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Yesterday, New Jerseyans had to pay $24 million to avoid spoiling Chris Christie’s coronation elect Cory Booker. An expense that would have been completely unnecessary had he called the election for three weeks later. That is truly scandalous, unjustifiable, and ought to be a hugely damaging scandal to the alleged penny-pinching fiscal conservative governor, but polls show that he’s still going to win a landslide and basically nobody cares.

Also, earlier this year, Massachusetts voters had to spend at least $13.5 million to elect Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate. At least that time, there was no possibility of doing it differently due to how state election law worked. However, that isn’t to say that that law isn’t stupid.

This is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but I really do think the practice of holding a snap special election after a Senate vacancy is a practice that makes no sense, has no Constitutional foundation, and is extremely and needlessly expensive. The Constitution proscribes gubernatorial appointment of a successor until the next general election, which is a reasonable choice IMO. Admittedly in the case of New Jersey, this would have meant another year of a placeholder Republican senator. (It would also have meant another year of 60 Democratic Senate votes in 2010 without this silly practice, so these things balance out I suppose.) However, I fail to see what public purpose is served by these special elections. Is it an affront to Democracy that a U.S. Senator would serve for a year and a half without being elected? How so, given that the Senate is already highly undemocratic itself? What’s the principle here? What’s the point?

Of course, the specific circumstances do say much in both of the above cases. Massachusetts tied itself up in knots trying to keep Mitt Romney from picking John Kerry’s replacement should he have been elected in 2004, and rather than just revert to the classic, Constitutional model, the state is typically (for Democrats) very concerned about looking opportunistic. So by fits and starts it adopted a profoundly silly system in which there’s a gubernatorial appointment for six months, followed by a special election in which the appointee cannot run. New Jersey held theirs because Chris Christie wanted a blowout win and is deeply pathetic (and not well informed, considering how abysmally low turnout was for Booker, a candidate who inspires little excitement from the Democratic base). But some states don’t allow for any kind of appointment at all, like Texas, and hold an immediate special election upon a Senate vacancy. Just imagine how much greater the expense would be than either of the other states if this were to happen! It’s ridiculous, and the entire practice ought to be banned. Obviously, this is something that would place in the low twenties of the top 25 basic structural reforms of government we should do, but it is something we should do.

Lev filed this under: ,  

Yesterday, New Jerseyans had to pay $24 million to avoid spoiling Chris Christie’s coronation elect Cory Booker. An expense that would have been completely unnecessary had he called the election for three weeks later. That is truly scandalous, unjustifiable, and ought to be a hugely damaging scandal to the alleged penny-pinching fiscal conservative governor, but polls show that he’s still going to win a landslide and basically nobody cares.

Also, earlier this year, Massachusetts voters had to spend at least $13.5 million to elect Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate. At least that time, there was no possibility of doing it differently due to how state election law worked. However, that isn’t to say that that law isn’t stupid.

This is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but I really do think the practice of holding a snap special election after a Senate vacancy is a practice that makes no sense, has no Constitutional foundation, and is extremely and needlessly expensive. The Constitution proscribes gubernatorial appointment of a successor until the next general election, which is a reasonable choice IMO. Admittedly in the case of New Jersey, this would have meant another year of a placeholder Republican senator. (It would also have meant another year of 60 Democratic Senate votes in 2010 without this silly practice, so these things balance out I suppose.) However, I fail to see what public purpose is served by these special elections. Is it an affront to Democracy that a U.S. Senator would serve for a year and a half without being elected? How so, given that the Senate is already highly undemocratic itself? What’s the principle here? What’s the point?

Of course, the specific circumstances do say much in both of the above cases. Massachusetts tied itself up in knots trying to keep Mitt Romney from picking John Kerry’s replacement should he have been elected in 2004, and rather than just revert to the classic, Constitutional model, the state is typically (for Democrats) very concerned about looking opportunistic. So by fits and starts it adopted a profoundly silly system in which there’s a gubernatorial appointment for six months, followed by a special election in which the appointee cannot run. New Jersey held theirs because Chris Christie wanted a blowout win and is deeply pathetic (and not well informed, considering how abysmally low turnout was for Booker, a candidate who inspires little excitement from the Democratic base). But some states don’t allow for any kind of appointment at all, like Texas, and hold an immediate special election upon a Senate vacancy. Just imagine how much greater the expense would be than either of the other states if this were to happen! It’s ridiculous, and the entire practice ought to be banned. Obviously, this is something that would place in the low twenties of the top 25 basic structural reforms of government we should do, but it is something we should do.

Lev filed this under: ,  

Yesterday, New Jerseyans had to pay $24 million to avoid spoiling Chris Christie’s coronation elect Cory Booker. An expense that would have been completely unnecessary had he called the election for three weeks later. That is truly scandalous, unjustifiable, and ought to be a hugely damaging scandal to the alleged penny-pinching fiscal conservative governor, but polls show that he’s still going to win a landslide and basically nobody cares.

Also, earlier this year, Massachusetts voters had to spend at least $13.5 million to elect Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate. At least that time, there was no possibility of doing it differently due to how state election law worked. However, that isn’t to say that that law isn’t stupid.

This is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but I really do think the practice of holding a snap special election after a Senate vacancy is a practice that makes no sense, has no Constitutional foundation, and is extremely and needlessly expensive. The Constitution proscribes gubernatorial appointment of a successor until the next general election, which is a reasonable choice IMO. Admittedly in the case of New Jersey, this would have meant another year of a placeholder Republican senator. (It would also have meant another year of 60 Democratic Senate votes in 2010 without this silly practice, so these things balance out I suppose.) However, I fail to see what public purpose is served by these special elections. Is it an affront to Democracy that a U.S. Senator would serve for a year and a half without being elected? How so, given that the Senate is already highly undemocratic itself? What’s the principle here? What’s the point?

Of course, the specific circumstances do say much in both of the above cases. Massachusetts tied itself up in knots trying to keep Mitt Romney from picking John Kerry’s replacement should he have been elected in 2004, and rather than just revert to the classic, Constitutional model, the state is typically (for Democrats) very concerned about looking opportunistic. So by fits and starts it adopted a profoundly silly system in which there’s a gubernatorial appointment for six months, followed by a special election in which the appointee cannot run. New Jersey held theirs because Chris Christie wanted a blowout win and is deeply pathetic (and not well informed, considering how abysmally low turnout was for Booker, a candidate who inspires little excitement from the Democratic base). But some states don’t allow for any kind of appointment at all, like Texas, and hold an immediate special election upon a Senate vacancy. Just imagine how much greater the expense would be than either of the other states if this were to happen! It’s ridiculous, and the entire practice ought to be banned. Obviously, this is something that would place in the low twenties of the top 25 basic structural reforms of government we should do, but it is something we should do.

Lev filed this under: ,  

Yesterday, New Jerseyans had to pay $24 million to avoid spoiling Chris Christie’s coronation elect Cory Booker. An expense that would have been completely unnecessary had he called the election for three weeks later. That is truly scandalous, unjustifiable, and ought to be a hugely damaging scandal to the alleged penny-pinching fiscal conservative governor, but polls show that he’s still going to win a landslide and basically nobody cares.

Also, earlier this year, Massachusetts voters had to spend at least $13.5 million to elect Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate. At least that time, there was no possibility of doing it differently due to how state election law worked. However, that isn’t to say that that law isn’t stupid.

This is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but I really do think the practice of holding a snap special election after a Senate vacancy is a practice that makes no sense, has no Constitutional foundation, and is extremely and needlessly expensive. The Constitution proscribes gubernatorial appointment of a successor until the next general election, which is a reasonable choice IMO. Admittedly in the case of New Jersey, this would have meant another year of a placeholder Republican senator. (It would also have meant another year of 60 Democratic Senate votes in 2010 without this silly practice, so these things balance out I suppose.) However, I fail to see what public purpose is served by these special elections. Is it an affront to Democracy that a U.S. Senator would serve for a year and a half without being elected? How so, given that the Senate is already highly undemocratic itself? What’s the principle here? What’s the point?

Of course, the specific circumstances do say much in both of the above cases. Massachusetts tied itself up in knots trying to keep Mitt Romney from picking John Kerry’s replacement should he have been elected in 2004, and rather than just revert to the classic, Constitutional model, the state is typically (for Democrats) very concerned about looking opportunistic. So by fits and starts it adopted a profoundly silly system in which there’s a gubernatorial appointment for six months, followed by a special election in which the appointee cannot run. New Jersey held theirs because Chris Christie wanted a blowout win and is deeply pathetic (and not well informed, considering how abysmally low turnout was for Booker, a candidate who inspires little excitement from the Democratic base). But some states don’t allow for any kind of appointment at all, like Texas, and hold an immediate special election upon a Senate vacancy. Just imagine how much greater the expense would be than either of the other states if this were to happen! It’s ridiculous, and the entire practice ought to be banned. Obviously, this is something that would place in the low twenties of the top 25 basic structural reforms of government we should do, but it is something we should do.

Lev filed this under: ,  

Yesterday, New Jerseyans had to pay $24 million to avoid spoiling Chris Christie’s coronation elect Cory Booker. An expense that would have been completely unnecessary had he called the election for three weeks later. That is truly scandalous, unjustifiable, and ought to be a hugely damaging scandal to the alleged penny-pinching fiscal conservative governor, but polls show that he’s still going to win a landslide and basically nobody cares.

Also, earlier this year, Massachusetts voters had to spend at least $13.5 million to elect Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate. At least that time, there was no possibility of doing it differently due to how state election law worked. However, that isn’t to say that that law isn’t stupid.

This is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but I really do think the practice of holding a snap special election after a Senate vacancy is a practice that makes no sense, has no Constitutional foundation, and is extremely and needlessly expensive. The Constitution proscribes gubernatorial appointment of a successor until the next general election, which is a reasonable choice IMO. Admittedly in the case of New Jersey, this would have meant another year of a placeholder Republican senator. (It would also have meant another year of 60 Democratic Senate votes in 2010 without this silly practice, so these things balance out I suppose.) However, I fail to see what public purpose is served by these special elections. Is it an affront to Democracy that a U.S. Senator would serve for a year and a half without being elected? How so, given that the Senate is already highly undemocratic itself? What’s the principle here? What’s the point?

Of course, the specific circumstances do say much in both of the above cases. Massachusetts tied itself up in knots trying to keep Mitt Romney from picking John Kerry’s replacement should he have been elected in 2004, and rather than just revert to the classic, Constitutional model, the state is typically (for Democrats) very concerned about looking opportunistic. So by fits and starts it adopted a profoundly silly system in which there’s a gubernatorial appointment for six months, followed by a special election in which the appointee cannot run. New Jersey held theirs because Chris Christie wanted a blowout win and is deeply pathetic (and not well informed, considering how abysmally low turnout was for Booker, a candidate who inspires little excitement from the Democratic base). But some states don’t allow for any kind of appointment at all, like Texas, and hold an immediate special election upon a Senate vacancy. Just imagine how much greater the expense would be than either of the other states if this were to happen! It’s ridiculous, and the entire practice ought to be banned. Obviously, this is something that would place in the low twenties of the top 25 basic structural reforms of government we should do, but it is something we should do.

Lev filed this under: ,  

bb

Obviously better than crumbling under the pressure like Democrats usually do. Hey, they do this a few more times, Democrats might even become respected and feared. Maybe.

Needless to say, though, this doesn’t really make right Obama’s prior decision not to stand firm on the debt ceiling. While it’s possible that Republicans will be less enthusiastic about jacking us up over the debt ceiling again, the damage–3% of GDP–is already done due to crises which all trace back to the first debt ceiling skirmish, not to mention the damage done by sequestration which might well make it more. Obama does not deserve all the blame for this. However, it’s impossible not to award him a large share of it, given what we know of the process that led to the standoff–in short, dumb political calculation and poor impressions of their opposition. It obviously remains to be seen whether the debt ceiling will subside and once again become a boring quirk of our system, and if it does, then it will offer some measure of redemption for Obama on this matter. But only some.

It’s fair to say that the president has learned from this particular mistake and is now doing the right thing. Unfortunately, there’s simply no way of reversing many of the effects of the initial mistake absent a silver DeLorean and Christopher Lloyd. It’s good and all that Obama didn’t compound his earlier mistake, but trusting Boehner and negotiating over the debt ceiling still stands as the biggest blunder of his first term, and I’m quite certain that history will eventually record it that way.

Lev filed this under: , ,  

224b1e90979b012f2fe400163e41dd5bSo it looks like we’re already falling off the cliff and most of us haven’t noticed yet:

The global faith in US institutions has already been undermined. The mechanism by which catastrophe would arise has already been set into motion. And as a result, economic growth in both the US and the rest of the world will be lower than it should be. Unemployment will be higher. Social unrest will be more destructive. These things aren’t as bad now as they would be if we actually got to a point of payment default. …

While debt default is undoubtedly the worst of all possible worlds, then, the bonkers level of Washington dysfunction on display right now is nearly as bad. Every day that goes past is a day where trust and faith in the US government is evaporating — and once it has evaporated, it will never return. The Republicans in the House have already managed to inflict significant, lasting damage to the US and the global economy — even if they were to pass a completely clean bill tomorrow morning, which they won’t. The default has already started, and is already causing real harm. The only question is how much worse it’s going to get.

Not like anyone that reads this blog actually believes that the Republican deficit peacocks in Washington actually give a shit about the deficit, but it’s worth pointing out that, surprise!, when the economy tanks, deficits skyrocket.

National-Deficit

Will that in mind, all that self-righteous, pearl-clutching hand-wringing about us drowning our children in debt is pretty funny.  In the most morbid sort of way.

h/t Sullivan

 

 

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