The Most Interesting Congressional Race In 2012…

…may very well be in Arizona’s new Ninth Congressional District, which wraps around the eastern side of Phoenix like a crescent, including much of Tempe and parts of Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, and Paradise Valley. If I recall correctly, this area also includes Arizona State University and substantial amounts of housing for ASU students, something of an…

Three Things About Paul Ryan as Romney’s VP Pick

I loathe Ryan, not least of all because I can now no longer sit in front of the telly (my Netflix queue has been full of British sitcoms) and let my frustration reservedly smolder as I watch the Sunday morning political shows while eating breakfast*, because doing so would inevitably entail putting up with the constant reprieve that, whatever…

The Disappearance of Informed Democracy

This week on the op-ed page of the Washington Post three senators debated the how best to detain “terrorists.”  The current annual defense authorization bill contains language introduced by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain that would codify the executive branch’s current practice of indefinitely detaining suspected terrorists.  It would also renew the 2001 Authorization…

The Constitution is Old

~by E.C. Gach Since S&P downgraded the U.S., Fareed Zakaria has been reminding people that currently, “no country with a presidential system has a triple-A rating from all three major ratings agencies.” The downgrade occurred, Zakaria notes, because of political dysfunction: “Listen to what the S&P actually said in its downgrade. ‘America’s governance and policymaking…

Because, as we all know, Military Spending Doesn’t Count

New York Times: The nation’s top military officer said Wednesday that he expected the Pentagon to ask Congress in the next few months for emergency financing to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though President Obama has pledged to end the Bush administration practice of paying for the conflicts with so-called supplemental funds…

We Are Experiencing Institutional Difficulties

At least among liberal bloggers, it’s become a matter of conventional wisdom that Congress – and particularly the Senate – is fundamentally broken.  Matthew Yglesias regularly points out our system’s absurdities, and various commentators have written very smart posts about our system’s complete inability to adequately address long-term challenges. Here at the League, Mark Thompson has written a great…

Returning the House (and the President) to the People

In my recently concluded interview with Publius from ObsidianWings on the role of the administrative state, a central question was how citizens can better hold the executive and legislative branches accountable and prevent regulatory capture.  It seems clear to me (although Publius may disagree) that these issues are closely related to the issue of growth…

Publius Squared: The Regulatory State, Congress, and Democracy

As many people should know, Obsidian Wings is often a bastion of worthwhile discussion and debate combined with unapologetic opinion in the sea of hackery and straw men that is the political blogosphere.  Over the last several days, the site’s most prolific blogger, as well as an expert on communications law and a passionate advocate of…

Our Three Party Democracy

Creepy admiration for China’s authoritarian government aside, the main point of Tom Friedman’s most recent New York Times op-ed is actually pretty sound: the United States has become something of a neutered one-party democracy.  That is, for those interested in governing – at least on the national level – the Democratic Party really is the…

I ain’t got time for this jibba jabba

Among many – many – other things, I wish political commentators would stop explaining away our near-constant legislative gridlock as some inevitable, quasi-mystical part of the democratic process.  For instance, here’s Peter Suderman (guest-posting for Andrew Sullivan) describing the “problem with politics”: No, I don’t think this is a failure of leadership so much as…

Is Divided Government More Responsive?

I’m not sure how well Freddie and I addressed the central question of our discussion last night, to wit, how to overcome the institutional problems in our representative democracy.  But the discussion about health care alternatives and the lack of significant hope for Wyden-Bennett has gotten me thinking about the role of divided government not only…

A Realistic Health Care Alternative Going Nowhere

[N/B: See below for a significant update/clarification] One of the criticisms levied at the alternative health care proposals discussed by E.D. and I over the last few weeks has been that these proposals, which rely heavily on vouchers and/or subsidies, are irrelevant to the debate that is actually taking place.  Yet this is not really…