One of the novel developments in conservative thought during the Obama years is a burgeoning hatred not merely for government but for lawmaking. Before the Obama era, the ends of crafting laws divided the parties, but the means did not. The process of corralling votes, placating hold-outs, and hammering out compromises was not something either side especially loved — you’ve heard the classic line about watching the sausage get made — but also not something that one side disliked more than the other. But a hatred for lawmaking has emerged in the Obama years, first as a Republican tactic, and then as an apparently genuine belief system.
The distrust for lawmaking is the main argument — wait, “argument” is too strong; maybe premise? — of a rare joint op-ed by Rich Lowry and William Kristol, editors of the National Review and the Weekly Standard. Lowry and Kristol urge House Republicans to kill immigration reform, because passing it would involve legislating, and legislating is bad.
They don’t put it exactly like that, of course.
Let’s just stop right there. “They don’t put it like that,” Jon boy, because that’s nowhere near what they mean. Chait is, I dunno, projecting? Reflecting? Vomiting random words onto his keyboard? Throwing a tantrum and stomping his foot because his side just can’t get their way right now this instant?
He’s certainly making stuff up, and is a poster boy for why dialogue between left and right has broken down. What Lowry and Kristol mean is that this particular law is bad, and they’re right. It’s bad. It should die because it’s bad.
The process of legislating has not become anathema to the GOP. They engage in said process every day in state capitols all over the fruited plain. What’s that thing they’re doing in Austin right now that’s causing so much ruckus? Oh, right, they’re trying to pass a law under threat from a mad Democrat mob that chants “Hail Satan!” and “F*** the church!” Republicans engage in legislating in the House all the time, passing responsible budgets that go nowhere, while the Democrat-controlled Senate does nothing but whine and blame Republicans for not rubber-stamping whatever Chuck Schumer wants.
What some Republicans do disdain and should disdain is legislation spawned in Gang discussions and backroom deals and buyoffs and payoffs, the sort of processes that bequeathed the Obama stimulus, the Obama health care bill, and now this awful immigration reform bill. Those are all awful laws, built almost entirely in secret by one party, and foisted on the American people whether we wanted them or not. We infamously have to pass them just to find out what’s in them, and Democrats in Congress passed them without even bothering to read them first.
The party that has developed an allergy to open government is the Democrats. They have abandoned governing for the sake of tweeting and launching bogus wars on women and other PR efforts that really have nothing to do with responsible leadership. Harry Reid has turned the Senate into little more than an annex of the White House West Wing. It doesn’t legislate. It pontificates.
Not that Chait will see or admit to any of that. He’s too busy pouting and drawing crayon mustaches on his photo of Newt Gingrich.