Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Government by Bureaucrat

Michael Barone, in usual excellent fashion, excerpts an interview with James Risen, the New York Times reporter that broke the NSA wiretap story. As Barone says, "He presents an interesting theory of governance."

Risen makes it quite clear how he thinks the government should be run. Elected officials like the president and vice president and top presidential appointees should sit quietly in their chairs. They should not meet, at least not very often. They should wait for career government employees—"the experts who understand the region"—to "forge a consensus." Policy should always be kept "toward the center," regardless of what the American people or their elected president think.
So that is the New York Times's idea, or at least this New York Times reporter's idea, of how democratic representative government should work. Unelected bureaucrats should rule. If the policies produced by their understanding of the region should produce September 11, they should still rule. Elected officials' jobs are to sit in their chairs, to meet infrequently if at all, and to accept the decisions of the unelected and for the most part unremovable bureaucrats.

Its not all that surprising. We already know that the left favors judicial activism, the very antithesis of Alito's feeling that a judge should have no agenda. Why not bureaucratic legislation? Entrenched bureaucracies cost money and are part of why we failed to anticipate an event like 9/11. Risen's sentiments are undemocratic, and frighten me much more than any wire-tap ever has.


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