Monday, October 22, 2007

Credit Where Its Due

Just when I think he has become just another hack for the Right Wing, George Will writes a column that makes complete sense (save one small section - more later) and makes me remember he is better than Fred Barnes.

The Line-Item Veto is a joke. It assumes that the President is above politics and political trading. How's that assumption working? As Will says in his column:

After a century of the growth of presidential power and after eight years of especially aggressive assertions of presidential prerogatives, it would be unseemly to intensify this tendency with a line-item veto.
Let's hope George Will can change the minds of his conservative compatriots.

Which brings me to the one section of Will's column that I think is misleading. He says: The
line-item veto expresses liberalism's faith in top-down government and the watery Caesarism that has produced today's inflated presidency. Liberalism assumes that executive branch experts, free from parochial constituencies, know, as Congress does not, what is good for the nation "as a whole." This is contrary to the public philosophy of James Madison's "extensive" republic with its many regions and myriad interests.
I'm not sure if he means to use "liberalism" in the classic philosophical sense, or the modern political one. If the latter, he should note that his own natural allies have been the biggest proponents of the line-item veto, as his own column suggests. If he is using "liberalism" in the philosophical sense, I think Will is smart enough to know that most readers would wrongly assume he means "liberalism" in the political sense. In other words, Will is either wrong on facts, or is misleading his readers.

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