by Chris Hayes|
Story of the Week,
Up w/ Chris Hayes
During one of the many fraught moments in the health care debate, when it looked like implacable and novel forms of GOP obstruction would kill the bill, writer Matt Yglesias the following tongue in cheek thought experiment to establish the point that just because you can do something according to, say, the letter of the law, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. He wrote, “To the best of my understanding, nothing is stopping Rahm Emannuel from sauntering onto the floor of the Senate, murdering Republicans from states with Democratic governors in cold blood, having them replaced by new Democrats, and then getting a pardon from Barack Obama.”
Matt’s point was that norms matter. A lot.
Healthy governance isn’t simply a matter of those with power playing by the technical boundaries of the rules in place, but also with some larger sense of respect for the norms of the institutions. There are certain things that just ‘aren’t done’ even if they might very technically be permissible.