Monday, July 2, 2012

Too Long For Facebook

Andrew Sullivan's perspective on Roberts' vote for the ACA includes one of the most concise, spot-on summaries of what the Republicans have been doing that I have ever read. It got my blood boiling and my fever rising. It is strikingly well-written.
It is the Rant O' Teh Decade.
 But it's too long for Facebook and may even be a bit over the 500-word fair use limit for this site. I'm running with it anyway.

One of the most strikingly anti-conservative aspects of today's allegedly conservative movement, after all, is its contempt for institutions, especially elite institutions that in any way limit the scope of fundamentalist ideology. And so Newt Gingrich's crucial innovation was throwing out the politeness and manners and decorum and rules and traditions of the House of Representatives in order to gain power by populist demagoguery. You can see his legacy in Tom DeLay's implementation of the Medicare D entitlement under Bush, an essentially lawless an rule-free process that made a mockery of parliamentary procedure. You saw this contempt for the rule of law, if it got in the way of desired policy, in the torture policy under Bush, cynically making the patently illegal "legal" through cynicism and double-speak. Similarly, McConnell's use of the filibuster is essentially a display of contempt for the American constitutional system, rigging the system to nullify legislative majorities and to conduct politics as a zero-sum war for power, rather than as a means to debate, discuss and implement necessary changes in an evolving society. The give-and-take of American constitutionalism has been essentially reduced by the GOP in the last two decades to take-and-take-some-more. They impeache one successful president, in an act so disproportionate to the offense (and the offense was real: Clinton was a shameless perjurer) that it helped gut any bipartisan functioning of an institution designed for deal-making across the aisles or within them.
They treated the 2000 election, when Bush lost the popular vote, as a landslide mandate election - again with no deference to the other side or sense of governing as one nation.
After Bush vs Gore and then Citizens United, I think Roberts saw the full political and constitutional consequences of a radical Court vote to gut the key legislative achievement of a duly elected president and Congress. In other words, he put the institutions of American government before the demands of partisan powermongering. And he deftly nudged the issue back into the democratic process, where it more comfortably belongs.

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