Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Who runs Washington?

Not the forces of hope and change, by and large. A sample:

Nancy Pelosi, in Congress since 1987


Harry Reid, Senator since 1987, in Congress 1983-1986

Barney Frank, in Congress since 1981


Chris Dodd, Senator since 1981, in Congress 1975-1890

Henry Waxman, in Congress since 1975

Charles Rangel, in Congress since 1971

Robert Byrd, Senator since 1959

Charles Shumer, Senator since 1999, in Congress 1981-1998


To them, change is, for the first time since 1994, having a Democratic president to work with, rather than either being in the minority and/ or working against a Republican President. But what if part of the change the voters want has to do with the old guard in Congress and their ways of doing business? On the other hand, the reason why we have our system of checks and balances is to prevent rapid and radical change. It’s useful and good to have experienced hands around.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Yes, it is so good to have people like Senator Byrd around (DEMOCRAT). Let's see, a past member and not just a member, but a Grand Keagle of the Klu Klux Klan and he fillibustered for hours and hours in 1964 on the Civil RIghts Act. He used the word "white ni$$er" on television a couple of years ago. One thing is true about liberals and Democrats. You can say whatever you want, do whatever you want, not pay your taxes, blow up the Pentagon and other government buildings, kill police officers, drive your car while intoxicate and be responsible for killing a young girl, be a member of the KKK, and as long as you have that D next to your name it is okay. Just like Senator Byrd, you will have bridges, museums, university halls, etc named after you.

I don't know or particularily care when Chris Dodd first entered Congress but I bet my bottom dollar it wasn't 1890, the winnings on this bet I wish to parlay upon considered ignorance that the man wasn't even born at that date, let alone meet even the constituional age requirements for congress. But I am not picking at your sensible post Mr. Adams, just demonstrating that mistakes occur more or less with volume. The more you say write or do the more likely you are to make mistakes, even small ones.

I don't think having a D by your name means that mistakes are tossed under the rug, neither does having an R by your name mean this, but once again on considered ignorance alone I am willing to bet that having a D or R by your name and being in a position of power means you have plenty of folks who work for you covering up mistakes, litigating and spinning, for you and against you no doubt...but practically this means that you are in a different situation than everyone else even if you are still under the law.

Obama's reflections on Senator Byrd and his past are paragraph's worth reading in the Audacity of Hope. In some sense Obama in his audacity of hope suggest a return of sorts to the old guard or the relationships and bonds formed between senators and congressmen of the past. In his discussion of the prayer breakfast...and senator Byrd it is clear that he values "Fraternity" thematically in the nation as a whole as well as within Congress. In some sense his anger is directed in part at the gotcha cheap points and spin produced and directed by special interest groups and PAC's. The never-ending bean counters who play faction for invisible points and high score.

The fact that the old players have survived as long as they have is a credit to them, but potentially not a credit to the nation.

Politics in some sense is a matter of keeping skeletons under wraps, and artfully employing your knowledge of them as bait to whip folks to your side come vote counting.

I don't think much of this in terms of Obama can be talked about abstractly, but I would guess that a lot of his plans involve bringing new modes and orders while offering a sort of detente/absolution. In other words in order to dethrone the primacy of special interests stranglehold on congress you have to overcome what the special interests keep as fodder.

I mean in some sense the whole mess with Blago demonstrates the difficulty of actually pulling off such a coup. Essentially he said...what I get nothing out of this? Screw you Obama, I have other channels and open options.

You know I am not sure that so called scandals ever just errupt without folks who know about them not failing to find a more profitable avenue of exploitation first.

Virtue and honesty are the best defenses against such layered blackmail, but when so much rides on creating the appearance of impropriety and folks are as sceptical and cynical of government as they are...well then Obama and good government itself faces a stiff challenge.

Change we can believe in refers in part to belief in the integrity of public servants, and the necessity of creating a bond/fraternity between them...

Change we can believe in is almost just a Millian re-adjustment of perspective, wherby folks seek to believe the best of others and think them honorable. It has more to do with extending a charitable interpretation, and I think might be closely linked to the attitude of Aristotle in regards to the potential for friendship among strangers, also in the regards the difference in judgement extended to friends. To an extent this is to be gullible...and so change we can believe in is easily lampooned as the will to be gullible.

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