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Saxman: McCarthy, Scalia, and Scruton – Oh My!

This week’s book recommendation – The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left [1] – excellent, timely read even though it was published in 2014.

And we’re back…

  1. The purpose of this newsletter is to analyze and educate on American politics. Having served in the Virginia House for eight years, I had a front row seat in how our democratic republic functions. With that in mind, I offer the following…
  2. “… the key to the distinctiveness of America is the structure of our government…” Antonin Scalia


  3. Scalia notes several factors in our “distinctiveness” – a) an independent judiciary b) a bicameral legislature with power equally divided; however, he does not touch on c) the two party system which has dominated American politics for well over 150 years.
  4. From an essay in The Atlantic [3] comes this reminder on our “distinctiveness”

    The Framers divided the legislative branch into two houses, requiring deliberative processes within each house to pass a bill in each; and then a deliberative process between the two houses to settle on a bill that both could pass; and, finally, a deliberative process for the president to sign their bill or for congressional supermajorities to overcome his veto. This process is possible only if the participants are capable of deliberation, persuasion, compromise, and consensus. It requires a patient willingness to abide by procedures and rules even when they do not deliver one’s own preferred outcome in a given legislative fight—lest the legislative process devolve into total war, with political factions “destroying and devouring one another.”

  5. Having spoken with several Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives this week, I am encouraged that cooler heads will prevail – eventually. The Democrats, on the other hand, will still be laughing at the early Christmas present.
  6. Their frustration is at a fever pitch since they all agree that the House was getting so many things that they had run on – done. As a result, they all questioned the timing of the McCarthy Toppling. Begs the question – if things were going so well, why are so many (or enough) in the GOP base so unaware that they supported this effort.? Because of either a bad communications strategy or the fact that their base is so trained to the negative. #ProbablyBoth
  7. When the Republicans calm down, they will elect a new speaker. Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan are the front runners. They will return to passing legislation in a far weaker position and Senate Democrats know that. Obviously. #HouseDivided
  8. The Senate will win the budget negotiations between the two chambers. It will take more time, a shutdown will loom, and eventually it will be an omnibus bill. Yes, again… The new House speaker will send – the now more likely omnibus bill – to the floor for final approval. Enough House Democrats will support it and our “distinctiveness”will continue.
  9. Several phrases for your consideration:

    a. this is why we can’t have nice things

    b. large, complex systems reward small change (h/t David Mills)

    c. we didn’t get into this situation overnight and we ain’t getting out of it that quickly either

  10. From Roger Scruton’s book How To Be A Conservative [4] :

    Whatever our religion and our private convictions, we are the collective inheritors of things both excellent and rare, and political life, for us, ought to have one overriding goal, which is to hold fast to those things, in order to pass them on to our children.


    You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Rolling Stones


Revolution – Beatles (lyrics important here)



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