Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Progressivism

Progressivism and Democracy

Steven Hayward has a good piece over at AEI on the constant back-and-forth between modern day liberalism and democracy. He points out the "schizophrenic" nature of progressivism over the past century, torn between supporting the unfettered power of administration and the yearning for more-democratic features in our system of governance (so long as the popular will is not opposed to progressive ends).

Liberalism has been unable to decide whether it is for or against more democracy for nearly a century now, ever since it underwent a radical transformation from a creed believing that advancing the cause of individual liberty meant limiting government power and protecting individual rights into the creed we know today of believing that larger and more powerful government is the primary means of securing the realization of individual liberty. None of the liberal complaints about "gridlock" are new; Progressives like Woodrow Wilson deplored the separation of powers and other limiting features of the Founding as obsolete years before he tried to ignore them as president.
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Read the whole thing.

And watch one of your number plough the same furrow for the umpteenth time.

At the end of the dismal Carter years, liberal intellectuals blamed their failures on the defects of the presidency itself, claiming the office wasn’t powerful enough for modern times. This argument was necessary because Democrats enjoyed large majorities in Congress and couldn’t blame their failures on obstructionist Republicans,

The plaintiffs were not 'liberal intellectuals' but veterans of the Carter Administration, most particularly Lloyd Cutler and Hendrik Hertzberg. Neither complained that the office of the presidency was insufficiently 'powerful'. Hertzberg's complaint was that the various and sundry vectors operating in the political system produced stagnation by default - an incapacity to make decisions of any kind. He also complained that the mode of recruitment and election to Congress produced a body chock-a-bloc with 'banal local lawyers'. Cutler was most concerned with the refractory character of the congressional caucus of the Democratic Party and advocated a parliamentary system; his concern was the capacity of political parties to engage in collective action. Enhancing a constitutional autocrat was not his program.

Steve's first line:

"It is always amusing to watch the contortions liberals put themselves through when things aren’t going well for them."

This brought to mind ROB's recent comment in the DC Occupants thread:

"While public opinion polls can be useful for gauging some things and ought not be completely discounted, I'm not a real fan of them..."

particularly in light of this:

"Time released a new poll this morning finding that 54 percent view the Wall Street protests favorably, versus only 23 percent who think the opposite. Interestingly, only 23 percent say they don’t have an opinion, suggesting the protests have succeeded in punching through to the mainstream. Also: The most populist positions espoused by Occupy Wall Street — that the gap between rich and poor has grown too large; that taxes should be raised on the rich; that execs responsible for the meltdown should be prosecuted — all have strong support.

Meanwhile, the poll found that only 27 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party. My handy Plum Line calculator tells me that this amounts to half the number of those who view Occupy Wall Street favorably."

Using a Time Magazine Poll as a reference for what Americans are thinking?

Give me a break. How stupid and crazy is that.

I have a potentially favorable view of Occupy Wal Street.

One uncontestable fact is that the political speech basically provides cover of sort for the homeless who otherwise have great difficulty sleeping in public. So for a brief span of time it improves the condition of the homeless.

Also I believe it is a political fact(normative judgements allowed) that the gap between the rich and the poor has grown too large.

Taxes probably should be raised on the rich (provided deficits matter, which contrary to Paul Ryan and Erskine Bowles, is an open question).

I also think executives responsible for the market meltdown should be prosecuted, and that changes are needed at the SEC to aggressively prosecute White-collar crime.

And by prosecute I don't mean impose fines and suspensions.

Case in point: SEC vs. UCB.

UCB cost taxpayers via the FDIC insurance fund 2.5 billion.

"The bank's chief financial officer, Craig On, was also included, but he has agreed to settle the charges by paying $150,000 and accepting a five-year suspension from working in accountancy."

Craig On, the board of directors, and probably even fairly low level lawyers repeatedly concealed losses on loans and collateral, until the entire house of cards came down.

Obviously it is the most efficient and humane way to do a bank heist....

But the old fashioned blue collar guns and getaway cars will never put a 2.5 billion dollar dent in the FDIC.

If salaries in good times justify 100X-1000X multiples/handles on blue collar wages, then actions that result in losses to the FDIC of similar magnitude when compared to blue collar heists, could potentially justify 15 years+.

Amazing. The media mavens have made the Tea Party "problem" disappear! Convenient push polling has ginned up numbers that contradict the 2010 election results, not to mention those in 2009, that showed immense and intense voter dissatisfaction with Democrat policies. This kind of game will go on until, and beyond, the elections next year because the Left has no other card to play than deception.

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