So here we had the second phony debate
. Phony? Yes -- this headline tells the story -- Leaked Debate Agreement Shows Both Obama and Romney are Sniveling Cowards!
. The conditions of the debate locked in by the candidates, what can be discussed, how it can be discussed, where the cameras ought to pivot, are so locked up, they may as well simply broadcast a string of campaign commercials on different issues instead of spouting the platitudes in person. And, note that the contract itself additionally actually forbids
the candidates from engaging in debates with third party candidates!! How repressive is that? Again, naturally, here's a debate where the winner would have been the Libertarian
candidate, hence his prohibition from participation. Both candidates spar at the edges over nibbling tax increases or tax cuts, but both promise continued trillions in spending, and the massive invasion of government into our personal lives, sexual choices, economic choices. The pundits, naturally, are tripping over themselves to award the win to Barack Obama
, and point up Mitt Romney
's missteps, of which there were certainly more than might have been expected given his last performance. In all, the event was probably a wash, solidifying a status quo wherein nothing changes.
But as the election approaches and pundits start talking Congress, I get to thinking about the separation of powers
. And, especially, I get to thinking about divided government. Oh, the candidates aren't talking about it, though each makes some points about how they have or have not been able to work with the other party. But one-party rule has always, always ended up being bad news for the country -- and even while the Democrats and Republicans pursue the same ends under different rhetoric, at least where one party controls the executive branch and the other controls the legislative branch, their rhetoric entangles them and they are stopped from moving forward on bad ideas. One might recall that the first two years of Bill Clinton's presidency were a disastrous mess, but the Republican takeover of Congress which followed effected fiscal discipline. Similarly, the first six years of Bush's presidency saw exploding spending and expanding government, unchecked warmongering, and the most intensive rollback of privacy and freedom of expression in generations. But the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, while halting this trend on some fronts, did essentially nothing to undo the damage which had been done -- Democrats not being inclined to impose the kinds of spending restraints on Bush which Republicans had pressed on Clinton.
This cycle, it seems certain that Republicans will again control, and commandingly, the House of Representatives
-- which is key, as this is, by a provision of the Constitution
, the body from which laws involving taxation must emanate. The Senate might go either way, but my bet is the Republicans will eke out control of this body as well, coming back in Missouri and Virginia and Massachusetts, possibly Connecticut. I have mentioned before that Angus King
will likely win Maine, and he has forecast his laudable intention to remain truly independent of both parties. And lastly, there's the Supreme Court
, with its sharply drawn 5-4 Republican majority, and the only member likely to leave in the next four years being the ultraliberal Ruth Bader Ginsberg
, who has slowly been dying for the past several years, facing two bouts of cancer
and the death of her husband. So, taking all that as given, I am somewhat despairing of the fact that electing Obama will mean four more years of Obama doing whatever it is Obama does (even if it will be an Obama whose ambitions are scuttled by the Republican Congress); and on the other hand, elected Romney will quite possibly mean four years of a monolithic political front controlling all three branches of our federal government, at the back of a candidate who shows no ill ease at the prospect of slipping into aggressive use of that government to suit his agenda. Have I mentioned Gary Johnson is on the ballot in every state?
locke baron says: I heard the other day - from a source who has an agenda, but also no reason to lie about this - that the way the debates are structured currently is specifically to prevent another Ross Perot. I wonder how true that is?
In node auditing news:
is still done; etouffee
has been done a long while, now.
-- on page 4 of 10
-- on page 7 of 14
are in the queue. Because I like the letter j.