Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Political Parties

Good Politics

The news of the day and the week and the month is a dysfunctional Congress, a hyper-partisan Congress, a broken system without leadership, even brain-dead politics.  John Podesta, a Democrat and an Obama man, said to a British paper that the health of US politics "sucks".  Evan Bayh agrees.  This, of course, is wrong.  This WSJ Editorial is closer to the truth: We are in the middle of the fourth Liberal crackup and the so-called mess is not unprecedented in American politics. 

Equally pregnant with meaning, a student said something interesting to me yesterday.  He said he now understood why the first book we read as Freshmen is Xenophon's "Education of Cyrus"; the class is Understanding Politics.  Other things aside, men are hard to govern, X begins.  Then the student said that American men may be especially hard to govern.  I said, yup, not bad, that's why you to try to understand the American mind and read the Constitution the second semester; the class is clalled Democracy in America. Our current politics isn't brain dead politics at all and the system isn't broken.  It's working exactly as it should.  It is supposed to be messy and inefficient; it's supposed to be difficult to form a majority and even once formed, it should be difficult to govern. That majority had better be a constitutional one, or the people will not be amused. The people prefer self-government to being pushed around by haughty lefties.  Yet they are open to being persuaded, they are willing to have conversations about things; but they are unwilling to be called names, or to have "the system" decried. 

Now--over the next year or two--we will find out if the Republicans can explain to folks why this is a good thing, and why politics is much more than "public policy" and "problem solving" as the progressives would have us think. If Republicans can do this--use these interesting times to make a powerful argument for limited constitutional government and why it is a fine thing--they will prosper, as will the American way of self-government.  In the meantime, those Democrats who claim to be in the majority (and claim to be representing the interest of the people) but continue to whine about how they cannot get anything done will continue to suck pond water.  

Categories > Political Parties

Discussions - 6 Comments

Well done, Peter.

Our current politics isn't brain dead politics at all and the system isn't broken. It's working exactly as it should.

And the design stinks.

To Art Deco: That may be true, but you have to prove it.

Peter, What do you mean by a constitutional majority? A majority that acts constitutionally, or something more?

Steve: I'm on the run....but, among other things, I mean that a majority in order to have authority must be constitutional, reasonable; not just pushing its own interest. Just a reference to the kind of majority that needs to be created in a political order in which the purpose of rule is the securing the rights of all; it's both a characterization and a limit on the majority. Of course, much more can be said on this. Sorry, running off to "Coriolanus".

So we argue about what is constitutional and what un-, thus once again seeing how much the constitution structures, and ought to structure, partisan political debate in America. Agreed. I don't see in that any kind of Calhounite implication, which is why I was curious about your phrase.

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