NYT: Comparing Lawmaking to Sausage Making Is "Offensive to Sausage Makers"



Looks like someone at the NYT's Week in Review assignment desk found a big box of clever pills, had the sort of fairly-spectacular-if-somewhat-regrettable party that does not need to be described, then (I'm just guessing) blacked out. After which our hypothetical assignment editor woke up to find that congressional correspondent Robert Pear had somehow been sent to report from a sausage factory:

In defending their work, members of Congress love to repeat a quotation attributed to Otto von Bismarck: "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made."

In other words, the legislative process, though messy and sometimes unappetizing, can produce healthy, wholesome results.

But a visit to a sausage factory here, about 10 miles from the Capitol, suggests that Bismarck and today's politicians are mistaken. In many ways, that quotation is offensive to sausage makers; their process is better controlled and more predictable.

"I'm so insulted when people say that lawmaking is like sausage making," said Stanley A. Feder, president of Simply Sausage, whose plant here turns out 60,000 pounds of links a year.

"With legislation, you can have hundreds of cooks—members of Congress, lobbyists, federal agency officials, state officials," Mr. Feder said. "In sausage making, you generally have one person, the wurstmeister, who runs the business and makes the decisions."

Congress: It's America's 535-headed wurstmeister.

The whole thing, which also includes comment from a Rutgers University public policy prof explaining why the sausage-making metaphor is inaccurate, and why Republicans are basically obstructionist, anti-sausage terrorists (I'm exaggerating, but only slightly), can be read here.