Thursday, December 19, 2002

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REMEMBER THE SEPARATION OF POWERS: InstaPundit approvingly links to this Ken Layne post on the Bush administration's apparent sluggishness in showing Lott the door:

"Bush smacked Lott pretty good -- again, it was too late -- but Bush is the president. If he wanted Lott gone last week, Lott would be gone. Come election time, the Bush team will be making daily excuses about why they took so long to take down the old racist. All of Bush's efforts to make his party welcoming to all races -- and I believe he's sincere about it -- will be worthless if he doesn't at least force Lott to resign the leadership.

I've lived and worked in D.C., and I realize the place is deeply out of touch with the rest of the country."

Fair point? Not really. I'll concede that when Bush made his speech a week ago, I also wanted him to more forthrightly show Lott the door. However, upon reflection, I'm coming to believe that he's walking a very slippery tightrope here. The big constraint Bush faces is precisely the fact that he's the President and not a Senator. The separate branches of government guard their institutional prerogatives very carefully -- this is why the Executive branch goes bonkers every time Congress tries to act like an engine of foreign policy. If Bush tries to stick his nose too much into how the Senate, or even Republican Senators, organize their own affairs, it could trigger a backlash of support for Lott. I suspect what Bush and Rove are trying to pull off is a way for the members of the Republican caucus to oust Lott without feeling the heavy hand of the White House pushing them. Hence Ari Fleischer's daily tap dance.

I could be wrong and Ken right. But the Lottroversy could be a harbinger of the institutional conflicts that will emerge over the next two years between a Republican executive branch that is in touch with the rest of the country, and a Republican legislature that is more concerned with feeding the special interest beasts.

posted by Dan on 12.19.02 at 08:27 PM


We don't want all the power in too few hands.

posted by: dave on 12.19.02 at 08:27 PM [permalink]

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