20 April 2010

Uncommon Commentary #111: Born out of Gridlock

On Ash Wednesday, a formerly prestigious newspaper that's published in New York ran a front-page story titled "Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds New Fear of a Debt Crisis."  It's unclear why what the paper calls "gridlock" should contribute to fear of a "debt crisis" (as if we weren't undergoing such a crisis already), especially since it might help to prevent Democrats from burdening the country with spending programs that would balloon the national debt; the lurid headline, though, exemplifies one of the many annoying characteristics of leftists, which is that they whine about "gridlock" whenever things aren't going their way.  During Clinton's presidency, even before public disgust at his incompetence and corruption resulted in the loss of his party's majority in each house of the US Congress, the Left was condemning Republicans with this same word; an observer who didn't know how our political system is intended to operate might have thought that some sort of gentlemen's agreement bound the opposition not to oppose bills favored by the chief executive, even if those bills would, should they be enacted into law, have a detrimental effect on the country.  Now, however, things are even worse; the same blowhards are complaining of "party gridlock" even when Democrats have majorities of 37 seats (236-199) in the US House of Representatives and 18 (59-41) in the Senate!  What the ruling party seems to not understand (or, more likely, to understand but to not care about) is that when you hold that many more seats than the opposition does, and you're still unable to run the USA in the way that you want without resorting to disingenuous tactics like budget-wreckin'ciliation, your agenda must be really unpopular.
In a way, the Leftists are right to say that "the system is broken" (although, as explained above, they are right for the wrong reason); one of the prime reasons why our government hardly ever gets anything done is that the president and one or both of the legislative majorities are so often of mutually antagonistic parties.  Nonetheless, lack of change is preferable to change for the worse. (Or, at least, it usually is; very often, lamentably, under our system, the only way to discredit a party in the eyes of the voters is to allow it to discredit itself through misgovernance, as the Democrats currently are.)