The conventional wisdom evolves. Yesterday, Washington was merely broken, gridlocked, dysfunctional. The passive voice spread the blame evenly. Today it’s agreed that Republican obstructionism is the root of all evil — GOP resistance having now escalated to nihilism and indeed sabotage.
Sabotage carries a fine whiff of extralegal, anti-constitutional vandalism. This from media mandarins who barely bat an eyelash when President Barack Obama unilaterally suspends parts of his own health care law — just as he unilaterally stopped enforcing current immigration laws for 1.7 million young illegal immigrants, thereby enacting by executive order legislation that had failed in Congress. So much for faithfully executing the laws (Article II).
The new CW knowingly deplores the 113th Congress for having passed the fewest pieces of legislation in at least four decades. Why, they were sneering, it couldn’t even pass the farm bill, the essence of bipartisanship for oh so many years. Which is the perfect example of the fatuousness of measuring legislative success by volume, as if every new law represents an advance of civilization. The farm bill is the quintessence of congressional logrolling, trade-offs and kickbacks — in which the public interest is systematically trumped by some moneyed and entrenched special interest. Its death (lamentably temporary — it was partly resurrected on Thursday) was well-deserved.
Opposition to Obama’s entitlement-state agenda — beginning with Obamacare, long before it began falling apart before our eyes — should be a source of pride for Republicans. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t stop there. They should advance a reform agenda of their own.
The major thrust should be tax reform. The time could not be more ripe. The public is understandably agitated by an IRS scandal that showed not just the agency’s usual arrogance and highhandedness but also its talent for waste, abuse, corruption and an overt favoritism that even Obama called outrageous.