Over the last two and one half years I have consistently and frequently made the case for divided government on my blog and here on the Donk. On the eve of the midterm election in 2006, I wrote a post with the same title, summarizing the case for divided government and calling on voters to vote for Democratic senators and representatives to break the back of the disastrous One Party Rule under the Republicans. At the time, the election looked close but there was reason for optimism. The Foley scandal was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the electorate finally rejected six years of bad governance and rampant corruption.
Divided government is not a cure-all, but the fact is – our divided government state since 2007 has begun to reverse the damage of the 2001-2006 One Party Rule. Six years of abusive single party control is not going to be undone by 20 months of divided government. Yet, as a direct consequence of electing a divided government in 2006, we have a new Secretary of Defense, a new Attorney General, a marginal improvement in both the Patriot Act and FISA vs. the Bush/Cheney versions, a great deal more oversight revealing many of the abuses of the six years of single party control, a revised strategy in Iraq resulting in an improved security situation, and a reduction in the rate of spending growth in 2007. These improvements, though marginal, are not insignificant. It is the nature of divided government that improvements will be incremental and that is exactly what we have seen thus far.
The absurdity of handing all the levers of power to the Democrats as a cure for the abuses we saw as a result of handing all the levers of power to the Republican should be obvious on its face. Particularly when you consider the Democrats will have bigger majorities than the Republicans combined with a “Cheney enhanced” executive office and a partisan 97% toe-the-party-line Democratic voting record president in Obama. Quite possibly this will be the greatest concentration of power in one man and one party in the US federal government in the lifetime of anyone reading this blog. You gotta really have the partisan blinders on to believe that Democrats can be trusted with the â€œring of powerâ€ just because they are Democrats.
So we face a similar decision in 2008 as we did on 2006, but I am not as optimistic about the outcome. The divided government swing vote is real but small. It can determine the outcome of an election if the election is close, as it was in 2006. Although the Democrats have already conclusively demonstrated that they have the potential to be every bit as corrupt as the Republicans and fully embrace big money corporate politics as aggressively as the K-Street Republicans, they have not yet had enough time or power to fulfill that corruption potential. Without any effective partisan oversight, we will certainly see Democratic Party corruption begin to fully flower by 2010.
There are positive signs. In this election cycle we have seen more stories, articles and posts on divided government than ever before. Consideration of divided government vs. one party rule is now part of the conscious voting decision for many voters. This is a solid foundation to build on for the 2010 midterms. But this year, the financial market crisis has swamped all other considerations, and what should have been a close election, is likely a rout. When voters are gripped by fear, whether it is fear of terrorism (2002), fear of gay marriage (Ohio in 2004), or fear of economic collapse (2008), few other considerations will come to the fore. That said, DWSUWF will nevertheless soldier on, and reprise the rationale to Just Vote Divided one last time…
(Well – for this election season – Thursday I’ll get started on 2010)
Continued at Divided We Stand United We Fall.