Friday, September 19, 2008

Is Peggy Noonan out of touch?

Or has the hot old chick of the Republican party begun to lose her mind? In the whole arc of her column today on the election campaign she flits from thought to thought while missing one thing: Congress.

Simply stated, the US supposedly has one. While wondering if "the presidential election doesn't matter as much as we think" because "[w]hoever wins will govern within more of less the same limits, both domestically and internationally [we'll save that debate for another time -- TKM]" Noonan does not mention the parameters of those limits. And the notion is absurd on its face -- just ask the CIA directors under Carter and Clinton about the importance of presidential leadership.

Right now, Congress is the least important branch of government. Both Congress and the president have left questions of constitutional law to the Supreme Court, thereby abandoning their own role to evaluate the legality of legislative enactments.

The executive is in charge of foreign policy under the Constitution. But it is now by far the leading branch on domestic policy because Congress has: (1) abdicated its role to set a coherent domestic agenda; (2) failed to enact reasonable legislation; (3) overrided the president's veto to pass high spending bills; (4) and admitted its uselessness (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the market crisis: "no one knows what to do"). It's the executive, through Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, that has taken the lead on shoring up the financial markets while Reid, Pelosi and Obama (D-Fannie Mae) decry capitalism and Joe Biden (D-MBNA) says it's patriotic to pay higher taxes.

The Monk works hard in the hardest-working country in the Western world. None of us deserve this Congress. It's a question of leadership -- and to say that the presidential election winner won't have a great effect on that is just foolish.

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