Friday, February 6, 2009

The Obama Federalist Papers

"What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives -- action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

"Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

"That's why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. --President Barack Obama in an editorial today in the Washington Post.


"Another advantage of the two-house legislature is that it makes it more difficult to create laws. While recognizing the obvious need for some legislation to pass, The Federalist expressed deep skepticism about the wisdom of most legislation: 'The injury which may possibly be done by defeating a few good laws will be amply compensated by the advantage of preventing a number of bad ones.' [Federalist 73, Hamilton]. Sometimes, Madison warned, we the people, through our 'own temporary errors and delusions' will push for legislation that we 'will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn.' [Federalist 63]. The need for both houses to approve legislation slows down the process, and permits cooler heads to prevail. Put another way, gridlock can be good." --Meyerson, Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World, 2008, p. 180.

And that's the problem, isn't it? What if the urgency the President calls for results in legislation we will afterwards be ready to lament and condemn?

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