2008 The Most Important Issue
posted by April 23 at 16:30 PMon
Have you caught the “Audacity of Government” This American Life yet? You should.
Stories of the Bush Administration, its unique style of asserting presidential authority, and its quest to redefine the limits of presidential power.
To my mind, the single most important issue for the 2008 election is the massive increase in both the power and incompetence of the executive branch—under the heinous ideology of the Unitary Executive. The massive power grab by the Bush administration—stealing authority from both the States and the co-branches of government—goes a long way to explain the decline of so many institutions in the United States. Most of the executive branch drones, given this massive authority, have little competence beyond winning College Republican elections.
Hence my desire to have an angry and voracious HRC thrust into a leadership role in the Senate, nipping at the heels of anyone and anything in the executive branch. I was thinking of all this while listening to the election returns last night. I miss the old, wonky HRC—vastly preferable to this pandering, fear spouting politician now winning elections.
Among the fear being spouted against Obama is the central role young voters have played in his successes. “Young voters don’t vote in general elections,” HRC supporters point out, “why not stick with Hillary, whose base are more reliable at the polls?”
True, most young people can’t be trusted to vote. But this thinking misses a key advantage of having an administration led by someone—like Obama—who can really inspire young people, particularly highly educated young people: You get better bureaucrats.
Young college graduates—smart chemists, biologists, physicists, historians, political scientists, linguistic experts—are vastly more likely to consider a career in the government—the EPA, the FDA, the DOE, the State Department, the CIA, the NSA—when inspired by a charismatic and smart leader. Hence the vastly increased competence of young Democratic presidential administrations, like Bill Clinton’s or potentially Barack Obama’s.
So, I hold my (increasingly distant) dream situation alive. An invigorated and aggressive Senate overflowing with excellent policy encoded into legislation, lead for decades by the experienced wonkiness of Hillary Clinton. A competent executive branch, chocked full the best and brightest young minds, led by a charismatic and eloquent president Obama, capable of clearly explaining and executing the brilliant policy flowing from the legislature.