Thoughtlessness

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader must have the issues where there is a difficult confluence of religious and political debates on the mind. Perhaps it is that Lent is upon us. Perhaps it is just because these issues seem to be front and center in our current political dialogue. Thanks to the GOP Presidential primaries and HHS mandates there is a lot of Church/State discussion. But it is another area of the Church/State discussion on which your Maximum Leader would like to expound.

If you have been following news about Virginia recently you will know that the General Assembly has been moving on a bill that would require women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion. That bill has come under heavy scrutiny because the language of the bill can be interpreted (rightfully one can argue) as possibly requiring a vaginal ultrasound before a woman can get an abortion. (The story of the moment is that VA Governor Bob McDonnell has gone from strong supporter of the bill to a man uncommitted to sign it.)

Now, your Maximum Leader is not going to comment on abortion or abortion restrictions in this post. What he would like to comment upon is his long-standing disgust at thoughtlessness in lawmaking.

Long-time readers will know that your Maximum Leader is not a fan of the Patriot Act. He has never been a supporter of the Patriot Act. He felt it was rushed through Congress without consideration paid to unintended consequences. What is happening in Virginia is a more glaring example of this same situation.

For those of you who do not know, and your Maximum Leader suspects that might be many of you, the Virginia legislature is a part-time legislature. The legislators serve for 60 or 90 days a year (depending on the year). They have a full-time staff, the Office of Legislative Services. The job of the staff is to help write laws, research existing laws that might be affected by new laws, and generally to think through consequences of potential legislation if it were to be enacted.

This abortion law under debate in Richmond appears to have been a) poorly drafted; b) poorly researched; or c) incompletely thought through. A combination of those three failings is also possible.

This drives your Maximum Leader nuts. As he sees it, either the sponsors of the bill ignored the (non-partisan) staff and went ahead with the bill in the form it was introduced; or the staff did a crappy job of vetting the bill. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure which it is; but either of these scenarios is bad.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t care that legislatures are (in general) slow to act. But he does care that they aren’t (generally) deliberative any more. This lack of deliberativeness (or perhaps the inability of most elected officials to actually deliberate) is as much a danger to our nation as any enemy - foreign or domestic.

Carry on.

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