Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A General Model of the Senate

Dickerson bemoans the Senate, which is in fact merely performing its constitutional function: to obstruct.

Our wise founders knew that if you actually got a government to do things, disaster would result. Look at China for God's sake. But in their infinite wisdom and love of paradox, the founders also knew that nothing kills good intentions like a bureaucracy, and so, voila!, the Senate -- a bureaucracy in the heart of government designed to keep government from functioning.

[Skipping paragraph about how George Lucas is a prophet.]

Sadly, the advent of the new Obergruppenfuhrer presidency means that one wing of government is actually doing things, hence the most recent crisis. To impede (actually, not impede, merely insult. Rats. Let me start again) to insult the president, the Senate now has to act in a coordinated way.

Which, shockingly, they have. The workings of the Senate are more finely tuned than any ballet. To understand the subtlety of this august institution, one must merely keep in mind the fundamental elegance of its organizing principle -- to obstruct. The chamber is designed to always favor the following outcomes:

1. All sides claim moral victory.

2. All sides claim their enemies are responsible for obstruction (which is always true because...)

3. Nothing ever happens.

The Senate is America's greatest incubater of empty rhetoric.

Er, next to the House.

Repost from Politics Fray in reference to Dickerson. I don't know why I bother over there.


JohnMcG said...

But in this case, the only thing they obstructed was their own planned obstruction.

The surge is still happening -- with or without the Senate's blessing or disapproval.

august said...

Well exactly. Except the "planned obstruction" wasn't much of an obstruction, more like a legislative "nah-nanny-boo-boo."

It's an obvious point, really -- I'm just dressing it up with silliness because I'm feeling goofy (too much time on the internet). Just that the gains for individual Senators are rhetorical rather than practical. This outcome is in the interest of all 100 of them and pretty much none of the rest of us.

Archaeopteryx said...

So, to summarize:

Senate to Everyone: Fuck All Y'all.

Glad we all got so excited about the election.

bEnder said...

august: Curiously Sphere in the footer of Dickerson’s column doesn’t show your post. I’m guessing the “/fr/flyout” in the url you used is messing it up. But I could be wrong. Try replacing it with www.slate.com/id/2159100 and we’ll see what happens.

JohnMcG said...

Another example of Slate not being up with Web 2.0. Don't know why the navigation method needs to be part of the URL, but it should be transparent to the reader.

august said...

I changed the link.