Wednesday, August 5, 2009

King of the castle

This piece was submitted by Lune on Naked Capitalism's blog. I would recommend the whole article and tracking back to the original posting as well. Here is the most germane portion, the rest of the rhetoric just supports this thesis.

Anyone who watches Congress go about its business will note a certain bipolar proclivity to its actions: it will snooze as important issues fester; then, at a seemingly random moment, it will wake up, and, after a frenzy of hearings, speeches, and negotiations, it will write and pass enormous bills faster than a harlequin ghost-writer on crack.

The public is therefore left cursing Congress for its laziness and inaction, then cursing it for its hasty decisions and rushed, poorly thought-out laws. There seems to be no in-between.

The reality is that getting a bill passed is somewhat akin to laying siege to a castle (the castle being Congress and the policy advocates being the marauders). A successful siege campaign in the Middle Ages could last years, and consisted of a slow grinding down of the inhabitants of the castle while building your siege weapons, training your forces, and probing the walls for weaknesses. Then, when a weakness was found (or created), all of a sudden, your forces would rush in, a huge, noisy battle would ensue, and very quickly, you'd either become the king of the castle, or be dead with your head proudly displayed on a pike.

For someone watching just the castle, it can appear like years of humdrum tedium interrupted by sudden, random chaos.
The legislative process is a little like that (although being more civilized, we've replaced the pike with a symbolic skewering on the late night comedy shows).

No comments:

Post a Comment