On Tuesday I’ll drive from Chicago up to Sauk City, Wisconsin, to do voter protection, that is, pollwatching while holding a law degree. Wisconsin historically has offered exceptionally inclusive voter access, including in-precinct same-day registration. But one of the many delightful consequences of the Republican takeover of the state is a photo-i.d. law which isn’t supposed to take effect til the first of the year but is unclear enough to make for messy election days–precisely what the sponsors intended. So I’ll go up there and do what I can to make sure everybody can vote, and hope that the selfsame “everybody” will throw the anti-collective-bargaining rascals out.
(Last weekend at the Bughouse Square debates–the Newberry Library’s annual effort to restore the fine art of soapbox speaking–the central topic was public-sector collective bargaining. The young man speaking in opposition wore a Solidarity t-shirt as he argued that “public employee collective bargaining inserts needless conflict between citizen and citizen.” Does he realize that Solidarity was a public-sector union?)
I’m going to Wisconsin because it’s a political situation about which I can do something–contra the whole debt-ceiling mess, about which I can do absolutely nothing. I disagree with my colleagues on the left who think the President got backed into a corner on the debt ceiling because he’s weak. He got backed into a corner because he’s actually trying to govern and the people he’s dealing with are not.
When the President was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, skeptics wondered what he could possibly have done to deserve it. It seemed pretty straightforward to me: his election meant the restoration of constitutional government in the world’s only superpower. What could be more essential to peace?
Unfortunately, the Constitution had been damaged more than most of us realized, and merely electing a President didn’t guarantee its restoration–not when anti-government idealogues control the legislature and the judiciary. All the finger-pointing on the left ignores the extent to which the right is engaging in the deliberate destruction of our governmental system.
The idea that people who hate government are controlling ours is actually more frightening than the notion that the President somehow betrayed us by averting a default. The scary thing is, he did as much as he could.