention to this article in the WASHINGTON TIMES (not actually fair and balanced) that gives a positive and somewhat plausible spin to Mac’s latest maverick move. And on the TODAY show this morning, Bill Clinton declined to judge whether postpoining the debate was a good idea, and he emphasized that Mac ain’t afraid of debating as such--he wanted more of them, after all. Bill’s deep support for Barack is often quite touching. I have to say I hope though that McCain really doesn’t think his "success" on immigration bipartisan compromising can be the model for hammering out a deal for America now. But to echo Machiaveilli once again, it could be (and I hope) that my skepticism about the effectiveness of an effort to try to suspend politics underestimates the basic decency of the American people

Discussions - 6 Comments

Mr. (Prof.?) Lawler,

I suppose the question is whether suspending one's voice in Congress on legislation such as this deprives people in Arizona and Illinois their democratic representation on a major issue?

Doesn't the suspension question work in two ways?

--Jonathan

There's litte denying that the debate could still be worked in, I think.

What does make good sense is the President's call for the meeting today (even though Barney Frank was grouchy about it). We have a classic problem of "collective action": "you first", "no, you first" in a situation of perfectly understandable distrust. Even if the administration and the senior congressional committee leaders put together a deal among themselves, some members are clearly having trouble - especially House Republicans. The deal needs the parties' presidential candidates to sign off on it. Given that politics is local in a non-parliamentary system, this does not guarantee passage but it will help.

Both campaigns seem to recognize the problem, but yesterday demonstrated the awkwardness of collective action even when there are just two players (the prisoners' dilemma). The President's meeting, let us hope, will solve the problem. This leaves the debate issue, of course.

Joe K above is on solid ground--if McCain's bold move doesn't produce any fruit it'll look more craven than clever--the move of a desperate underdog who just dipped in the polls and is grasping at straws. And if it does fail, it will only highlight widespread and not unreasonable concerns that he's shaky on the economy during a time of real economic turmoil...hail mary passes always look spectacular when someone cathes the ball (and not the oppsong team)

What incentive would the Democrats have to give him any fruit?

ok that's a good point but they also have to be careful not to look gratitouslsy obstructionist...and it will be hard for all this to go down with Obama continuing to sit it out

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