Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Gingrich revolutionaries turn into arrogant elite

By Aussiegirl

Mark Steyn as usual, gets right to the nub of the matter. The Senate (henceforth known as the House of Lords), has completely disconnected itself from the will of the people and the good of the nation. It's become perfectly clear that what we presently have in the Senate (there may still be hope for the House, but Hastert's hissy fit is hardly encouraging) is a permanent ruling class that has lost any fear of the electorate due to what amounts to perpetual incumbency. And when you have a permanent ruling elite this is the sort of out-of-touch legislation you get.

The country-club Rockefeller wing of the Republican party has almost successfully purged itself of what it obviously sees as its vestigial and useless right wing. The defeat and purging of the Reagan conservatives is almost complete.

Gingrich revolutionaries turn into arrogant elite: "Of all the many marvelous Ronald Reagan lines, this is my favorite: ''We are a nation that has a government -- not the other way around.''
He said it in his inaugural address in 1981, and, despite a Democrat-controlled Congress, he lived it. It sums up his legacy abroad: Across post-Communist Europe, from Lithuania to Bulgaria to Slovenia, governments that had nations have been replaced by nations that have governments."

[...]Which current member of the Republican Party's creme de la creme could utter that Reagan line and mean it? Take the speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert. Last week, something very unusual happened: There was a story out of Washington that didn't reflect badly on the Republican Party's competence or self-discipline. It was about a Democrat! Fellow from Louisiana called William Jefferson. Corruption investigation. Don't worry, if you're too distracted by "American Idol," it's not hard to follow, you just need to know one little visual image: According to an FBI affidavit, this Democrat congressman was caught on video taking a hundred-grand bribe from a government informer and then storing it in his freezer. That's what the scandal's supposed to be: Democrat Icecapades of 2006. All the GOP had to do was keep out of the way and let Jefferson and his Dem defenders skate across the thin ice like Tonya Harding with her lumpy tights full of used twenties. It was a perfect story: No Republicans need be harmed in the making of this scandal.

So what does Hastert do? He and the House Republican leadership intervene in the case on behalf of the Democrat: They're strenuously objecting to the FBI having the appalling lese majeste to go to court, obtain a warrant and search Jefferson's office. In constitutional terms, they claim it violates the separation of powers. In political terms, they're climbing right into the Frigidaire with Jefferson's crisp chilled billfold. What does the Republican base's despair with Congress boil down to? That the Gingrich revolutionaries have turned into the pampered potentates of pre-1994 Washington, a remote insulated arrogant elite interested only in protecting the privileges of the permanent governing class. But how best to confirm it? Hmm. What about if we send the Republican speaker out to argue that congressmen are beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. law-enforcement agencies?

[...]By the way, even if one were in favor of the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill, it's a complete fantasy. Anyone who's had any experience of U.S. immigration knows that there is no way you can toss another 15 million people into the waiting room of a system that can barely process routine non-discretionary applications in under a decade. But then the ever greater disconnect between ineptly drafted legislation and reality seems to be of no interest to the United States Congress. City Journal's Nicole Gelinas had an interesting story the other day about the effect of the Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory reforms, poorly drafted and hastily passed in the wake of the Enron collapse. The regulatory burden imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley has increased the cost of being a medium-sized public company by 223 percent since 2002. As a result, growing companies are choosing to list themselves not on the New York Stock Exchange but in London, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. Sarbanes-Oxley is a badly written law that forces companies to devote inordinate time and money in hopes of being in compliance with its vague requirements. It makes more sense to go elsewhere. In other words, the cost of access to U.S. equity markets has become too high.

But hey, that's not a problem for federal legislators who've moved on to frolic in other pastures. I said the other day that McCain and Specter and Sarbanes and Lott and the rest were presidents-for-life of the one-party state of Incumbistan. Between all the comprehensive immigration reform and corporate governance reform and campaign-finance reform and campaign-finance-reform reform and all the other changes, McCain and Co. sail on, eternally unchanging, decade after decade. There are no plans for Senate governance reform or Trent Lott finance reform. Incumbistan is a government that has a nation.


At 6:28 AM, Blogger Brandon_T_Stanley said...

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