October 4, 2013  ·  Lessig  · Reblogged from  Tumblr

In The Daily Beast, I lamented a certain political innovation of the GOP (fearful the Dems would then copy it and it would become SOP). Some have questioned whether indeed there is any innovation here. But I was careful in crafting my essay to make the turns necessary to distinguish this example from past examples. 

In my view, the elements in the current game are first a grave threat (“the likely default on United States debt [which] could be catastrophic”) and second, the “forc[ing of] changes in existing law when it can’t with honesty say that it represents a majority”

These two parts work together: Maybe grave threats are fine in the name of an obvious or clear majority; maybe minority holdouts are fine when they don’t risk grave threats (It’s one thing to pretend to fire a handgun; it’s quite a different thing to pretend to fire a handgun on a jet 30,000 in the air.) My claim is that these two together are an “innovation.” 

That is different from saying that “non-budget items have never been attached to the debt ceiling.” And it’s obvious different from saying we’ve never had a shut down. Indeed, since 1976 those have been quite common.

The “innovation” is not the shut down, or even the demand: It is demand like this (without a claim to majority support) threatening a harm like this (default). 

(Original post on Tumblr)

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gaVIYKaNnQ&feature yassin

    Thank you for your effort

  • Gwen Kinsey

    #powerofthepurse democracy. Who’s pulling the purse strings? “We felt very strongly at the start of this year that the House needed to use the power of the purse,” said one coalition member, Michael A. Needham, who runs Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/us/a-federal-budget-crisis-months-in-the-planning.html?hp