Video: The 800 Pound Gorilla; and Next Media Animation Does Keith Olbermann | Main | Obama Continues Grand Liberal Tradition of Praising Republicans, So Long As They're Dead
January 24, 2011

Long Live Disharmony...The Savior Of The Republic

A few days ago Slu wrote a great post about the stupid bipartisan seating plan for the State of the Union. Since then the movement has only gotten more absurd. I'm pretty sure Kirsten "The Hot One" Gillibrand and John Thune are going to be elected Homecoming King and Queen.

What I really hate about this is that the parties were never supposed to get along (ok, technically the founders hated the idea of parties but they were an inevitable part of America from Day 1). The entire American system is based on competing power centers limiting each other. The Constitution is a deft piece of political engineering where forces are set against each other in tension to create a rigid and durable structure. Remove some of those tensions and the whole system weakens.

Our two party system is less well designed, it was never really designed actually, but it also serves an important function. By constantly competing for broad swaths of the electorate (unlike a multi-party parliamentary system where minority parties can wield undue influence), American parties are forced to play within a fairly narrow band of options. This usually works well because the federal government isn't designed to do the kind of big heroic things that give Tom Friedman and David Brooks erections. They and other liberals see this as a bug, I see it as a feature.

Other than matters of war and peace (and even that's more theoretical than reality), I don't want the parties working together. When they work together things get done and experience shows that's when the trouble starts.

The system really breaks down when one party (almost inevitably the Democrats) gets too much power or help from the other. They then can bend the political branches of government to their will. At that point, it becomes possible to do something really big and stupid like Social Security. Toss in a complaint judiciary and you have the roots of today's fiscal crisis. Had there been an effective opposition in the New Deal and Great Society eras, they could have stopped feel good but ruinous programs.

In fairness, Republicans did oppose those programs but the Democrats had them out numbered and the will of the voters was done. That's nice and all but those people only voted themselves the goodies, while leaving their posterity, us, not "a more perfect union" but an unsustainable level of spending and debt. The limitations on majorities to wreak such havoc on future generations is supposed to be a benefit of the limits on the constitutional reach of the federal government. The concept stands...too much political agreement often leads to disastrous results.

The problem now is gridlock plays into the hands of those who created the mess. If we can't build an overwhelming coalition to undo what liberals have wrought, they win by default (until we run out of places to borrow money from). Part of building that coalition to undo the worst of the excesses means affixing blame and punishing those who enable the system (including Republicans like Robert Bennett when a viable replacement is electable). We aren't going to create the environment where hard choices can be made if we soften the distinctions between the parties.

Democrats aren't going to "work with us" to fix the problems they created, so what's the point in courting them?

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 12:40 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
Zettai Roshia-no Botto: "Thirst! ..."

Traveling Man&&&: "Damn if Gonzaga didn't just wake up. ..."

votermom certified russian matryoshka bot: "Haven't seen it but I hear Margot Robbie has a GRE ..."

boulder terlit hobo: "Polo! Now [i]there[/i]'s a game! ..."

RedMindBlueState[/i][/b][/s][/u]: "Yeah...Massachusetts..the mid-West. Posted by: Ch ..."

Insomniac - Nowhere Man: "well, when compared with a bunch of icecapades rej ..."

Gruesome Jon: "Yeah...Massachusetts..the mid-West....It was creat ..."

yankeefifth: "So balls, leather gloves and wooden phallic object ..."

KT: "Pat* at March 17, 2018 06:50 PMDoes the plant or f ..."

Insomniac - Nowhere Man: "80 Finished watching I, Tonya. Sad movie. Abusiv ..."

Traveling Man&&&: "[I]It's good that the sexually insecure can find t ..."

SGTYork: "Oregonmuse:Of all the things you listed about this ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64