I’ve recently started reading my second biography of Calvin Coolidge. The more I read and learn about him, the more he climbs up my list of personal presidential favorites. He was a man of few words which he turned into an asset. As a lawyer and legislator, clients and constituents alike valued his brevity.
That trait carried though to his political ideology, once famously advising his father, who had just been elected to state-wide office in his own state of Vermont:
“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”
Some might argue that’s a rather pessimistic way to legislate. However, when a government already has thousands of laws on the books, why wouldn’t it be a good thing to thoroughly examine each law and err on the side of caution? Or even entertain the thought that we might have too many laws already?
Those same people might argue that Congress is already practicing that idea, passing only 61 bills in 2012. That’s out of 3,914 bills introduced which means less than 2% of all bills. This is the information citizens point to when remarking how ‘never been this bad.’ I’m always amused by that statement. I think back to the election of 1824 when opponents of Andrew Jackson accused his wife of being a polygamist who had not yet divorced her husband before marrying Jackson. In reality, she hadn’t because the divorce wasn’t finalized yet and they had to re-file their marriage papers. But that was REALLY dirty. By today’s standards, that story might not even get published.
Politics today is fairly benign. Sure, politicians do stupid things but the game of politics is cordial. When veterans of the Senate are chastising Rand Paul for exercising his right as a United States Senator to filibuster against drones attacking Americans on American soil, you have to believe it could be worse.