Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Slow, Not Broken

It's very rare that I find myself agreeing with something Bill Bennett wrote, but today's the lucky blind squirrel finds a nut day. From CNN:
There is a popular misconception in politics today that the American political system is broken because Washington can't accomplish anything meaningful. This is not true. The system is working entirely as intended -- bumps, bruises, and all.

One must not confuse broken government with slow government. Washington is stalled. It's being pulled in opposite directions by competing visions of government. In 2008, the American people elected a liberal president, House and Senate. What resulted was anything but gridlock. Democrats passed an unprecedented stimulus package, Obama Care, and the Frank-Dodd bill. In 2010, the country revolted, swung back to the right and elected a conservative House, the likes of which has not been seen before.

As a result, we are in the midst of a serious philosophical battle over the future of this country -- a battle between a small, limited government system and a big government entitlement state. The nature of our Constitution requires that the American people decide the direction of this country, not Washington. And until the American people decide, there will be arguments, division and gridlock.

Our country does not undergo dramatic changes in political philosophy, for better or for worse, overnight. It is a slow, painful process and has been throughout our history. Our Founding Fathers foresaw this.

Bennett goes on to cite Federalist #10. Color me impressed! I had no idea it was even in his repertoire. At any rate, today's government doesn't even look like gridlock to me. It looks very much as Bennett describes it- slow.

Now, that's a relative term, of course. For the majority of Americans, I think they really do want fast solutions to problems, and the discourse seems labored in the light of people characterized by short attention spans. I think of it as moving ever too fast. Lots of things I can cite as being under-discussed and over-rushed: wars in Iraq and Libya, Patriot Act, Recovery Act- these are off the top of my head. Wish those things were deliberated at extreme length. You know, like for five weeks, even.

Bennett is correct in that there is a sharp divide between those who want limited government and government interventions. Those who want more government should actually welcome the prolonging of debate on at least this ground: The Tea Party tends to be a fairly bogus small government advocate. Just start talking about Social Security to see them backslide. So, keep up the debate, and the support for limiting government will likely wither, as it usually does, when specific examples are raised, and their defenders lose religion and rush forth.