Monday, January 08, 2007

Carnival of Divided Government NONUS - Broken Resolution Edition

Welcome to the ninth edition of the Carnival of Divided Government - The 2007 Broken Resolution Edition. As 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 Carnival of Divided Government NONUS - 2007 Broken Resolution 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 befuddlement, is ignored by many of the bloggers submitting posts, which sadly results in DWSUWF reluctantly ignoring their fine submissions.

Resolved for 2007 (or not)
1) DWSUWF resolves to post CODGOV-NONUS New Year Resolutions Edition on January 1st CODGOV NONUS Broken Resolutions Edition on January 8th.

2) Nancy Pelosi resolves to lead the “most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.” most honest, most open, most ethical Congress that does not inconveniently interfere with ramming the new Democratic agenda through the House of Representatives. The ethical and honest part remains to be seen, but at least the "open" part will have to wait for 100 legislative hours or so as the speaker uses the very same Republican House rules that she complained so bitterly about while in the minority, to steamroll the current Republican minority. After all, the end justifies the means, does it not? And, in any case it will only be for a little while, unless of course, circumstance totally beyond Nancy's control dictate she maintain those rules for the indefinite future.

John acknowledges the broken resolution, but rationalizes it with a "payback is a bitch" argument and makes unsympathetic note of the predictable , yet ironic GOP reaction in "Blogs for Crying me a River" posted at Hell's Handmaiden.

"It is a valid complaint– hypothetically speaking. Party politics for the sake of party politics is bad government. That much is wrong on both sides of the equation. However, when the bully does finally get his nose bloodied, don’t expect anyone to sympathize with his cries of foul play."

J.C. Wilmore
, on the other hand, adopts a simplistic partisan view that the Republicans are bad, the Democrats are good, so anything we do to them is justified in "Why Republicans will be excluded from power in the 110th Congress" posted at The Richmond Democrat citing a Rolling Stone analysis of the 109th Congress:

"Why would anyone want input from people who behave so clownishly? When they lost the mid-terms elections the Republicans never batted an eye: they re-elected the same people to leadership positions that had excluded the Democrats from legislative meetings when the Republicans had the majority. Democratic control of Congress restores a healthy measure of division to our government and will produce accountability, not gridlock. Read
Taibbi's [Rolling Stone] article and decide for yourselves whether these scoundrels deserve to have any part in setting the agenda for the 110th Congress."

J.C. uses the word "gridlock" as if it's a bad thing.

Pastor Alan Bevere sermonizes (being a Methodist I presume he is not pontificating) in a more even-handed and accurate manner in "Second Verse Same as the First" posted at his personal blog and at Red-Blue Christian:

"Soon-to-be Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi also echoed the promise of bi-partisanship the day after the election. But in an all too familiar refrain heard from both sides throughout the years, House Democrats now plan to shut out House Republicans, at least in the initial days of legislating... Do I want Republicans and Democrats to work in a bi-partisan manner? Not really. Actually, I prefer arguing, bickering, and gridlock so that government gets very little done. Since government seems unable to willfully limit itself, a divided government is the only recourse, even though it is more unpleasant."
DWSUWF is just waiting to see if Nancy does indeed willingly surrender the ring of power after 100 hours.

3) George W Bush resolves to listen to the findings of the Iraq Study Group, the voice of the voters, and his generals in the field while developing a new course of action in Iraq. do whatever he damn well pleases in Iraq, including "surging" the troop deployments despite opposition from Democrats, Republicans, the military leadership, the American people, the Iraqis and the troops in the field.

Rey Thomas analyzes this broken resolution in The Thomas Political Report: For Bush, Troop Surge Is Last, Best and Worst Hope posted at The Thomas Political Report:

"President Bush and his brain trust still have the weekend to put the finishing touches on his new Iraq war initiative but it’s evident that an increase in ground troops of at least twenty thousand and possibly forty thousand will be the main piece to the puzzle. Unlike in the past, this current Bush White House is showing deep divisions over whether this is the right policy but the President has made the decision to go forward with the troop surge as soon as his new diplomatic and military teams are in place."

While at the Washington Post Jim Kunhenn of the Associated Press invokes the divided government challenge facing the President promoting the surge strategy in the article "Dems Prepare Slew of Oversight Hearings":

"In this new era of divided government, the congressional hearing room is where the executive and legislative branches will clash. Over the next few weeks, Senate Democrats plan to hold at least 11 hearings just on Iraq... House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Reid wrote Bush last week to express their opposition to a potential temporary increase in the number of troops in Iraq - an idea Bush is said to be considering."

Mark Silva
quotes DWSUWF favorite Norm Ornstein in "Bush v Bush - The next two years" posted at the Chicago Tribune's Swamp:
"When you get into this situation of a divided government, you have a shotgun marriage," said Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "You have incentives on both sides to make something happen. "Bush's incentive is legacy," Ornstein suggested. "The more the reality sets in that his legacy will be dominated by Iraq, the more he has an incentive to at least temper that a little bit and to make sure that in the next two years he can show that he is relevant."
4) DWSUWF resolves to maintain a laser like focus in this blog on the topic Divided Government in the United States Federal government exclusively begin to broaden our exploration of Divided Government with posts, news and scholarship exploring the divided government concept on global, state, and local level. For example:
Xyba looks at some State of Virginia divided government posturing in "The Impasse in Richmond" posted at Once More Into the Breach, saying:
"Rather that find some workable solution or accept that throwing money at it will be insufficient to remedy the problem, he wants to combine the two houses of the General Assembly to grease the grooves of the legislative process... One can hardly imagine the pocket picking nonsense that would flood out of Richmond from an efficient legislature."
Robert Elgie of Dublin City University explores "Divided Government in Comparative Perspective" at Oxford Scholarship Online (A tome I further resolve to read at sometime in 2007):
"Divided government occurs when the executive fails to enjoy majority support in at least one house of the legislature. To date, the study of divided government has focused almost exclusively on the US. However, divided government occurs much more widely in other presidential systems and is the equivalent of minority government in parliamentary regimes. This book examines the frequency, causes, and management of divided government in a comparative context, identifying the similarities and differences between various countries around the world."
5) Finally, DWSUWF further resolves to never post any off topic submissions in the Carnival of Divided Government that do not include the words/concept of divided government just this once post these three wildly off-topic submissions that completely ignore the Carnival guidelines, and have absolutely nothing to do with the topics and intent of this Carnival:

Jack Yoest presents Rocky Balboa: Courage, Integrity, Faith, Victory The Movie posted at Reasoned Audacity.
John presents Saddam’s Fall: The Hard-Earned Trophy posted at The Largest Minority.
Vihar Sheth presents Our Responsibility to Every American posted at Vihar Sheth.

I hate to end on a negative note. How about one (as yet) unbroken resolution for 2007...

6) DWSUWF resolves to remember "The Rules of Divided Government" - helpfully disinterred from the the crypt of the Clinton Adminstration by Mark Thomas at The Economists View:
"The rules are fairly simple:
1. Anything good that happens is because of legislation from congress.
2. Anything bad that happens is the president's fault.
These rules apply without exception."
With that note 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 DECIMUS - Special Presidents' Day Edition, which we have firmly resolved to be posted on Monday, February 19. Really. 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.

More Carnivale

UPDATED 15-January-2007

If you enjoyed this carnival, you should also check out the latest Carnival of the Insanities posted at Dr. Sanity, Economics and Social Policy Blog Carnival posted at The Boring Made Dull, Carnival of the Liberals #29 posted at Daylight Atheism, Carnival of the Vanities #222 Early Christmas Edition posted at Silfay Hraka, and Carnival of Satire (#61) posted at Mark Rayner's irregular weblog "The Skwib", all of which have seen fit to include recent DWSUWF contributions among many other fine posts.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.

Carnival of Divided Government


Anonymous said...

With divided government we will never make any progress for the libertarian movement. Libertarian Republican Congressman will be blocked from passing any legislation to cut back government. We need to build the Libertarian Republican movement and win back the Congress for the GOP for 2008. Maybe libertarian-leaning Giuliani will be President by then?

Eric Dondero, CEO

mw said...

"With divided government we will never make any progress for the libertarian movement." - ED

Presumably you are advocating libertarian fealty to the Republican party. Nonsense. That is the absolutely wrong thing to do on either the basis of advancing limited government principles and/or libertarian political clout. Supporting the documented benefits of divided government by voting Democratic in the 2006 election, was not the same as "finding a home" in the Democratic party. It was simply tactical support to obtain an immediate and desirable result: Fiscal restraint and better federal governance through the mechanism of divided government. We are already seeing the benefits of divided government early in 2007. To continue to support big spending, big deficit, big government Republican single party control of the Federal Government in the face of what has actually transpired over the last six years would've been complete folly.

In fact, since we did achieve the result of divided government through the support of Democratic candidates in 2006, the supporters of limited government now have a strong foundation for supporting the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, with the enhanced hope that the next Republican President will actually "walk the walk".

For limited government advocates, Republican vs. Democrat is a false choice. The real choice is Divided Government vs. Single Party control.

Divided Government is documented by Niskanen to work in a practical real-world manner to restrain the growth of the state. As a voting strategy it can be implemented immediately.

Whatever the percentage of the electorate that libertarians represent, whether it is 9% or 20%, if they vote as a block for Divided Government, they immediately become the brokers of an evenly split partisan electorate. They arguably become the single most most potent voting block in the country, specifically because they are willing to vote either Democratic or Republican as a block. Specifically because they are not fused to one major party or the other.

This means, libertarians must ignore what the politicians say and look at what the government actually does (Niskanen again). It means ignoring spurious invitations to fuse with with either "big tent" party that no longer stands for anything meaningful. It meant voting straight Democratic in 2006, and it means voting Republican for President in 2008. It means the difference between libertarians being a completely impotent political force, and libertarians having the biggest swinging political "hammer" in town.

That said, I'm good with Giuliani in 2008. He is my third Republican choice for president behind Hagel and Paul. He'd be number 1 if he was not so wrong on the Iraq war in 2003 and an apologist for this administrations failed war strategies.