Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the empty Senate?

The New Yorker has many interesting and informative articles, as well as great cartoons. In a recent issue, the magazine also has a long article on the Senate by George Packer, previously better known for his writing on Iraq.

It has some good atmospherics, and quotes from frustrated Senators who want to change the rules. Overall, however, it is just another cynical observer's critique of the Senate. It laments -- as I do -- how much things have changed in a negative direction since the 1970s. Yet it fails to appreciate the political pressures and incentives that produced those changes and that now hinder reform.

I'm for reform, and have offered some ideas. But just as it takes votes to win elections and have the power to institute reforms, it takes work to convince those with the votes to make those changes.

Meanwhile, prepare for the September craziness as Congress tries to do all its regular work in only three weeks. [Hint: they won't succeed and will have to resort to the usual gimmicks in order to adjourn for the elections.]

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