The wheels of government generally move slowly. I think that is a good thing. One thing that slows it down (or should) is the knowledge that decisions and actions can be reviewed under a healthy system of checks and balances. Knowing that the spotlight will be turned on you keeps you honest. In start-ups, we often talk about the Wall Street Journal test -- would you want this decision or action reported on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? If not, don't do it.
I try not to rant too much about the Bush administration on this blog, but today the latest breach of checks and balances has come to light. As reported here, President Bush, then White House counsel Gonzales, and Chief of Staff Card overruled the Attorney General and went ahead with an aggressive domestic wiretapping program.
Now, if John Ashcroft thinks that a program tramples on civil liberties, it's got too be overreaching. However, Bush and Gonzales went ahead and authorized it anyway. Finally, as the Democrats have re-taken Congress, we are seeing checks and balances in action. These decisions and out-of-balance approaches are coming to light. There was virtually none of this Congressional oversight in the Republican controlled Congress in the first six years of the Bush administration.
No matter who gets elected President in 2008, we need a more open and ethcial administration that will cooperate with Congress to ensure that our system of checks and balances remain in force. It's for all of our benefit.