From the invasion of Iraq to the selection of Sarah Palin, carelessness has characterized recent episodes of faux conservatism.
As opposed to Real ConservatismTM as practiced by whom? Patrick Buchanan? Andrew Sullivan? Will’s own private fantasies? Will doesn’t say, but he has made it clear over the years that he detests every nominal conservative who has either held or sought the Presidency since Reagan, so with all due respect to Mr. Will (and note that I did say “due”), there can only be so many real world examples of X that conflict with your personal concept of the “real” X before the real world becomes the real thing and your conceptions become faux.
Tuesday’s probable repudiation of the Republican Party will punish characteristics displayed in the campaign’s closing days.
Right, ‘cuz everyone is really itching to elect the real conservative, Barack Obama, not because they buy into Obama’s personality cult, as some do, and not because they are socialists or near-socialists themselves, as some are, but because they all just want to punish John McCain and the Republicans for not being conservative enough. But hey, you never know. If on Tuesday the first candidate in history to win with almost no experience on an essentially socialist platform is swept into office with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate on the side, maybe the Democrats will interpret this as a strong mandate to become the party of Real Conservatism and limited government. And maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt.
Some polls show that Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain’s saddle than his association with George W. Bush.
Will doesn’t name any such polls, of course, nor does he explain what it is about the polls that supposedly show this. Before naming Palin as his running mate, McCain was down by about 10 points. If he ends up losing by significantly more than that, then sure, it would be reasonable to suggest that Palin may have been a limiting factor (though even then it wouldn’t be a slam dunk). But if the net effect of the Palin nomination is for McCain to lose the election but beat the spread, all this Beltway mumbling about Palin hurting McCain is little more than wishful thinking.
Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin’s never having attended a “Georgetown cocktail party” is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency,
Can you say “projection?” I knew you could. McCain never said anything about not having attended a Georgetown cocktail party supposedly being a qualification for anything; if that were the rule he should have nominated me, instead. What he did say was that not having attended such parties is not a disqualification. Apparently, this statement struck a nerve among Georgetown cocktail party animals.
… lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents “are in charge of the United States Senate”?
Probably not, but perhaps the real question should have been, “How many Georgetown cocktails must one consume in order to conclude that someone can be the President of something without being ‘in charge’ of it?
She may have been tailoring her narrative to her audience of third-graders, who do not know that vice presidents have no constitutional function in the Senate other than to cast tie-breaking votes.
Apparently, third-graders in Georgetown are taught a much more comprehensive version of civics than I ever got in high school or law school (not to mention law professors themselves). It isn’t until the fourth grade that they learn about the hidden “ha ha, just kidding” clause of Article I, Section 3 or the corresponding “ha ha, not kidding this time” clause that kicks in in the event of a tie. It’s probably not until the fifth or sixth grade that they learn about the hidden clause in Article II that assigns some unspecified executive roles to the Vice President (aside from waiting around for the President to die, be impeached or otherwise become incapacitated – inert “duties” which could just as easily deem the Speaker of the House, the Senate president pro tem, or anyone else in the presidential succession an “executive” as well).
But does she know that when Lyndon Johnson, transformed by the 1960 election from Senate majority leader into vice president, ventured to the Capitol to attend the Democratic senators’ weekly policy luncheon, the new majority leader, Montana’s Mike Mansfield, supported by his caucus, barred him because his presence would be a derogation of the Senate’s autonomy?
I didn’t know that myself, but then again, like Sarah P. I haven’t downed enough Georgetown cocktails to understand what part of the Constitution allows the Senate majority leader (a nonexistent position from a constitutional perspective) to overrule the “President” of the Senate, who in turn is forbidden to “preside” over anything until and unless a tie arises among the votes while someone else was “presiding.” And I’m not even sure I want to ask how many Georgetown cocktails I’d have to imbibe to understand how the “President pro tem” of anything could outrank its “President.” And I guess you’ll have to wait for the hangover before even asking why Vice President Lyndon Johnson even tried to attend a Senate luncheon if he too didn’t have the crazy notion that being “president” of something makes you part of it.
Perhaps Palin’s confusion about the office for which she is auditioning comes from listening to its current occupant. Dick Cheney, the foremost practitioner of this administration’s constitutional carelessness in aggrandizing executive power, regularly attends the Senate Republicans’ Tuesday luncheons. He has said jocularly that he is “a product” of the Senate, which pays his salary, and that he has no “official duties” in the executive branch.
All of which is true, but never mind that. They don’t talk about this stuff at Georgetown cocktail parties, so apparently it does not exist.
His situational constitutionalism has, however, led him to assert, when claiming exemption from a particular executive order, that he is a member of the legislative branch and, when seeking to shield certain of his deliberations from legislative inquiry, to say that he is a member of the executive branch.
Well, sure, but that kind of goes with the territory of simultaneously being “President of the Senate” by virtue of the Vice Presidency and an executive by virtue of membership in the Cabinet. If Will has a problem with that, he should be arguing, as Reynolds does, that all members of Congress including the Vice President should be forbidden to serve in the Cabinet or to work as an agent of the Executive Branch in any way. Congress can pass that law any time they want. But until they do, no law forbids anyone to wear both hats, and in fact a longstanding tradition of having Vice Presidents serve in Cabinets all but compels them to. If that doesn’t suit Will and his fellow de facto Democrats, then I’m afraid that’s just damnum absque injuria.