BY APPOINTMENT TO HIS MAJESTY

Saturday, December 14th, 2013 | Uncategorized

New York Times house “conservative” David Brooks goes neo-monarchist:

This is a good moment to advocate greater executive branch power because we’ve just seen a monumental example of executive branch incompetence: the botched Obamacare rollout. It’s important to advocate greater executive branch power in a chastened mood. It’s not that the executive branch is trustworthy; it’s just that we’re better off when the presidency is strong than we are when the rentier groups are strong, or when Congress, which is now completely captured by the rentier groups, is strong.

Here are the advantages. First, it is possible to mobilize the executive branch to come to policy conclusion on something like immigration reform. It’s nearly impossible for Congress to lead us to a conclusion about anything. Second, executive branch officials are more sheltered from the interest groups than Congressional officials. Third, executive branch officials usually have more specialized knowledge than staffers on Capitol Hill and longer historical memories. Fourth, Congressional deliberations, to the extent they exist at all, are rooted in rigid political frameworks. Some agencies, especially places like the Office of Management and Budget, are reasonably removed from excessive partisanship. Fifth, executive branch officials, if they were liberated from rigid Congressional strictures, would have more discretion to respond to their screw-ups, like the Obamacare implementation. Finally, the nation can take it out on a president’s party when a president’s laws don’t work. That doesn’t happen in Congressional elections, where most have safe seats.

So how do you energize the executive? It’s a good idea to be tolerant of executive branch power grabs and to give agencies flexibility. We voters also need to change our voting criteria. It’s not enough to vote for somebody who agrees with your policy preferences. Presidential candidates need to answer two questions. How are you going to build a governing 60 percent majority that will enable you to drive the Washington policy process? What is your experience implementing policies through big organizations?

We don’t need bigger government. We need more unified authority. Take power away from the rentier groups who dominate the process. Allow people in those authorities to exercise discretion. Find a president who can both rally a majority, and execute a policy process.

Let me get this straight, Dave.  Barack Obama just rolled out DemocraticPartyCare, the single worst piece of American legislations since the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  But let’s give him more power so even MORE harmful bills will be passed things will “get done.”

Here’s an idea, digusting little suck-up, er, Dave.  What say US presidents stop trying to be “historic?”  What say that they deal with the actual problems they have in front of them rather than inventing global “problems” and then ineptly “solving” those?

27 Comments to BY APPOINTMENT TO HIS MAJESTY

Bill (not IB)
December 14, 2013

You’ve got to be kidding me. “Someone screwed up, which means they’re sure to be open to accepting more power because their error shows them a better way.”

Words truly fail me. It is incomprehensible that *anyone*, liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, could come up with such a perverted idea of how government power should be allocated.

I’ve got it – this is really the lyrics from an item on the “Dr. Demento” show, which is awarding a prize for the most improbable, ridiculous song. This one has to be top of the charts, blowing away such classics as “Fish Heads” and “My Name is Larry.”

Katherine
December 14, 2013

Hard to imagine what universe Brooks now lives in. Things look different the longer you stay in NYC, evidently.

His argument would make a little more sense (not much, but some) if we had an actual competent executive in the White House, or anywhere among Democratic high-level appointees.

Get Congress under the control of one set of “rentiers” and things get done. That’s what happened in 2009. We, fools that we are, elected all Democratic control, and they legislated disaster after disaster. Now Congress is divided and they are prevented from doing more great damage, but they can’t agree on fixing the mess. Give the Congress back to the other set of “rentiers” and some progress could be made.

But Brooks shouldn’t be a big surprise. After all, this is the guy who was entranced by the crease in Obama’s slacks.

dwstroudmd+
December 14, 2013

Yo, Dave! The rentiers had control of the Congress long enough to pass the Obamacare which Obama flubbed. You need to get a brain or an education, preferably both, before you wet yourself like this in public, in print. The internets are unforgiving in destroying this evidence or your fetish.

FW Ken
December 14, 2013

How about this: let’s take all power from the national government and return it to the states, except for powers explicitly delegated to the national government. You know, sort of like the original vision for the country.

Of course, the east coast media won’t like having to disperse their power out to 50 statehouses.

Steve
December 14, 2013

Hi,

At first I thought this was a poorly thought-out attempt at satire that fell flat on its face. But, on re-reading, it does appear that he is serious!! Brooks has never had a sense of humor but he has always had a serious case of man-love for Barack.

Elaine S.
December 14, 2013

“let’s take all power from the national government and return it to the states, except for powers explicitly delegated to the national government. You know, sort of like the original vision for the country.”

In other words… let’s plead the Tenth Amendment!

“What say US presidents stop trying to be ‘historic?’”

I have to second that. We elect presidents, not saviors, and I am leery of both liberals and conservatives who try to present themselves as saviors. Just once, I’d like to see a candidate of either party say, “I’m not going to try to save the world; I’m just going to try to keep the federal government from getting any more out of control than it already is, and keep from screwing things up worse than they have been.” I’d vote for that person in a heartbeat over someone with a grandiose plan for a New Frontier or Great Society or whatever.

FW Ken
December 14, 2013

And that, Elaine, is the second part of a radical restoration: make the POTUS back into the administrator of laws passed by the Congress instead of the Leader of the Free World, the Sender of Messages to Our Youth, or the Obsession in Chief of the national press.

Truth unites... And divides
December 15, 2013

How come Brooks never said that about Bush?

JM
December 15, 2013

Is Brooks’s middle name Quisling?

Jim
December 15, 2013

This evening we went to a Christmas party at a friend who has an historic home in what used to be, until recently, a nice part of town. Now there is a village of homeless people living in tents about two hundred feet from her front door in the park that is next to the homes on this street. She has a new security system that has been put in because of repeated break in problems. The security system is kept on at all times to warn of those trying to break in, even when we were all in the house at her party.

The spread of poverty in this community is amazing.

And then when we get home I pull up news stories on the internet and there is discussion of whether members of Congress should continue to have portraits painted of themselves at $50,000 a pop. And all I can think of is that there is such a huge disconnect between places where the elites hang out, such as Washington and New York, and what is really going on in this country–a crushing economic depression that is completely ignored by the elites and by the media.

This story is a good example of the total disconnect. It’s completely about the elites aggregating yet more power to themselves at the expense of the people. The same elites that have created the nightmarish economic climate in this country. And yet “conservatives” like Brooks think it’s a good thing.

This country is in for some very dark times in the near future, I fear.

Fuinseoig
December 15, 2013

To pull some lines from Chesterton out of context, but they seem to resonate with this longing for The Strong Man as expressed in that piece:

“And I do know in the human case that if some ritual of seniority keeps savages reverencing somebody called the Old Man, then at least they have not our own servile sentimental weakness for worshipping the Strong Man.”

“All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men.”

There is a reason for not giving absolute power to the head of the executive branch in any government. You really do not want to live under a dictator, even a benevolent despot type. We have checks and balances because the sorry experience of human history has been that where one man (or one man in an office of state, or one group exercising the authority of the state as a whole) can ram through any damn thing they like, we get a lot of damnable and damned things imposed on us.

James1
December 15, 2013

“New York Times conservative” is an oxymoron. . . . Or at least some kind of moron!

James1
December 15, 2013

The checks and balances in our government and its diffusion of power protect us from tyranny. Necessarily, however, they create inefficiencies in accomplishing things. The private economy must generate enough wealth to overcome the government’s inefficiencies before it can create wealth for its participants. The solution is less government, not a concentration of power.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
December 15, 2013

You are being way too polite to call this Leftist tool a “neo-monarchist.” The doofus is barking mad (but that’s normal for a leftist). This is a complete refutation of our Constitution and nothing short of a call for dictatorship!

Katherine
December 15, 2013

Elaine S, FW Ken, hear, hear! I’d love to have a Chief Executive who stops all of the quasi-monarchical functions of the presidency and at the White House. Just do your job, which is effectively administering the laws (as written!) and taking care of foreign policy. You are not a king, sir.

Allen Lewis
December 15, 2013

I’m with Elaine S., FW Ken, and Katherine? What’s wrong with the Constitution as it was written (with the possible addition of term limits for Congress?). Let the states do most of the heavy lifting!

As for David Brooks, if he is a conservative, then I am not sure what I am. Why don’t we give the Constitution a chance? We have not done much with it lately.

Katherine
December 15, 2013

James1, there’s another guy, Ross Douthat (I think), writing at the NY Times who seems pretty sensible in general. This means that he won’t stay there much longer or he’ll stop being sensible, based on history at that location.

LaVallette
December 16, 2013

There goes the American Revolution and the War of Independence. King George III (or is it Stalin) come back!!!!!!

Michal
December 16, 2013

Wollowitz strikes again! (With apoligies to the character on “Big Bang Theory”.) Ever since Brooksie talked about the concept of ‘Bobo’ in the nineties (his book “Bobos in Paradise: the new upper class and how they got there”) he’s been in love with the sound of his own voice…

Michal
December 16, 2013

Drat…that should have been ‘apologies’…

Flambeaux
December 16, 2013

As a monarchist, I must register a protest. Monarchy is an excellent form of government. What Brooks and POTUS advocate and seek to acquire is despotism. There is a genuine difference.

The US Constitution was in tatters by 1803. It’s been all downhill for the American Experiment since then.

Flambeaux
December 16, 2013

That said, I’ll take even a tattered US Constitution over the kind of despotism Uncle Barry, his allies, or any counterpart he has on the political Right would attempt to impose.

Christopher Hathaway
December 16, 2013

No fool like an educated fool.

Maxine
December 16, 2013

Does Brooks’ shrink think he’ll get any better? Or even, perhaps, cured?

FW Ken
December 16, 2013

You can’t cure stupid, Maxine.

Paula Loughlin
December 16, 2013

I for one, if given lands, a title, and the right to request a boon from HRM once a year at Christmastide, will go quietly. The tiara has been boxed up long enough.

WannabeAnglican
December 17, 2013

Tyranny always has its cheerleaders.

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