The goal, thus, is to prevent close inspection through a combination of heavy-handed legislative techniques and bullying rhetoric: If you don’t want to pass our bill without reading it, you must hate the children.

Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of lousy legislation this way — the Patriot Act, for example, about which I wrote a column something like this one back in 2001. We’ve gotten it because politicians like to manipulate voters and avoid scrutiny.

But why let them?

I’d like to propose a “waiting period” for legislation. No bill should be voted on without hearings, debate and a final text that’s available online for at least a week. (A month would be better. How many bills really couldn’t wait a month?)