Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Too Clever By Half

Regardless of one's feelings about health care legislation, the Slaughter option is a very bad idea.

Procedures are frustrating and even maddening but there are reasons for their existence. One of the best is to restrain us when we are tempted to become too clever.

I've seen this in private organizations. If we tinker with this rule and place this creative interpretation on that policy, we can get what we want. Such moves seldom come without a heavy price. Presidential advisor Bryce Harlow once said that the messiness of democracy meant that the system was working. It was designed to be difficult. That's the idea, no matter how clever we are because part of the system's genius is to save us from ourselves.


Kurt Harden said...

Rules? Procedures? Who needs those when there is such important work to be done? When such exceptions are considered, we should first think about the worst possible use of the proposed exception. Perhaps, the rules would seem more useful after that exercise.

Dan Richwine said...

All those considering going to these extreme lengths to pass this "historic" legislation should remember the word "precedence." Once you are out of power (and it will happen sooner or later) what’s to stop your opponents from using the same tricks to pass legislation you think is an outrage? Will conservatives “deem” a ban on abortion as passed? Will libertarians “deem” a legislative removal of the dept of education as complete without a vote?

I forget the name of the classic movie, where a character when asked if he would allow Satan to go free if the law was on his side. He agreed that he would, and launched upon a speech where he compared the laws in England to the trees in England, and if you cut them all down in pursuit of Satan, then at the end, when he turns on you, you have no where to hide from him. So before the democrats seek to use unprecedented means to enact unprecedented legislation, I hope the pause to consider the ramifications to posterity.