While the election results are not yet in, the numbers seem to favor an Obama win. The Democrats are also in a position to take control of the Senate (they already have a majority in the House). Naturally, the pundits are discussing the implications of one party rule.
On the right, the fear is that the Democrats will use their power to impose their liberal agenda on America: sex education, same sex marriage, tax increases, and other such left wing programs. In short, the right is afraid that the Democrats will do things they do not like. That is, in general, how most people look at politics (what they like and dislike).
On the left, the hope is that the Democrats will use their power to give the American people what they need: sex education, same sex marriage, tax increases, and other such left wing programs. In short, the left is hoping that the Democrats will do things that they like.
In the middle ground, some people are worried that the Democrats will do some things they do not like and are hoping that they will do some things they do like. If the Democrats do win big, this will indicate (to some degree) that most people have more hope that the Democrats will do things they want than fear they will do things they do not want.
My thoughts on the matter are that a Democratic domination of government can go many ways.
Since I remember Jimmy Carter’s Presidency, I remember how the Democratic President and the Democratic congress could not get along. Their disagreements rivaled those that involved Democrats and Republicans. As such, one party dominance does not entail a monolithic and cooperative government. This is hardly shocking: since there are only two major parties, it stands to reason that each contains people with very different views. While the Democrats slide left and Republicans slide right, there is a great deal of variation within those vague borders. Also, politicians are (obviously enough) politicians and love their power and perks. Hence, they tend to be in competition with each other-even within the same party. As such, even a Democratic sweep can still lead to a divided government, gridlock and conflict. While this can impede the passage of good laws, it can also protect America from bad laws. Having read Thoreau and other anarchists, I can see the good side of a government that is busy fighting with itself. Such conflict can, ironically, help protect the general good. Politicians, like other villains, are generally up to no good-so the less they do, the better. Of course, such conflict can prevent good and useful laws from being passed, which can be a problem.
Of course, perhaps Obama and Congress will get along and there will, in fact, be a true Democratic hegemony in Washington. As noted above, those who like this idea will be pleased and those who fear it will not. As some folks on the right have pointed out, this sort of Washington might try to push a liberal agenda on America and that could be bad for the country. After all, we have seen what has happened when the President and the majority of Congress are in the same party. When it was the Republicans, things got bad. It seems reasonable to consider that the Democrats will be bad as well-just in different ways. Of course, the right’s biggest complaint is that it won’t be the right running the show. But, their concerns are worth considering. After all, the checks and balances system was not set up on the assumption that people will do nice things when they are in power.
I like how you said “When it was the Republicans, things got bad.”. All you could say about Carter was how they all squabbled amongst themselves. It would have been nice to say how bad it was during the Carter administration. I am sure people would just love to pay a 23% mortgage rate. Imagine the extra, if you could, hate for Bush if interest rates were so high now.
Michael LaBossiere says
Damn, I had blocked the 1970s out. That was a disaster of a decade. Well, aside from the creation if D&D and Traveler. I don’t think Obama will make the same mistakes Carter made, but it is something to consider.
No–let’s just keep talking bad about Bush… Bush! Bush! Bush!
Michael LaBossiere says
It’s time to move on.
I think the Bush Administration did a bad job, but I have enough awareness of the “nature of history” to be willing to see how things go before completing my assessment. I suspect it will be negative, but I am working to keep my perspective neutral. There are numerous examples of things that seemed like bad ideas at the moment, but ended up creating positive effects. For example, the Iraq war might end up leading to a more stable Middle East in the long run.
Bush is keeping up the great American tradition (mostly followed) of an honorable and amiable transition of power. History, as he himself has said, will render the final verdict. Then it will be revised for another final verdict. And so on…