The Corner

Re: Re: Congress Can’t Bind Congress

Andy and Stanley: Your points are well taken, and they tie in with an observation I made here yesterday about pledges. The notion that, because we no longer trust our elected representatives, we must bind them hand and foot with (largely imaginary) shackles is not only absurd but (as Stanley points out re the IPAB) dangerous.

Enough with this stop-me-before-I-spend/tax/kill-again baloney. Enough with the it’s-out-of-our-hands huzzarei. The professional politicians keep yapping about getting something done for the American people, but everybody knows they’re only doing that voodoo that they do do so well in order to avoid blame, shirk responsibility, and win reelection. What Congress and the president are doing now is not a cry for help, but a Totentanz from which neither can disengage.

Hence the call for pledges, “triggers,” commissions, et al. But these aren’t a cure for the disease — they’re a symptom of it. We can’t bind these Houdinis. We can’t save ourselves from ourselves. All we can do is order the band to stop playing, and the danse macabre to cease.

As the Bard said: “Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Fundamental change, anyone? This time, it’s personal. 

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.

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