The Big Lobotomy

Credit: Amy Swan

Why would conservative lawmakers decimate the staff and organizational capacity of an institution they themselves control? Part of it is political optics: What better way to show the conservative voters back home that you’re serious about shrinking government than by cutting your own staff? But a bigger reason is strategic. The Gingrich Revolutionaries of 1995 and the Tea Partiers of 2011 share the same basic dream: to defund and dismantle the vast complex of agencies and programs that have been created by bipartisan majorities since the New Deal. The people in Congress who knew those agencies and programs best and were most invested in making them work—the professional staffers, the CRS analysts, the veteran committee chairs—were not going to consent to seeing them swept away. So they had to be swept away.

to continue …

The first effect is an outsourcing of policy development. Much of the research, number crunching, and legislative wordsmithing that used to be done by Capitol Hill staffers working for the government is now being done by outside experts, many of them former Hill staffers, working for lobbying firms, think tanks, consultancies, trade associations, and PR outfits. This has strengthened the already-powerful hand of corporate interests in shaping legislation, and given conservative groups an added measure of influence over Congress, as the shutdown itself illustrates.

Read more at the Washington Monthly

Categories: Politics

8 replies

  1. Great in depth article. I need to read it a second time.
    At first plush, my thoughts went to President Obama, who was a Senator, and saw some of this first hand.
    I beleive that he has throughout his presidency not let Congress off the hook by doing their job for them. In his own way, he has higlighted the dysfunction and the inablilty of Republcian controlled House to tackle complex policy . This aritcle reveals the reasons and their historcal roots.

    Good to see you again StoryArtist

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks, and good to see you again with your new makeover! I kept this in my browser to come back and re-read, or finish reading, as each paragraph feels like a separate article, all strung together makes stunning reading.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Unless we can get these leaders out of office, it is possible they will accomplish their goal.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I admire the design of power sharing of institutions in US and I figure it the example I dream to see in my country
    You will not know what you have US voters untill you lose it
    First it’s outsourcing of policy development then firms will replace Congress!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Nice post, storyartist. Two paragraphs, and I am totally intrigued by an article that I have yet to read. And the graphic…How could any liberal not love that image of those three stooges?

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I spent a good part of the day at work, when I was stuck at my desk without too much to do, staring at this article. This is an outstanding seed, storyartist, and one of the best things that I’ve read in a while.

    It’s a long, long piece–I’m only about half of the way through it–but it’s a solid, scholarly piece of writing about American political history. Well worth taking the time to read.

    I agree with lakeview. This is an article that requires at least two readings.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I don’t always make good argument because I perceive like a movie director by following action, rather than a screenwriter following spoken words. In politics, the emphasis to follow is on the spoken word, and quotes, whereas my instincts follow why you’d say that rather than what you said.

      Therefore, an article like this one, explaining reasoning behind actions, is exactly what teaches me. It reminds me of when I first learned how the Southern Strategy was formed, and how it worked its way thru decades of politics and is still there today, even perpetuated (on MSNBC no less) by one its creators, Pat Buchanan. Once you understand the architecture of why that structure is in place, then the words are obvious of their purpose.

      Liked by 5 people

      • You phrased my thoughts better than I would do storyartist, I expound my thoughts better in my first language.
        For the first look I said to myself the same thing mentioned more than one time in comments ‘I need to read this piece another time’
        It is not like any article I’ve read lately, you are like taken by the writer to think during reading and you feel curiosity to get to the point in his mind yourself

        Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: