Thursday, May 28, 2009

Best wishes to the IFNAGs

by Smitty (h/t Lucianne)

  That's "Idiot Frickin' Naval Academy Graduate" (said the '95 example). They're on the march in PA. The one you may not have heard of is Ryan Bucchianeri (boo-shin-eerie, USNA'97).
Ryan Bucchianeri, 34, of Monongahela, announced plans Tuesday to run against the 35-year incumbent, stressing that his Navy service, experience in private industry and youthful perspective would better serve voters in Pennsylvania's southwest corner.
  So, the Mirthless One has been in office one year longer than you've been kicking, Ryan? Wow. Speaking of which:
Mr. Bucchianeri graduated in 1993 from Ringgold High School and in 1997 from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was a placekicker for the Navy football team.
  Oh, the things left unsaid at this point...
Two Republicans, William Russell and Tim Burns, are already vying to run against [Murtha] next year.
  Hats off to you, Ryan, but I'd much prefer Russell or Burns. Although, to be a fly on the wall when Princess Pelosi delivers a good flaying could be entertaining.
  In the upper chamber, we have Joe Sestak (USNA '74) going after Arlen Specter's seat next year:
In another sign of his determination to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary, Joe Sestak just told me in an interview that not even a personal plea from President Obama himself could dissuade him from making the race.
  Now, allow me to wonder aloud about the effect of this:
Without any assurance of seniority, Specter loses a major weapon in his campaign to win reelection in 2010: the ability to claim that his nearly 30 years of Senate service places him in key positions to benefit his constituents.
on Sestak's calculus. The seniority system in both houses distorts elections. You trade the value of experience for the increasing likelihood of corruption:
Without that seniority, though, Specter, 79, would not even hold an appropriations subcommittee chairmanship in 2011, a critical foothold Specter has used in the past to disperse billions of dollars to Pennsylvania.
  Certainly the federalism amendment is important. If they screwed up and left me in charge, I'd randomize all of the committee appointments amongst the majority party in both houses, with a proviso against back-to-back appearances.
  • The detailed knowledge is in the staffs, anyway.
  • The talent amongst elected officials would get better distribution.
  • When you've got the watch for a brief time, you're more likely to deal cleanly and professionally with the issues, and not leave a bag of skeletons for your relief to discover.
  That should ensure they don't screw up and leave me in charge.
  And I'll conclude with a shout out to my Hoosier classmate, Todd Young. Go, Navy!


  1. I understand and share the sentiment for term limits - and the revolving randomized committee system is another good idea - but I'm very concerned about the increased power of the committee staffs. I haven't yet heard a good argument for letting unelected aides and staffers run the legislative branch. Neither can I think of a good way of limiting staff power. The problem with term limits and committee shaking-uppery - though again, I support them - is that Congress is knee-deep in so many issues that learn at the helm is almost as scary as what we've got. The reality of the modern Congress is that no average Rep is versed enough in agriculture, banking, and commerce issues [just to pick an example out of the air] to regulate them, yet they'll do so over and over again on their three committees within weeks of a new committee posting or freshman term. There's no one to rely on but the staff as it is, so I can't imagine a big change from the shoddy work being done now. Further, the lack of seniority and pull will limit the draw for good staff people.
    On the other hand, the starve-the-beast thinking might be applicable: by forcing new blood into every position on the field Congressfolks will voluntarily slow or reverse regulatory expansion so they don't have to work as hard. Maybe. Term limits are great, but we've got to be realistic about their effects.

  2. Term limits are something we've made explicit for POTUS. However, as with McCain-Feingold, limiting political expression seems vaguely unpleasant.
    The more abstract problem I'm attacking here is accretion of power.

  3. Agreed on both counts. The staff-power problem doesn't loom as large in the Executive Branch as it does in Congress. No question limiting seniority would be a huge win for representative government.