Welcome to the 27th edition of the Carnival of Divided Government- The special "Inexcusably Late" Edition. As explained in earlier editions, we have adopted Latin ordinal numeration to impart a patina of gravitas reflecting the historical importance of the series. In this, the Carnival of Divided Government Septimus et Vîcênsimus (XXVII), as in all of the CODGOV series, we select volunteers and draftees from the blogosphere and main stream media writing on the single 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 explicitly 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.
No Excuses!This edition was supposed to be published two weeks ago, kicking off an accelerated schedule of weekly carnivals heading into the election. What can I say? I just never got around to it. The reason for increasing the frequency did not go away. As expected, we are seeing the beginning of an upward trend in "divided government" posts and articles. From BlogPulse:
Since we are late, we have an embarrassment of riches in divided government posts and articles since our last endeavor. We'll start off with a sampling of traditional media...
Main Stream Media
Andrew Romano from Newsweek interviews Morris Fiorino in "Making Sense out of McCains 'Divided Government' Argument":
Not only is "divided government" the best argument that McCain has going for him, it is the only argument that could still pull this out.
AR: "Is there an audience for McCain's divided-government message?"
MF: "We actually asked a question on a recent AP poll.... there was about 20 percent who still wanted divided government constellations. And there was more McCain-Democrat than Obama-Republican. So there is a set of voters out there that has this as their most preferred outcome. So if you added that set to the set that prefers a unified Republican government, you got about a tie. So if the McCain people have the same kind of data, that's obviously a place to go fishing."
Rebecca Sinderland at CNN reports "McCains Closing Argument: A push for Dived Government":
It is also very popular with DWSUWF.
"Do we really believe that the American public is going to feel safe by having both the head of the Congress and the head of the White House from the same party that has had so many challenges with the way they’ve run Washington over the last couple of years?" McCain campaign manager Rick Davis asked on Fox News Sunday. It’s a strategy popular with some high-profile conservative voices."
The Dallas Morning News endorses John McCain, fiscal responsibility and divided government:
And a very good argument indeed.
"Mr. McCain is the one who promised to freeze domestic spending his first year and then limit it to 2.4 percent growth the rest of his term. He also has been clear about the urgent need for entitlement reform. You don't see that kind of independence with Mr. Obama, who has marched in spending lockstep with his party and mostly ducked questions about entitlement reform and budget cuts. The last time the nation saw Washington make real progress on deficit reduction was the 1990s, when a Democrat controlled the White House and Republicans held Congress. True, Republicans failed to cover themselves in deficit-reduction glory when they held the executive and legislative branches, but we read that as an argument in favor of divided government."
Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times has the transcript of Chris Wallace interviewing campaign surrogates in "David Axelrod, Rick Davis exchange blows on Fox News Sunday":
Indeed. Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.
MR. WALLACE: "All right. Let's talk about this question of divided government, because I did some research on it. Nineteen of the 31 elections since World War II have either produced or maintained a split government, in the sense that the White House and at least one of the chambers of Congress have been occupied by different parties. And voters seem to like that arrangement, which raises the question, Governor Pawlenty, instead of going after Obama on William Ayers or ACORN, the left-wing voter registration group, would McCain be better advised to go after Obama and his links to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the idea that if they all get elected they'll pursue a left-wing agenda for this country?"
GOV. PAWLENTY: "...to the point you raise, I don't think the country is going to like what -- the Democratic Party running the table on taxes, on education, on health care, and have kind of the liberal, unchecked, imbalanced approach to all of those issues. It's going to be bad for the country. I think having John McCain as president to balance that out and be able to work across the aisle, as he has throughout his career, to get things done would be a good compromise; a good balance."
Even our cousins across the pond are getting into the act. The Economist has some good advice for the McCain campaign in "John McCain's Last Chance":
In a similar vein, the Wall Street Journal opined about - "A Liberal Supermajority":"The Democrats are likely to add at least another ten seats, and perhaps as many as 20, to their majority in the House. There is a real possibility that they may attain a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (Democrats are leading in eight Senate seats currently held by Republicans and are close in a couple of others; they control 51 of the 100 seats already). This will allow them to push through a wish-list of Democratic proposals on everything from “fair trade” to spending. The Republicans have only just started to point this out.
But Americans have a strong preference for divided government. America has only had one-party rule (with the same party controlling the White House and both chambers) for six years out of the 28 since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980—two years under Bill Clinton and four and a bit under George Bush. Mr McCain should argue forcefully that, as an experienced legislator who has worked with left-wing Democrats as well as right-wing Republicans, he will be the perfect man to check Congress where necessary and work with it where desirable"
The journal story was widely linked throughout the blogosphere, including DWSUWF and co-blogger Alan Scott Carl at Donklephant:
"Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on...
The fundamental question in this election is whether American's preference for divided government will be sufficient to overcome their anger and desire to punish the Republicans for the disaster of the Bush administration. Speaking for myself, I was happy to see the Republicans lose the majority in Congress in 2006. I will be happy to see Republicans punished again in 2008 with an even smaller minority in Congress. However, I do not want Democrats granted virtual monarchical power,One Party Rule, and license to govern unfettered by any meaningful opposition.
"...as we march toward giving the Democrats a potential supermajority, we really should consider the possible consequences. One-power rule is always a recipe for overreach."
Dennis Sanders at The Moderate Voice is still on the fence in "Moving into Ambiguity":
Right diagnosis but wrong prescription, Dennis. We cannot get to divided government this year by voting GOP down ticket. The Dems are going to expand their majorities and possibly have a filibuster proof super majority in the Senate. The only way to re-elect Divided Government in 2008, is elect John McCain for President. It is the right thing to do.
"...with Obama in the White House and bigger Democratic majority, would we have liberalism run amok? I wasn’t crazy with the GOP running the show from 2000-2006 and I’m none too crazy with having the Dems run everything. Absolute power tends to produce pretty lousy government. Could a President Obama become a check against going overboard, or will he just be an enabler like President Bush? I don’t know. So, there it is. I’m probably still leaning towards McCain, but I’m basically on the fence. I will vote for Republicans down-ballot because I want to have some divided government. As for President, we will find out."
Mark Landsbaum at Orange Punch, a liberty blog of the Orange County Register offers some lessons in Democracy and protecting minority rights in "Democracy: 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner":
"Here’s a vote for a divided government in Washington, where Democrats soon may find themselves in charge of each branch, directly by election and indirectly by appointment. We suspect if they do, they will proclaim they’ve received a “mandate” and that the people’s will must be enacted. The will of the people. What a fascinating concept... Is it wise for one party to control all branches of government? Is it even less wise when that party’s own propensity is to seek to do the majority’s will with the power to rob and loot others, but not their own?... It could be a dangerous four years."
Well. That was kind of depressing. I don't want to think about that right now.
How about we check in with Ray Harvey presenting Bailout posted at Blog of the-thinking-man.com where he defines some terms, and deconstructs the bailout:
A well thought out argument, but I don't agree with the premise that there is no difference between a divided government or one party rule under either the Democrats or Republicans. Too much historical evidence documented by political scientists, economists, and historians stand in contradiction. there is a very big difference.
"Mercantilism is in every significant way the exact opposite of laissez-faire capitalism. Most businessmen today are not capitalists — insofar as they seek, demand, and receive government subsidies, or governmental protection from competition. This is also known as rule by special interest. It’s not only the type of system we live under in the United States today: it’s the system we’ve lived under for over a century now. Nominally, the U.S. is ruled by a divided government consisting of two primary parties, which are in a state of more or less perpetual gridlock, but this distinction, as we shall see, is only apparent... The truth about this once-great nation is that the right and the left are not fundamentally opposed: they’re two aspects of the same theme, and that theme is mercantilism."
Donald Hawthorne at Anchor Rising expores some of the consequences of the bailout in "An Argument for Divided Government":
An inspirational call to action.
"Many of us don't like McCain and also think he has run a terrible campaign. But the more we learn about Obama, the more willing some of us will be to hold our nose and vote for McCain. Because, in the end, it's not just Obama. It's the risk of Obama, possibly a filibuster-proof Senate under Reid, and a Pelosi-led House. Unrestrained left-wing politics.Which leads Fred Barnes to these thoughts. If we can't send the entire Federal government home on an extended paid vacation, then a vote for divided government may be the best we can hope for."
Teresa at Terry Ann Online also has a few things to say about "Divided Government":
Yup. It is all pretty obvious Terry. I am surprised and disappointed that more have not noticed.
"Divided government is one of the strongest argument McCain has... He needs to continually hit on this point in the next few weeks. Everyone keepson talking about President Bush's approval ratings, however, the American people aren't exactly ecstatic with the current Congress either. If you haven't noticed yet Speaker Pelosi and friends haven't gotten much done lately because they are waiting for a Democratic president who probably won't veto their legislation and reign them in. Check and balance."
Jeremy Hinton at Bering Drift explores McCain's "New Campaign Tactic: Divided Government is Good":
Jeremy does not take his valid point far enough. It is enough to change his vote.
"It looks like there may be a new argument being weather ballooned by the McCain campaign, namely that having the same party in control of both the Legislative and Executive branches of government may not be the best thing for the country. Johnathan Martin at Politico has the details. Of course, the interesting thing is that the premise for this presupposes a poor showing for Republicans in Congress. Personally, i think this may be McCain’s best argument yet in the pursuit of independents. Just looking over Bush’s term, one can see the validity. I even agree to a point.."
At PoliGazette, Michael Van Der Galien and Michael Merritt published an interesting series of posts on Divided Government since our last carnival.
The McCain Plan to Victory is Quite Simple:Will McCain Push for Divided Government?:"McCain should have made the case for divided government. It is likely that Democrats will not only win the presidential elections, but will also hold on to Congress. They may even expand their lead. This means that if Obama wins, Democrats will run every branch of the government. Although this would not have been a big problem if Democratic leaders were moderates, unwilling to give even a dime to special interests, the reality of the situation is somewhat different: three names - Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank..."Divided Government - Its a Blessing:"I’ve previously expressed my support for divided government. I argued that it forces Congress and the president to work together in order to come up with a bill that will pass, but not pull the country in too far in one wrong direction or another. I believe both the liberal and conservative extremes are bad for America, and divided government helps to stop us moving toward one of those extremes too quickly. So an endorsement for divided government is intriguing. ""Make no mistake about it: America’s founding fathers believed divided government to be beneficial, even necessary for society and government to function. The video below, which makes the point, comes partially from West Wing, a television series truly produced by geniuses (it has tremendous academic influence, for instance)."
Ok, that last one was a bit self-serving, as Michael is reviewing a DWSUWF video, linked from this recent post.
Laura Ebke at Red State Eclectic also had some good things to say about that same video in "For Divided Goverment":
I can't help but think that Larua is a particularly intelligent and brilliant analytical blogger.
"An occasional correspondent, and fellow that I've come to agree with a lot of the time, "mw" of Divided We Stand United We Fall blog, has a great article over on his site, and has put this video together. Watch the video, then go over and read what he has to say. Needless to say, I agree. "
Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit quotes Craig Henry at Lead and Gold in "WHAT'S MISSING THIS ELECTION CYCLE:"
Well, DWSUWF may not be "establishment", but we have been a model of consistency.
"I have not seen the establishment pundits writing/commenting on the joys of divided government. You know, like in 1996 when they suggested that the country would benefit if Democrat Clinton balanced the Republican congress." Well, silly, there's no Republican congress to balance this time!"
Ken Blanchard at South Dakota Politics analyzes "Change We Can Be Suspicious About":
Ken also has some interesting insight into one of the insufficiently understood and vetted actors in this passion play - the inimitable David Axelrod aka Barack's Brain. check it out.
"...there is a reason why post-war America didn't turn out like post-war Europe. Divided government is the most basic theme of the American system, and it makes it harder for any single vision to be imposed on the whole structure of society and the economy. President Obama, if he shows up next January, will find that "change" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some of those different things will turn out to be mutually irreconcilable."
Finally, the media assault on "Joe the Plumber" prompted an angry letter from a reader to Mark Hemingway at The Corner:
The letter hit a nerve, and was linked by DogFight at Bankstown, Rattler Gator, The Real Barack Obama, Cartago Delenda Est, Wizbang, and others.
"I really don't like McCain. I'll probably vote for him just as a vote for divided government. I'm far too libertarian in my leanings to be comfortable with McCain (or Obama, for that matter). That said, the way the pro-Obama media and bloggers, and Obama himself, have responded to Joe has got me nearly shaking with rage. They are attempting to destroy a man — a private citizen — who had the audacity to ask The One a question."
Traditionally, we conclude this Carnival by including one "off-topic" submission, as a grudging acknowledgment and proxy for the many off-topic submissions received. Off-topic in this context meaning - no mentions of "divided government" or gridlock. For this edition we selected Doug Boude presenting "The 42 Year Old (Political) Virgin" posted at Doug Boude (rhymes with 'loud'), saying:
My advice for you Doug... Just Vote Divided.
"As I stated earlier, I feel it...there's something about this election, this time in our history, this place that the world finds itself in that is foreboding and frightening. The world's on the brink of so many things, some amazingly good, some amazingly horrifying. For this reason, and because (though I may be but a single drop in the ocean) my presence, however miniscule, DOES count, I have registered to vote and will do so for the first time in my life this coming November."
And with that we conclude this edition. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for all of the submissions (on-topic or not). we will once again attempt to increase our CODGOV posting frequency between now and the election. Look for the next edition of The Carnival of Divided Government Octâvus et Vîcênsimus (XXVIII) - Special Stretch Run Edition in about a week. Submit your blog article at carnival of divided government using our carnival submission form.
Some recent carnivals and compilations of note:
- Bobo presents "Bobo's Carnival of Politics" posted at The Bobo Files.
- The Quisani League presents the "Carnival of Conservatism".
- Dr. Pat Santy presents "Carnival of the Insanities" at Doctor Sanity.
- Daniel presents the "Carnival of Ohio Politics #139 posted at COOP.
- Billspaced presents "Rants -- Oct 23,2008" posted at Rants n' Reviews.