The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, August 15, 2005

The non-aggression pact in Congressional politics

A phenomenon I suspect is more widespread than the single instance of Nevada's US Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign.

On the face of it, it rather makes a mockery of the much-touted fifty state strategy of the Democrats. (Though I'm more than open to the suggestion that one ought not to take it on its face. What elements of bluff and double-bluff there are, I know not.)

But the idea that ostensible political opponents are in practice not as opposed as all that is hardly novel. We have, after all, the infamous US House ethics truce (much discussed here).

The working of the Senate (so dependent on unanimous consent agreements) could effectively be stymied by a scorched earth policy of a determined group of senators prepared to see their logs go unrolled forever thereafter.

(Dems are always popping up at USG photo-ops when some juicy piece of pork is being unveiled, or pandering bill is being signed.

And then there are those one-off bipartisan couplings like the Hillary-Newt health care team-up.)

There's the old gag about the novice British minister being taken through his paces at the despatch box by a more experienced, if not wiser, colleague. The Boy Wonder gleefully confesses his keenness to come face to face with the enemy.

"Those in front of you are the opposition. The enemy will be behind you."

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