Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Pen is Mightier than the Running Mate

And by "pen" we mean the "veto pen," of course. This is George Will’s argument in this bit of advice to the McCain campaign: as Palin’s powers begin to wear off, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the very low approval numbers under which the Congress labors. Their numbers, as we have noted before, are considerably lower than the President’s . . . and that’s saying something. Even as the generic congressional ballot begins to tighten and Republicans begin to fare better than hoped, the Dems are likely to maintain majorities in both houses. If voters are unsatisfied with a Congress that is checked by the President, what will they think of a Congress that is unleashed by Barack Obama? Will says McCain should start talking about the merits of divided government (I’m skeptical about those merits but I take his point as far as it goes). He should, at a minimum, begin to address the subject of Congress and their arrogant incompetence. He should begin to describe the kinds of legislation that will be sure to emerge from a Pelosi-Reed led Congress with Obama’s profligate pen at the helm.

Discussions - 13 Comments

Her powers haven't begun to "wear off," it's rather she hasn't been able to fully display what she can do on the campaign trail.

She's delivering nothing more than a variant of the speech she delivered at the Convention. The McCain team is making her stale, almost making her "wear off."

McCain, Fred Thompson and Giuliani have to go off together, meanwhile, Governor Palin goes off on her own, appearing with whatever Republicans happen to be near the areas she's speaking in.

And humour has got to come back to the McCain campaign. Their Convention was a success because of their use of humour. They've gotten away from that, and their numbers have fallen.

But trashing Congress and its Democratic leadership now won't help a President McCain's chances of being a leader for "reform" later. Will's argument rests on some measure of trust between partisans next year. As Lawler has been saying, McCain had better say something compelling about his plans, not merely scare the country about what to expect from a unified Democratic government.

McCain shouldn't bother with the idea of the dubious "merits" of divided government, but he should warn the electorate of giving the Left free rein to indulge their many bizarre policy proposals.

But he does need to get beyond a mere call to public service.

He should propose:

1} An end to nepotism in Washington, prohibiting family members of those in office, or in government, lobbying the govt for business;

2} Enhanced power and staffing for the SEC;

3} Pushing an Amendment term limiting Congress;

4} Payroll tax cuts;

5} A plan that liquifies coal, and makes America the foremost energy supplier on the face of the Earth, and

6} Blocking foreign funds for colleges, think tanks and various consultancies, {that's designed to cut off the influence of the petrokingdoms buying love inside the Beltway}.

What McCain puts forward should be designed to truly alter how things are done inside the Beltway. And time is a wasting on all of that. He's holding himself out there as an agent for change, well, the electorate has the right to know some of the changes he proposes.

There would be precious little "division" between a Democratic Congress and a President McCain. Anyone who wants a division in DC should vote for a Republican Congress. One way or another there will be a Democrat in the White House.

Everything Dan says in comment #1 is correct. But some (possibly much) of what he proposes in #4 is dubious and gimmicky--esp., term limits.

Will McCain Waste Palin? by Henninger. McCain "he is not casting his reform message in large enough terms."

About humor, no one seems to feel like laughing this week. But the campaign that soonest finds the way back to that will best engage the public. Cutting through the confusion most people feel about the economic situation this week, would help, too. Just thrashing the Bush Admin. doesn't really help much.

I'm sure that the inner circle of the CRF had a good laugh all weak long. The balance of power between Congress and the executive authority is what should be discussed in more detail. The discussion borders here on the beginings of a plea for dictatorship. I see that the opinion givers are starting to plant the idea that congress is might not be such a great idea. four legs good, two legs better.... i mean: three branch government good, one executive better

That Henninger article is good Sarah is being overhandled by the unimaginative

Julie, I know that some of those proposals are gimmicks. But there's nothing wrong throwing some gimmicks out there, so long as they're comingled with substance.

You're trying to convey to the electorate the sincerity and the depth of your determination to "change" how business is conducted up on Capitol Hill. This isn't so much about policy, in fact, some positive policy proposals have to be left off simply because they're too difficult to explain.

Right now, McCain's task is to prove to the people that he isn't like Bush, and that genuine change is about to descend on Washington. Paradoxically, part of the process of demonstrating your bona fides is by throwing out the ocassional gimmicky policy proposal.

Term limits is worse than just a cheap gimmick. It is a bad and constitutionally unsound idea contrary to the things that conservatives say stand for. I don't care deeply about the rest of the gimmicks but I do care about things that limit the sovereignty of the people. If the people want to keep electing bad representatives then let them have bad representation. You do more harm than good when you try to make people choose wisely.

It's not Consitutionally "unsound," not if it's proposed as an Amendment to the Constitution, and duly enacted.

Conservatives don't "believe" in lifetime tenure, which is de facto the situation for fellas such as Kerry, Kennedy, Biden and Leahy.

The framers couldn't possibly have envisioned the almost overwhelming advantages some incumbents enjoy. You're presupposing that the people in the several states are pleased with their representation. Ever figure they would like new representation, but the costs, the name recognition of the incumbent, the media advantage, make it almost impossible to successfully contest certain seats.

Nor are such measures a limitation on sovereignty, rather, it's advanced to make such sovereignty genuine, real, concrete, and not simply an abstraction. When representatives only leave office by brain tumors, then the "sovereignty" you stated the people enjoy is really nothing more a legal fiction.

So, do you desire the people to genuinely enjoy sovereign perogatives, or have you made your peace with a system that makes a mockery of the voting rights of the citizenry?

Be mindful too that governors are often term limited.

Mayors too.

And a term limit obtains for the Chief Executive of the Land. Are they unwise limitations on the sovereignty of the American people?

If you desire to challenge the prudence of term limits, -------------- you're not alone, and you're in very good company. But there's nothing unconstitutional about passing a term limit Amendment.

No . . . there would be nothing "unconstitutional" about any amendment to the Constitution. But it is fair to say that many amendments one could envision (including, especially, this one) cut against the original intent and purposes of the Constitution and, therefore, deserve more than a little skepticism and circumspection on the part of those who imagine it might solve some perceived problem. The "life tenure" you speak of is, as I said, more likely a result of lack of virtue and gumption in the voters who continue to elect them. On the other hand, there may be some legislators who deserve to stay where they are for a very long time--if not for life.

I have been beating the divided government drum for two years on my blog. I voted for John Kerry to get divided government in 2004 and lost. I supported a straight Dem ticket in 2006 to get divided government and won. This year I will vote to re-elect divided government by supporting John McCain.

This scholarly article from a Constitutional lawyer puts more than a little academic cred behind the divided government thesis.

Anyway, Julie - FWIW I recently initiated a "Coalition of the Divided" blogroll for anyone who says anything vaguely positive about divided government. You are now a member in good standing.

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