Hip, Hip — if Not Hooray — for a Standstill NationBy PETER BAKER
"Is this any way to run a country? As it happens, yes. Ideal it is not. Inspiring, hardly at all. But the fractious, backbiting, finger-pointing, polarizing, partisan, kick-the-can-down-the-road brinkmanship of Washington politics these days is, let’s face it, the reality of American governance in the modern era. For all the hand-wringing about how the system is broken, this is the system as it was designed and is now adapted for the digital age. All the high-minded vows to put politics aside for the greater good ignore the fact that the system is built on politics, with the idea that politics, however ugly, eventually can produce a greater good, however imperfect...
Moreover, it’s useful to remember that the founders devised the system to be difficult, dividing power between states and the federal government, then further dividing the federal government into three branches, then further dividing the legislative branch into two houses. The idea, James Madison wrote, was to keep factions from gaining too much power, presuming that “a coalition of a majority of the whole society could seldom take place on any other principles than those of justice and the general good.”
And to be sure, gridlock is in the eye of the beholder. For those whose ox would get gored — for instance, those adamantly opposed to tax increases or to cuts in entitlement benefits — a little stalemate may not seem like a bad thing if it prevents what they consider a worse outcome. One person’s obstructionism is another’s principled opposition."
In any case - the read is well worth consuming one of your 20 free NYT articles in June.
Divided and Balanced.™
Now that is fair.
Now that is fair.