“Age of the Unthinkable” — Maryland State Senate’s Time Has Run Out

Posted on April 25, 2009


I’ve got the book! “The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It,” by Joshua Cooper Ramo, published March 2009 by Little Brown.

I’ve only just started to read Unthinkable, but it’s already reinforced my cynical conclusion that the Maryland General Assembly is an obsolete, dysfunctional, and mostly irrelevant excuse for a legislative body. Most of my cynicism is directed at the Maryland State Senate, which is nearly as useless as the U.S. Senate

Mr. Ramo writes:

“In a revolutionary era of surprise and innovation, you need to learn to think and act like a revolutionary.”

A few pages later:

“Urgent, steady, ceaseless reform and innovation must begin immediately so that in five years, or at most ten, we will have a new, revolutionary architecture of financial, environmental, and national security built with fresh language and stocked with new minds.”

New minds? That leaves out the Maryland State Senate. No institution led for more than two decades by one man, Senate President Mike Miller, is prepared for rapid response in the Age of the Unthinkable.

Unthinkable and “the new world disorder” reinforce my sense of urgency about the need to reshape the U.S. Congress and the Maryland General Assembly.

Start by throwing the bicameral legislature on the ash heap of history, as Great Britain and Canada have done. Get rid of the U.S. Senate and the Maryland Senate, with their charming devotion to extended debate, cloture, and super-majorities.

The bicameral legislature is a machine designed not to take action, but to prevent action. Get rid of the U.S. Senate and the Maryland Senate, and we might be able to salvage and reform the lower houses into functioning branches of government.

More rants to come, I am afraid, as I continue to read Unthinkable. — Bernie Hayden