Above: a bipartisan congressional “super committee” to cut the deficit.
“We must achieve a ‘grand bargain’” said someone who happened to be Rep. Pelosi.
What is it for? It’s a term which signifies independence. It stands outside politics. These 12 people will not be hostage to their party leaders, or their constituency, or their lobbyists. They’ll do what needs to be done, however unpalatable or unpopular. hat’s their single, temporary power and responsibility.
“Because the work of this committee will affect all Americans, I called last week for its deliberations to be transparent; the committee should conduct its proceedings in the open,” she said in her statement.
Or maybe not. There’s no reason that this will be any different than business as usual. They’ll be just as influenced and “corrupt,” if you prefer,” as any other congressional committee. Perhaps lobby money/votes given to those individuals will somehow not find its way into the consciousness of those individuals? The fact that it is balanced– 6 Republicans and 6 Democrats– helps you forget that there are more than two opinions on the matter of deficit reduction. Perhaps this is Congress’s way of hoping you aren’t aware of a third way. Or a fourth, or fifth. And yet it also reveals Congress to be stuck in a bi-polar world.
In that sense, the word “supercommittee” is a trick on the American public. It is a Lexus. They know this is same-old-same-old, and are hoping you’ll be fooled. It is branding, telling you this is a better product even though it is made from the same exact materials as the lesser product.
But as powerful as branding can be to sell you a product, the brand may be the only way of generating a quality product. Just as the response tells you that these members won’t be beholden to, say, their party leaders, the supercommittee members have been given an unassailable and probably unintentional power to actually act free of the influence of their party leaders and constituency and lobbyists. “I’m sorry,” they have the single and one time opportunity to say to leaders and lobbyists, like Becket to Henry, “I know your plans for the country, but as a member of the Supercommittee, I must needs oppose.” I was with you up until the moment you created something you said was bigger than all of us.
And to America: “This is what we’ve come up with, and no one is going to like it, but it’ll work and now the burden is on you to reject it.”
Names offer power to do what’s wrong, and right. Becket was canonized, but he had to be killed first. The supercommittee has been given potentially awesome power. Now, which of these people is willing to die for the cause?