Wednesday, March 14, 2012

President Persuader

    In "The Unpersuaded" Ezra Klein says that recent history proves a President can't successfully persuade the people of anything, and a President trying to persuade Congress is worse than useless: when the other party knows what the President and his party wants they will make sure he can't get it and so is seen to be a loser, which apparently is the highest imperative of our politicians.

Another article published this month by the same writer ("Our Corrupt Politics") says that among the people few care very much about policies anyway, not nearly enough of them to do anything about it.

Put together, we have a President who can't persuade the people or Congress, and a people won't do anything anyway if they can't be persuaded that the President's (and Congress') policies are good.

If persuasion doesn't work for Presidents with Congress or the people, and the people don't care even if they are not persuaded, let us remember that when persuasion fails there is still action of the form that doesn't stop for persuasion and permission. I mean the creative interpretation and application of laws.

Reinterpretation of law works both ways. We are accustomed to creative interpretation being used only to worsen society: redefinition of torture as not torture, the Patriot Act's cancellation of First Amendment rights, the Supreme Court's decisions allowing money to flow freely to politicians and declaring corporations to be people....

But what stops a President, who can't persuade the Congress, and need not justify anything to the people who don't care if they're persuaded or not,- what stops a President from creative interpretation of the laws for the sake of doing good, and then acting on that interpretation to do good?

It could be a piece of luck that no one can be persuaded of anything or cares one way or another.