The vote earlier this week in the House on the financial ‘rescue’ bill1 and the aftermath, renewed my faith in my own life’s work.
Here we had a president who offered up a package negotiated ahead of time with no one and which called for the legislature to abdicate its authority to a presidential appointee.2 Have we seen a more high-handed approach by the US executive result in defeat since the Clinton health-care bill?3 We have seen such heavy-handedness in the intervening years, to be sure. But that gets me to the point of this planting.
We expect such attempts at executive aggrandizement to be resisted, not acceded to by the legislative branch, in a separation-of-powers system. Further, we expect limited party discipline in such a system.4 We expect public bargaining between the branches (and chambers) in such a system. And we expect lots of otherwise extraneous sweeteners to have to be added to encourage greater discipline as that bargaining goes on towards subsequent attempts by the executive to pass its policy proposals.
Seems we have seen all of that this week. It is nice to know presidentialsim does work after all. Presidents and Assemblies and my subsequent work have been rescued. As for the economy, who knows?
- I find ‘bailout’ to be too loaded a term, though that is not to say that I don’t think that term fits. I am trying to be objective, that’s all. [↩]
- The appointee of a lame-duck president, not less. Of a party that is likely to lose an election in just over a month, no less. [↩]
- It never even got a vote. It was similarly negotiated with no one–in Congress, I mean. At least the healthcare overhaul did not ask Congress to abdicate to a presidential appointee. [↩]
- On the recent increase in discipline, Clinton’s first budget set the tone, though there may have been earlier examples as well. [↩]