Matt Is Still Making Excuses (So Are You)

Matt Stoller and I, years ago, used to talk a fair bit on policy in the political realm. We have rather different views that could be reasonably-characterized by some “left:right”, but I think are more “socialist:libertarian”, when you get down to it.
But that’s all well and good, if you can confine your differences to policy and try to hash out how the government can function more-efficiently, which I think everyone can define as provides more benefit than it costs to a larger percentage of the population.
Of course we’ll differ on what defines “benefit” and “cost.”
The problem is that unlike my perspective on what happened, which hasn’t changed very much in quite a long time, Matt’s is basically the same perspective both the “right” and “left” hold. Here’s his perspective on where the Democrats went wrong:
It was January 1975, and the Watergate Babies had arrived in Washington looking for blood. The Watergate Babies – as the recently elected Democratic congressmen were known – were young, idealistic liberals who had been swept into office on a promise to clean up government, end the war in Vietnam, and rid the nation’s capital of the kind of corruption and dirty politics the Nixon White House had wrought. Richard Nixon himself had resigned just a few months earlier in August. But the Watergate Babies didn’t just campaign against Nixon; they took on the Democratic establishment, too. Newly elected Representative George Miller of California, then just 29 years old, announced, ‘We came here to take the Bastille.’
One of their first targets was an old man from Texarkana: a former cotton tenant farmer named Wright Patman who had served in Congress since 1929. He was also the chairman of the U. S. House Committee on Banking and Currency and had been for more than a decade. Antiwar liberal reformers realized that the key to power in Congress was through the committee system; being the chairman of a powerful committee meant having control over the flow of legislation. The problem was: Chairmen were selected based on their length of service. So liberal reformers already in office, buttressed by the Watergate Babies’ votes, demanded that the committee chairmen be picked by a full Democratic-caucus vote instead.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-11-24.

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