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home : insight & opinion : guest columns
April 2, 2020

12/26/2019 10:55:00 AM
'Good faith' absent in D.C. debates
For the Daily News

Your grandfather's watch, while primitive and dated now, worked well in its day and was the contemporary pinnacle of well-organized interrelations. It is not beyond our understanding, but we would have a difficult time taking it apart and putting it back together.

A decent respect for what it does and how it does it is needed for it to continue to function as intended. Its complicated, but comprehensible. Battery-powered quartz plastic watches replaced it and do a better job of timekeeping, so why bother with it anyway?

That view is problematic of our society. Tradition is too quickly cast aside in the name of expedience. A recent political demonstration is being acted out in the pissing contest in Washington. Rather than considering "What's best for the country?" the party concern for both sides has become "How can I win this?"

The unconventional president has forced us to understand that a person who cares nothing for precedent can bluster his way forward with a great deal more unfettered discretion than previously thought possible. Actually he is not the creator of the idea, just the current embodiment. If there is no law against it, clearly spelling out its prohibition, then he assumes he can do it if it suits his purposes.

We can disagree about whether his purposes are ours, but all of us have to admit that the process is revealing some fundamental flaws in the way things work. Presidents are supposed to get to nominate federal officials for instance, including Judges and Supreme Court Justices.  He nominates and the Senate confirms after determining their fitness.

That was probably intended to mean ability to understand and apply the law, but in the Republican leadership's view it meant that there could be no new federal judges without the hearings. That little cog in the machinery of the mechanism of our government was enlarged to a "right of the people" to block all nominees from a president of the party not in power in the Senate by not scheduling any at all.

They justified this new take on an old, existing perfunctory function by saying the founding fathers could have said it otherwise had they wished and didn't, so Mitch and his party now claim they are just defending the Constitution.

Baloney. They have clogged up the works and they know it. Just saying what you are doing is the will of the people doesn't make it so. Fast forward to the tail wagging this dog and you find the Speaker of the House holding articles of impeachment. There can be no trial unless and until she presents them to the Senate. There is no rule or law that says when she has to do this. Is she, too, just defending the Constitution?

In law, these are contract disputes. Good faith and fair dealing used to be an implied term of every contract. That is no longer true, apparently if we're talking about the Constitution.

An election is coming. The President has realized that some show of accomplishment is required to stay in office. He's begun to compromise to get that done. He can only do so much without the House of Representatives, and its becoming clear whatever that is won't be enough.

I hear ticking. Is the old Silver Dollar mechanical counterbalanced idea still valid in a digital Bitcoin world? Tick tock - we'll see.

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