Friday, July 01, 2005Bull Moose needs to stop using Newt Gingrich as a model for Democrats.
In his latest post, the Moose proposes that Democrats run on a reform agenda. That's fine. What I object to is the substance of his latest idea: shortening the congressional session and cutting congressional pay. Yes, this would get people's attention. But it would also further the "government is bad" theme that the Republicans are always pushing. I don't seem how imitating the government-bashing right is really going to help the Dems. Newt could push this line and be consistent. We can't.
There's another problem with Moose's suggestion; effectively what you would be doing is converting the Congress from a professional to an amateur legislature. This sounds really good on paper. Unfortunately, if you read some other papers (written by political scientists), you will learn that amateur legislatures (ones with shorter sessions and less pay) tend to weaken legislatures vis a vis the executive, interest groups, and permanent staff. In other words, you would be making Focus on the Family and President Bush a lot more powerful.
Which doesn't sound like a reform agenda at all. It sounds a lot more like making things worse.