Welcome to the May 28, 2007 edition of the Carnival of Divided Government TERTIUS DECIMUS - Special Memorial Day Fishing Holiday Edition. This edition brought to you from the global headquarters of the DWSUWF blog, temporarily relocated to an undisclosed location near a bass lake and trout stream in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
IntroductionAs explained in earlier editions, we have adopted Latin ordinal numeration in order to impart a patina of gravitas reflecting the historical importance of the series. In this edition, as in all of the CODGOV series, we select volunteers and draftees from the blogosphere and main stream 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 and/or concept of "divided government" in submitted posts. A criteria that, to our endless befuddlement, is ignored by many of the bloggers submitting posts, which sadly results in DWSUWF reluctantly ignoring their fine submissions.
Fishing for Divided Government PostsOur first catch is from the Boston Dissentator, who secured top billing in this carnival by employing a fishing metaphor in support of his thesis that blogs can be a posiitve influence in moderating the polarizing partisan divide in "Uniting Our "Divided" Nation" posted at The Dissentators:
There is a lot to like in this essay. It is thoughtful, optimistic and the dissentator practices what he preaches, maintaining an engaging, respectful and high level discourse with his fellow dissentators around the globe. But alas, "deep down inside", as a skeptical realist, I conclude that the BostonDissentator makes more than a few mistakes in this essay. He assumes that a "unified" America is a desirable, even normal state, that partisanship is bad, and then compounds these errors by implying that polarized partisan bickering is a relatively new phenomena that can be attributed to modern main stream media and politicians. This blogger finds those assertions to be a bit naive and practically Un-American. This is ground that DWSUWF covered in the post "Unity08 and fellow travellers Tony Snow and David Gregory promote Un-American activities", in which we outline the historical case that "Polarized Partisan Politics Promotes Popular Participation." There is something to be learned about the postive effect of divided government and partisan wrangling in the recent legislative efforts on Iraq, immigration, and Congressional oversight.
"Our impulses and our emotions may sometimes cause us to take the bait when media and politicians dangle the partisan hook, but deep down inside I think we all know that the divisive culture is not helping at all and in fact doing real damage, and we also know deep down inside that no one agrees with everything every politician from one party believes. So we are ready for this change, and I think that this change can only come from the blogs, since the media and the politicians all benefit from the increase in attention they get from keeping the divisive atmosphere alive."
Divided Government and the Emergency Iraq War Funding BillConsider this stringer of keeper posts we caught nibbling at this recent David Espo AP story - "Analysis: an Iraq Bill No One Loved":
Captain Ed calls the bill a victory for the President in his post "That Wasn't So Hard, Was It?":
"The Iraq war funding bill cleared by Congress represents a triumph of divided government, beloved by none, crafted to avoid a protracted veto struggle that neither President Bush nor Democrats wanted..."
Thereisnospoon bitterly agrees this was a defeat for Democrats in "Democrats: The Party of Pork!" posted at There is no Blog:
The Democratic-controlled Congress finally accomplished something after over four months of the 110th's session. They managed to pass a supplemental funding bill for the troops in Iraq, even though it took them 108 days to figure one out -- and they managed to vote overwhelmingly for it... A majority of Democrats agreed to fund the troops without timetables for withdrawal. Only 14 opposed a bill that many Democrats promised they would never support, which they now have to explain to an enraged base. The White House will sign this at the first opportunity. Why not? They spent the last four months fighting for this victory, and George Bush will want to ensure it lasts all summer long."
Outraged Liberal takes a more measured view in "Wrong Target" posted at Massachusetts Liberal:
"...In other words, the Dems didn't give the GOP everything they wanted on a silver platter--this was just politics as usual in Washington. A give and take. Compromise. Sausage-making at its finest, leaving both sides relieved but discontent. The Republicans got what they wanted and Democrats didn't (a never-ending occupation) and Democrats got what they wanted and Republicans didn't ($8 billion in spending). Sounds like a fair trade to me! Epso's article continues with quotes from both sides supposedly signaling the difficult complexity of the issue, but instead demonstrating the incredible capacity for mendacious bullshit on the part of elected officials on both sides of the aisle."
Madeleine Begun Kane was moved to limerick as it her wont in "Democrats, Heal Thy Selves!"
"We are in the midst of divided government, in every sense of the word. The Democratic majority rests on slender roots and there simple are not enough votes to get things done as we would prefer, at least not yet... But the list of bitter-enders who will support him until the end (of his term) is growing shorter. Let's not build it back up by attacking those who chose a strategic retreat to fight another day with more tools at their disposal. Cancel that circular firing squad."
Henry Neufeld sums it up best in his post "Tensions of Constitutional Government" posted at Thread's from Henry's Web:
The Dems disappoint once again,
Caving in to Dub’s warmong’ring yen.
Timeline’s gone from the bill.
Checks on Bush? Nothing! Nil!
Bush says, “Heel!” and the Dems reply, “When?”.
Finally, you gotta love Bret's take and the title in his post "I Love Divided Government! I really do!" posted at the Great Guys Weblog:
"Anti-war forces need to simply realize that, as angry as you may be, it takes more than one election to change the course of the country. If you don’t have the staying power to carry this through the next election, you shouldn’t have bothered to start. (I use “you” rather than “we” here because though I oppose the war, I think it’s appropriate that policy be a compromise between congress and the president in a divided government. I’m not angry. Things are about as expected... )"
Bottom line: The acrimonious, polarized partisan debate over the Emergency War Funding Bill, resulted in a better outcome than we would have gotten had either party held single party control of both executive and legislative branches. This is exactly as predicted in this DWSUWF April 16 post:
"Congress ultimately backed down, but they put the Iraqis on notice first. That fact is that if there is no progress in Iraq over the coming months, we may actually leave and leave them to their own devices (and civil war, and mayhem, and genocide, and famine, and mass refugee migration, etc.). My feeling is that the American people, in their infinite Wisdom of Crowds, correctly put the Democrats into office all so this showdown would happen and enable progress in Iraq. We're good, we are!"
The pork was reduced in this bill as a result of the veto. On the off chance that the military surge strategy will create enough breathing room to secure a stronger negotiating posture by this fall, it yields a slim hope for a better long-term result for the Iraqi people, and is probably a risk worth taking. The stage has been set for a bipartisan bill in September to begin disentangling ourselves from Iraq when the Defense Appropriation Bill comes before Congress.
"After the veto, a compromise bill with less pork and softer language on the withdrawal timetable will be passed by the legislature and signed by the executive. Both parties will declare victory. The country will get a better, more rational, and less wasteful funding legislation. Chalk up another win for Divided Government."
Divided Government Fish StewAthenae quotes an Allison Hantschel Sun-Times News Group article in "Columnwhoring: Oversight, Bitches!" posted at First Draft:
Immigration to Surveillance to Congressional Oversight and more.
Immigration to Surveillance to Congressional Oversight and more.
J.D. Tuccille asks "Did you hear that?" in the wake of revelations of F.B.I. abuses of security letter provisions posted at Disloyal Opposition:
"That President Bush re-asserted his support for Gonzales following his dismal performance and that Gonzales refused to resign in the face of his failure hardly matter. The hearings proved one thing, and one thing only: The executive branch no longer has a blank check to run the country into the ground. Divided government can be good for America. The questioning by one party of policies implemented by the other can result in stronger legislation and more fair and equitable distribution of resources."
Jim Harper agrees in "Congress Moves Against NSA Spying" posted at The Technology Liberation Front:
"Congressional Democrats don't seem too keen on the idea. The Bush administration's misuse of existing surveillance powers gives them pause and, besides, they just don't like the Republican-led executive branch. You gotta love divided government."
Blog Goliard likes divided govenment but asks "Why Teddy" sould be selected as the Republican partner for immigration reform legislation, posted at Blog Goliard:
"Ars Technica reports that an amendment to the FY 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act “upholds the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Backed (FISA) as the only means by which to do electronic surveillance—and … requires continuous judicial oversight of requests.” Divided government is a real boon."
Marc Parent quotes David Lindroff making the dubious claim that the election of a divided government is a justification for impeachment in "Impeach Bush or Get Rid of the Impeachment Clause" posted at Crimes and Corruption of the New World Order News:
"There’s so much to write, and so much already being written, about the new immigration deal. Here’s the one thing I’ll never understand. Striking bipartisan deals is often both good and necessary, especially when you’ve got a divided government. But why is it so often Ted Kennedy that the Republicans—especially W.—go running to when they make these deals?"
Baltimoron quotes Cato and asks "What Becomes of the Pays-As-It-Goes War?" posted at Left Flank:
"Excuse two is that impeachment is divisive. This seems the height of absurdity. When voters handed Congress to the Democrats, they knew they were setting the stage for divided government. That was the whole point. Moreover, divisiveness in Washington has largely emanated from the White House, not from Congress."
Hell's Handmaiden helpfully corrects another blogger's
"Cato Institute objects to the House Budget Committee chairperson’s threat to raise corporate taxes, but it’s clear the juicier irony is that the Bush administration is forced politically to choose between war funding and soldiers. This is what I elected a divided government for, really!"
HoyStory snickers about the hypocrisy of Democratic party promises to "drain the swamp", showing why the most trustworthy government is a divided government in "Cleaning House" posted at Hoystory:
"More chilling than the White House’s weak Constitutional argument is the suggestion by Left Wing = Hate that the President simply dismiss Congress until the end of his Presidency. That… just… seems… so… monarchical. Dictatorial. Tyrannical. I’m really not sure how you go about convincing yourself that such a thing is sensible– hell, that such a thing is sane. Hasn’t history proven time enough that giving one man that kind of power is absurdly dangerous? I’m not sure how it is possible that anyone this side of the last century’s dictatorships can argue for creating another one, and removing Congress would be doing exactly that."
DWSUWF is not sure where Hoystory sees "the worst", as it all looks pretty darn good to us.
"We’re five months into the Democrats tenure in charge of both houses of Congress and thus far we don’t have much in the way of substantive legislation passed. The count often repeated lately in newscasts is that 26 bills passed by this Congress have been signed into law by President Bush — and 12 of them do nothing more than rename federal buildings. This may be divided government at its best — and worst."
Jack at Wang Chi's House of Pancakes has an epiphany remarkably similar to the one that prompted DWSUWF to start this blog in his post "A Modest Proposal":
Indeed. And as I mention in a comment on his post, we do have that opportunity and should think about how different things still can be if we, as voters, consciously continue to select divided government as our preferred form of leadership in Washington D.C.
"But if things were different-- If we had the opportunity to consciously select divided government or gridlock or whatever you want to call it. If we already knew what we had in the White house when we voted for Congress (or vice versa).... How different things might have been."
George Will ruminates on how we may yet maintain a divided government in 2008 in his column "Republican plan still adds up to divided government" posted at Recordnet and in the Washington Post:
George is reporting on Tom Cole's strategy to retake majority control of the house in 2008 even if the Republicans lose the presidency. DWSUWF thinks they are both whistling in the wind, and ignoring the "100 year Rule". Since the US has directly elected Senators (more than 100 years), the House has never changed majority control unless the Senate did also (as in 2006). The first chance the Republicans will have to retake a majority in either house will be in 2010. The only chance for continued divided government past 2008 is to elect a Republican president.
"Although Cole is playing to win, and expects to win, in 2008, retaking the House may be, he says, "a two-step dance for us." He thinks Republicans have a good chance of winning control even if they do not win the White House.... But Republican House candidates may get considerable help from the Democrats' presidential candidate. Cole thinks that Democrats, who he says have more litmus tests for their presidential candidates than Republicans do, are so convinced that they are going to win the White House, they are not resisting what they enjoy surrendering to -- the tug from the party's left... Americans seem to like the government at least somewhat divided. They are apt to have that for a while."
A single off-topic catch of the day.Athough we normally throw back any off-topic (non divided government) catches, we will continue the longstanding tradition at The Carnival of Divided Government of frying up one "off-topic" submission as a grudging acknowledgement and symbolic proxy for the many off-topic submissions received. The winner for this edition is ...
Emo Mom presenting "Will the Real Republican Please Stand Up?" posted at Emo Mom's Daily Podcast - just because I am amused by Emo Mom's handle, and despite the fact that she gets the Ron Paul/Rudy Giuliani debate "moment" completely wrong in her post. For a somewhat less "emo" analysis, check out Jesse Walker's post here, and Andrew Sullivan's post here.
MiscellanyWith 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 Quârtus Decimus - Special Independence Day Edition, to be posted July 4th, 2007. Blog articles may be submitted for the carnival of divided government using the carnival submission form. Past posts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
Finally, if you enjoyed this carnival, you should also check out these other recent fine collections:
- McCain presents Fatwa Links on you at RightPundits.com.
- Pat Santy presents the Carnival of the Insanities hosted at Dr. Sanity.
- Kehaar presents Carnival of the Vanities - #243 hosted at Silflay Hraka.
- Paul Miller presents the Carnival of Ohio Politics #67 hosted at Newshound.
- The Maiden presents the June This is Not My Country Carnival hosted at Hell's Handmaiden and Planet Atheism.