Unlike most of the 111 that preceded it, the 112th Congress must begin the process of restoring the national regime and civic culture the Founders bequeathed. This will require reviving the rule of law, reasserting the relevance of the Constitution and affirming the reality of American exceptionalism.
With an opening like that you just know this is going to be a humdinger.
Many congressional Republicans, and surely some Democrats with institutional pride, think Congress is being derogated and marginalized by two developments. One is the apotheosis of the presidency as the mainspring of the government and the custodian of the nation's soul. The second is the growing autonomy of the regulatory state, an apparatus responsive to presidents.
Neither of these are problems when a Republican is in charge of the Executive Branch.
Unfortunately, courts long ago made clear that they will not seriously inhibit Congress's scandalous delegation of its lawmaking function to others.
"Separation of Powers" applies to the courts, as well.
We'll skip the lazy literary quote (it's axiomatic that George Will include a lazy literary quote in every column), blind hatred of the New Deal, and blind adoration of a Senator dead nearly sixty years and jump to:
The idea of American exceptionalism is obnoxious to progressives, who, evidently unaware of the idea's long pedigree (it traces to Alexis de Tocqueville) and the rich scholarship concerning the idea, assume it is a crude strain of patriotism. America, Tocqueville said, is unique because it was born free - free of a feudal past, free from an entrenched aristocracy and established religion.
Free of a feudal past? See: Governance by multinational corporations.
Free from an entrenched aristocracy? See: Wise Men and Very Serious Opinion Leaders.
Free from established religion? See: Well, that should be self-evident.
So the definition of American Exceptionalism to which George clings is in his own head and the actual definition, spreading Democracy by subversion and Freedom Missiles, is curiously absent.
Americans are exceptionally committed to limited government because they are exceptionally confident of social mobility through personal striving.
Americans aren't committed to limited government, they're committed to limiting government for that lazy guy over there. And if Americans are confident in social mobility through personal striving, they shouldn't be. George apparently prefers clichés over data.
And they are exceptionally immune to a distinctively modern pessimism: It holds that individuals are powerless to assert their autonomy against society's vast impersonal forces.
You almost want to crack George's cranium open just to see what's going on in there. One has to wonder if he's deliberately dishonest or genuinely believes what he says. Actually, given George's long record of dishonesty - from "Debategate" in 1980 to his deliberate lies about global warming three decades later - it's safe to conclude that George Will knows what he's doing. No wondering is needed.