I have been reading John Adams by David McCullough at the same time this debate in Congress over the debt ceiling and spending cuts has occurred. What strikes me is that democracy is messy. It is today and it was in 1789 when John Adams was Vice President and oversaw the Senate. The first act of Congress? Deciding how to address the President. It took the better part of the first month to decide the simple “President of the United States” was good enough and set the tone for Congress for the next 230 years. Why would we expect the current Congress to be any better than the original?
One of the problems, I believe, with modern society is we too often see how the sausage is made. 24 hour TV news and the rush of the Internet make this possible.
I think what we are experiencing in Congress today is probably more the norm over the past two hundred plus years than the exception. Maybe the positions have hardened and what qualifies for brinksmanship has changed, but generally making sausage is an ugly process. And that is exactly what the Founding Fathers wanted with this republic. Passing laws isn’t supposed to be easy. Putting over 600 people together and saying come up with a solution means 600 differing ideas that all have to be worked out.
When government moves quickly, that is the time we should be worried, not when it moves slowly, because when government moves quickly differing opinions are never heard, issues are never worked out, a solution (like TARP, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) is railroaded through the process without consideration.