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All process arguments are insincere

Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Kimberley Strassel has a good column in the Wall Street Journal today, pointing out that House Democrats who are criticizing and ridiculing Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit against President Obama have in fact often, and not so long ago, brought lawsuits against President George W. Bush or other officials, complaining that they have violated the Constitution in some way.

Strassel goes on to distinguish the lawsuit Boehner and House Republicans are preparing from these earlier unsuccessful cases, presenting arguments why it may have a better chance of prevailing. But overall her point is this: The Democrats are making a process argument against pretty much what they have done in the past.

All of which brings to mind a rule that I formulated some years ago after witnessing many political debates in which participants argued that they were taking some stand because of concerns about the political process. It goes like this: “All process arguments are insincere, including this one.” I'm sure you can think of many instances in which this rule seems to apply, but most or all of them will probably involve people you disagree with (as in Strassel's article). So just for exercise, you might want to think of an instance when someone on your side of the political debate has made an obviously insincere process argument.