Saturday, October 12, 2013

If We Let One Sub-Branch Govern by Extortion, Others Can Follow

There's no saving face when you threaten to take a baseball bat to your own country if you don't get what you want.

But it's more than this.

Some might say, let's let the House govern by extortion. Let's give them the power to get laws rescinded, or enacted, or programs cut, without approval from the President and Senate just by threatening to do grievous harm to their own country if they don't get what they want. The House should have more power, like a parliament.

Well, first, this would be a parliament so undemocratically gerrymandered by the Republicans that they could control it with just 43% of Americans' votes.

But more importantly, if the House starts governing by extortion, the other branches of government could follow. The President could decide, if the House and Senate don't give me what I want, I won't sign any budget and will shut the government down for as long as necessary until the damage to the country is so great that you give me what I want. He could threaten to cripple agencies with executive orders as extortion to get what he wants, and worse. The Senate could also shut down the government if they don't get what they want, and wreak havoc in other ways. And the Supreme Court also has ways take a hatchet to the country to extort.

Sound far fetched? Imagine a Republican President, like Tea Party favorite (at least before immigration reform) Marco Rubio, unable to get a law rescinded, or passed, or spending cuts he wants, so he threatens not to sign any budget from the Democratic House and Senate, thus shutting down the government for as long as it takes until he gets what he wants. Or imagine if the Republicans lose the Presidency and the House, but control the Senate, and they do the same, with the Senate shutting down the government until their demands are met.

Is this the kind of country we want, where each branch or sub-branch threatens to do it grievous harm until it's demands are met? Or is this a historically shameful atrocity that has to stop here and now.