IntroductionIn this Carnival of Divided Government OCTAVUS - Winter Solstice Edition, as in all of the CODGOV series, we select volunteers and draftees from the blogosphere and mainstream media on the singular topic of government divided between the major parties (leaving it to the reader to sort out volunteers from draftees). Consistent with this topic, the primary criteria for acceptance in the carnival is to use the words "divided government" or "gridlock" in submitted posts. A criteria that, to our endless confusion, is ignored by many of the bloggers submitting posts, which sadly results in DWSUWF reluctantly ignoring their fine submissions.
SolsticeAhh - the winter solstice. The shortest and darkest day of the year. At precisely 4:22 PM PST, 21-December-06,the earth leans a maximum 23 degrees off of our orbital plane, and then starts leaning back. It is the moment that we in the northern hemisphere begin to observe the return of the light. It is the most optimistic of holidays, pregnant with the promise of spring, the hope of fertility, and the bounty of a new year. Is there any other calendar observance that offers such a mix of science and myth? Inspirational art and precision mathematics? Mystery, tradition, sex, archaeology and history? Religions and cultures, ancient and modern, find reason to note and celebrate the day. The only thing missing is politics. Who better to remedy that gap than DWSUWF? If not us, who? If not now, when? Teresa Ruano at Candlegrove offers an ancient Rumanian Solstice tradition that DWSUWF finds to be a particularly apropos political metaphor for this election year. In this tradition, the head of the household walks into the orchard with an ax on his shoulder, and threatens to chop down each tree if it is not productive. So on this solstice, the American electorate walks among the felled politicians, and look forward to emerging from the darkness of Single Party Control and into the light of a Divided Government in the new year.
CarnivalGengis Conn at Connecticut Local Politics writes that Congressman-Elect Joe "Courtney Sees Fiscal Mess Left by GOP":
Courtney is referring to the bloated pork-laden funding legislation that was left unpassed by the outgoing congress. This will be the the first test of the divided government hypothesis with the new congress. DWSUWF holds no illusions about the funding legislation, and expect it to still be stinking with pork when it is finally excreted by the new congress. We do expect it to contain slightly less bloat and fetid pork after being subjected to the dynamic of divided government compromise and promised earmark reform.
"I have to hope that the Democrats will, in fact, act responsibly in fiscal matters. The out-of-control spending of the past six years simply can't continue. Perhaps divided government will help: President Bush will almost certainly veto more bills during the next two years than the single one he's vetoed so far. It's worth remembering that divided government during the 1990s led to budget surpluses."
Diane Rogers writes in the Think Tank Town column at the Washington Post that we may be "Returning to Bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility":
Laura Young presents an appropriately new-age-ish "Is There a Buddha in the White House?" posted at Dragon Slayer, asking, "Have you hugged your "inner Cheney" today?"...
"Since last month's elections, there has been a mood of optimism among the deficit hawks around town, whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Most of these budget wonks freely admit that the change of power in Congress had nearly all to do with the war in Iraq and hardly anything to do with the fiscal irresponsibility that has plagued our federal government since 2001. Yet most also astutely observe that the resulting re-divided government -- last seen with a Clinton White House and a Republican Congress -- is likely to bring some urgently needed discipline back to the budget process."
An interesting post, even if the somewhat more cynical DWSUWF believes that it is actually the very dissention, division, and drawn lines of divided government which will help to prevent "future disasters". Unity created this disaster in Iraq. Unity is over-rated.
"While we are debating what could or could not have been done to prevent the many disastrous events we have experienced as a nation during the Bush administration let us not forget to learn the lessons inherent in these events for each of us. Where and how do the lines within our divided government get drawn and in what ways are we contributing to that division? Let us check our own hearts and make certain we are doing what we can to root out the causes of such devastation and dissension in our own hearts and minds for the sake of preventing future disasters and truly promoting peaceful relationships abroad as well as within our own neighborhoods."
Eric Zitzewitz oulines his research in "Prediction Markets for the CFO" posted at Midas Oracle:
As one of the leading pontificators on the virtues of divided government, DWSUWF is compelled to point out that evidence (or the lack thereof) for the stock market preferring divided government says absolutely nothing about the evidence for greater fiscal responsibility and better governance under divided government as cited by economists and historians like William Niskanen, Norman Ornstein and others.
"We examine market reactions to the House and Senate control shifts in 2006, the Senate shift in 2002, and the 1994 shifts. We can get an especially good estimate for the Senate in 2006, where the probably of the GOP keeping it fell from 90 percent to 10 in an hour as the final vote tallies for Missouri and Virginia reversed early GOP leads. We find that a “control” of a house of Congress is about 10-30 percent as important as the Presidency in affecting economic policy, across a number of indicators. Contrary to some pontificating, we do not find any evidence that the stock market prefers divided government."
Two bloggers make their second sequential appearance in CODGOV with theese additional observations on divided government...
Ed at Captain's Quarters writes that "Democrats Disappoint Bono" laying the blame on divided government:
Agreed. Is this another early indicator that divided government will actually restrain the excesses of big government spending? Perhaps.
"Acclaimed U2 rocker and aid activist Bono tried getting the Democrats to support George Bush's commitments to African aid after they take control of Congress, but left disappointed. It seems that Bono has discovered the blessing and curse of divided government ... where the West clings to political correctness and bogus environmentalism, avoids the hint of colonialism, and allows the bullies to abuse the weak, aid will make no long-term difference except to make those situations even worse than they are now. In this case, the Democrats probably have it right."
Moon, bitter at the resignation of John Bolton complains that "Sometimes it just doesn't pay to endorse someone" at Moonage Political Webdream. The poor fellow is already nostalgic for a Congress that rubber stamps every GWB appointee and decision:
Following this logic to its conclusion, I suppose the least "useless and incapable" government is one in which there is no Congress to interfere, and a President can simply lead by fiat. I'm still not sure why Moon thinks that is a good thing.
"The next two years are going to be the epitome of a useless and incapable Congress and Senate. Some people think this "divided government" is a good thing. I think it's dangerous as hell at this time."
Turk at Kung Fu Quip nicely summarizes the dynamic between two of my favorite topics in his post "Unity08 And The Celebrity Pitch":
I think he means "moot", but regardless I bask in the truth and wisdom of his words, considering how they reflect on my own thoughts on the subject, as posted here: "Disnuity06 kicks Unity08 butt" .
"Honestly, I’m not sure how relevant this is going to be now that we have a split government. I think moderation can be achieved in one of two ways. Unity08 was one of those, but the other is the tried and truth method of divided government. Now that the Democrats have reclaimed the control of Congress, our government can go one of two directions - compromise and cooperation or total, chaotic gridlock. I hope for the former, but I suspect we’ll probably get the latter. Either may render the Unity effort mute."
MiscellanyFinally, we conclude with the longstanding (three month) tradition at The Carnival of Divided Government to include one "off-topic" submission, as a grudging acknowledgement and proxy for the many off-topic submissions received. The winner for this edition is ...
Hakim Abdullah presenting "Notes & Dialogue on Family and Liberty" posted at Wa Salaam. Despite impenetrable and possibly meaningless statements like this - "I think we all will agree that liberty in the true sense of the word should protect society from “enslavement”, but remember it is the execution of liberty that enslaves." - DWSUWF selected Hakim's off-topic post for it's subtitle: "Discussions of Difference with Red State". In the post Hakim relates what he calls "an intriguing dialogue with a community of conservative, right-wing Americans" on RedState. This got DWSUWF's attention, and Hakim this link, because DWSUWF remains banned from RedState for the transgression of posting a truly innocuous comment on a Denny Hastert thread before the election. Keep up the good work Hakim. You are a better man than me.
With that we conclude this edition.Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for all of the submissions (on-topic or not). The next edition will be the Carnival of Divided Government NONUS - Special New Years Resolution Edition, which we have resolved to be posted on Monday, January 1, but in anticipation of having too much fun New Years Eve, expect to break that resolution and will actually post on January 2. Submit your blog article at carnival of divided government using our carnival submission form. Past posts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
If you enjoyed this carnival, you shoul also check out the Carnival of the Vanities: The Early Christmas Edition hosted at Silflay Hraka, which has seen fit to include a recent DWSUWF contribution among many other fine posts.