Refine & Enlarge
Blogging on Peter Schramm from the pages of NLT is somewhat akin to voicing an opinion on Lee Iacoca from the floor of a Chrysler plant in the mid-80's. Nevertheless, the man with his fingerprint on our masthead opined this week in the Columbus Dispatch, and his words deserve contemplation.
Ever the contrarian, bating onlookers to defy his logic, Schramm celebrates the messy congressional convulsions most Americans have recently condemned. Bipartisanship is overrated:
The truth is that our Constitution builds in division.... Divisions are built into the Constitution so that the natural divisions that arise in a free regime might become, over time, less willful and more rational.
If the Framers had wanted a democracy, they wouldn't have formed a constitutional republic of separated powers, limited government and onerous checks on the will of the majority. (Steven Hayward makes a similar point on the implausibility and undesirability of compromise between 1789-minded conservatives and 1960's-minded liberals here.)
Schramm is a macro political scientist. eschewing the "details" and "logistics" of the debt-ceiling debate, he notes John Boehner's monumental achievement in shifting national attention to "fundamental constitutional questions."
Boehner and his Republican troops have disproved an assumption held by progressives and liberals since the New Deal: that government will always grow in size and scope, that all spending increases are permanent.
Schramm regards the shift in Washington rhetoric "away from the favors government might bestow and to its proper role" as the "most radical change in my lifetime." It's difficult to notice the turning of the Earth at any given moment - though in any 12 hour period, it's as obvious as night and day - but one hopes Schramm's prediction proves astute, and the Boehner compromise heralds a new dawn for self-government.