October 3, 2005

Alberto Gonzales with two X chromosomes

Regarding Bush's nomination of his personal lawyer / flunky Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, a reader writes to contend that it's all my fault:

It looks like Bush read your American Conservative piece on Gonzales and decided to go with a different Bush family consigliere this time.

The President, he's really something, isn't he? He must be thinking that by nominating a qualified individual in John Roberts, he has satisfied his entire Good Government obligation for this entire term, and now can get back to appointing loyal Arabian Horse Show judges and the like.

That a nimrod like George W. Bush is President of the United States (and that he beat an empty suit like John F. Kerry) is conclusive proof that there is something fundamentally wrong with our entire system of generating and selecting Presidential candidates. We need to do some serious thinking about how to reform the whole system to produce better Presidents.

A reader responds:

When the courts over the last 40 years converted every important decision made by American government, outside of foreign policy and budgeting, into a Constitutional question that would be decided by the courts, they turned elected governors into essentially French provincial administrators and elected legislators into, at best, accountants and at worst, poseurs, symbols, misery pimps, ideological hood ornaments and male models.

This is who we pick our presidential candidates from.

Well, to depress you more, I don't even blame Bush for an immigration proposal that is bad on its face. Instead, I wonder, what are the other 300 Republican congressman, senators and governors proposing on immigration, either whacko or worthwhile? I don't expect the President to have all the answers, much less all the right answers, to every question.

Moreover, it wasn't this way before, roughly, the early 1970s. If there was a problem or national issue, there was intense activity in the House, Senate and in many states to remedy or resolve it. Wise or unwise, there were proposals and politicians willing to advance them. Only by doing that, or by implementing new ideas in states and having success with them, could a man promote himself as presidential timber.

Now, with a handful of exceptions like Gingrich, Thompson or Guiliani, the opposite is true. You run for President like Clinton [or Kerry] did, by simply occupying office inoffensively forever and then making a dash for the finish line in a two-month campaign.

So the courts' preemption of controversial political issues has some benefits for elected leaders. Or at least it established customs with which they have become very comfortable.

One important step would be to get rid of gerrymandering of Congressional (and state legislative) seats to protect incumbents. Members of the House now see their jobs as lifetime sinecures ... unless they make a "gaffe." That's one reason why Congress has never undertaken to fulfill its Constitutional duty to declared war in the last 60 years -- having to go on record, pro or con, on something that gets voters as interested as war is the kind of thing that might get them voted out of office if they voted on what turned out to be the unpopular side. Better to just let the President worry about that.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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