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View Diary: James Fallows: We must "muddle through" (25 comments)

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  •  I actually disagree with Fallows here (2+ / 0-)
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    subtropolis, Magnifico

    What has happened is what happens to a lot of older houses: The curb appearance is carefully preserved, but the interior is radically changed, and additions sprout hither and yon, but rarely on the front of the house.

    The Executive Branch is now bloated. The National Secrecy State (NSA, CIA, DEA, DHS, others) is now so vast and powerful that nobody knows everything it's doing and nobody really controls it, either. CIA functions stateside with impunity, despite laws against its doing so. DoD is hopelessly conjoined with, and dependent on, private defense contractors, who now influence our national defense (and offense) strategies so that they can use whatever lucrative new toy just came out of R&D. And Republican presidents have long since learned that you don't get rid of agencies you don't like, you just starve them and staff them with people who don't believe in their mission.

    Congress is functionally the same, but the efficacy of party discipline, combined with the filibuster (not an original rule) being abused constantly, has twisted the Senate's incremental favoring of minority voices into a California-style paralysis (the parallel to California, long a conservative test bed, is not accidental).

    The judiciary is superficially the same, but now there are actually Supreme Court justices who are overt monarchists or totalitarians who don't believe that a democratic republican can or should work. There are legions of like-minded radicals stacked in lower courts, as well.

    The Fed is still stacked with Randroid true believers who are just sure that one more application of fairy dust is all the economy really needs to get moving—at least, the very narrow part of the economy that they care about.

    Grover Norquist has succeeded in his goal of making politics partisan and ugly and mean in order to promote gridlock.

    In short, the Powers That Be have realized that the American system can't be overtly changed because the American people love it too much. But it can be gamed, and how. I don't think FDR would recognize it, even though every beam of the superstructure he would recognize is still there.

    Deoliver47 was right, and she deserves an apology.

    by James Robinson on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 09:41:42 AM PST

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