Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Carnival of Divided Government Septimus Decimus - Scary Halloween Edition

Welcome to the October 31, 2007 edition of the Carnival of Divided Government Septimus Decimus - Scary Halloween Edition. This the latest in a continuing series of irregularly scheduled compilations of bloody blog posts, ghostly essays, and horrifying articles on divided government conjured up from the blogosphere and the demon infested inferno of main stream media.

While scary, this carnival cannot compare to the heart stopping fear induced by yet another Presidential debate. Last night, it was the Democrats in Philadelphia on MSNBC. I had to choose between attempting yet another death defying live-blogging the
live-bloggers or get this Carnival edition out on time. Since you are reading this (hopefully on Halloween) - you already know I chose to fulfill my Carnival responsibility. I chose wisely, but did watch the debate. Seeing Edwards, Dodd and Obama stalking Clinton, shooting silver bullets, and attempting to put a stake through the heart of the vampire queen put me in the right mood for this carnival theme. Equally frightening, was watching the undead candidacy of Richardson and Kucinich desperately searching for fresh blood and invoking UFO's. Spooky. As usual, a good summary and coverage by Andrew Sullivan, Joe Gandelman and Nick Gillespie.


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 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 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. Without further ado...

Ten Spine Tingling Divided Government Posts.

We begin with Andrew Roth at The Club for Growth, who fears that "Congress Reaches the Wrong Milestone":
"My good friend Rob Bluey notes that the U.S. House has had more than 1,000 roll call votes so far this year. On the surface, it looks like the Democrats are doing something, but if you investigate further, you'll see that they aren't doing much of anything. Of course, this is a double edge sword. Divided government is preventing a lot of bad proposals from passing, but it's also preventing a lot of good ones, too."
Nothing to be afraid of Andrew. That is the way divided government is supposed to work. You see, the Democrats may not agree that the bills that are being prevented from passing are all "good ones". When Democrats and Republicans craft bills that both agree is a "good one", it will pass.

BNJ at Cynical Nation is haunted by the bone chilling realization that maintaining a divided government means voting Republican for President, and choosing from that lot presents quite "The libertarian dilemma":

"Yeah, there are things about Rudy that concern me. There are aspects of all the candidates that concern me. Most libertarians I know are accustomed to making tough, pragmatic choices as to which half-a-loaf they're going to cast their lot with. So what's a small-l libertarian to do? All the Democrats, without exception, want to roll back the Bush tax cuts, so that puts them at an extreme disadvantage with me right off the bat. Furthermore, I think divided government is the best friend a libertarian can have in the real world. With Congress firmly in Democratic hands, I'm reluctant to send a Democrat to the White House unless I just have to."

He does not have to send a Democrat to the White House in 2008. I hope my comment exorcised his electoral demons. This edition BNJ scores a rare two-fer with his perfectly titled post "The Joys of Divided Government":

"I was just encouraged that Bush could actually veto a spending bill, because I was really beginning to doubt it. But this is exactly why I think divided government is the least of all evils. Does anyone doubt for a minute that Bush would have happily signed the exact same bill had it been sent to him by a Republican congress? I don't. God knows he signed off much worse budgetary abominations during the past six years."

So true.

Christopher arrives at a similar conclusion at the The Charter of Dreams when he invokes the nightmare of single party control of the federal government. His post has a complex title utilized frightening new mind control technology "The Presidential Logic of a Giuliani Candidacy: New York City (the way it was) and Divided Government":
"Finally, the Democrats will probably hold onto the House and Senate in 2008 (because the GOP screwed up -- and they know it), so by putting a Giuliani in the White House, we'll be giving divided government a chance. Disclosure about how well I'm trying to manipulate you: the headline of this post has an Emotional Marketing Value Score of 47.06% with equal appeals to your intellectual and empathetic spheres . . ."

I had no idea WTF Christopher was talking about with that title score, but I did find it oddly compelling. Following the link, I determimed that the title of this post has a barely competent EMV score of 30%.

Chad Wilcox at Quiet Declarations has "A different take on Conservatism":
"...the challenge of that definition of conservativism is that it’s by definition a reactionary ideology, which may help to explain why it’s most effective when it is in a position of checking (as in a minority or divided government) or reforming (see: Contract with America) as opposed to enacting and executing laws derived from a consistent set of principles."
It is as good a theory as any to explain why good "Dr. Jekyll" conservatives turn into evil "Mr. Hyde" Big Spending, Big Deficit, Big Government Republicans when they hold all the cards in Washington.

Jacques Mistral at InTimeConviction explains the US government to his countrymen in "A Washington, le Congrès gouverne, le Président administre" [In Washington, the Congress controls, the President manages]:
"D’où le Congrès tire-t-il son pouvoir opérationnel, disons son pouvoir de gouverner puisque c’est le terme employé à propos du partage des tâches entre la Maison Blanche et la Colline (à titre d’exemple, l’équivalent de ce que nous appelons cohabitation se dit "divided government")? Tout simplement de ce que c’est lui, pas le pouvoir exécutif, qui décide des programmes, de la création des agences chargées de les mettre en œuvre et de leur financement, de ce qu’il consent, au Sénat, à la nomination de leur dirigeant et procède finalement à leur évaluation permanente au fil d’innombrables hearings."
I cannot disagree.

XWL at Immodest Proposals has been digging in the dark dusty graveyard of the NYT archives and unearthed an eerie parallel to the 1920 presidential election in "The more things change":
"Partisanship is nothing new. Fear of an overcharged executive branch is nothing new. For those playing along at home [my party]=Republican Party, [other party]=Democratic Party, and [foreign entanglement]=joining the League of Nations. The more things change . . . I wonder how much of this script will Sen. Clinton pick up? Will she suggest ending 'divided government' be a good thing? Will she suggest that she will rein in the executive branch? Will she offer a foreign policy that gives "peace in industry"? Will she offer the people "relief from anxiety and gratitude for a common-sense future"?"
Will the ghosts of election pasts possess the Democratic front runner? We shall see.

I suspect that Jimmy Atkinson gratuitously inserted the worlds "divided government" into his post "Comparison: Presidential Candidates on Major Healthcare Issues" posted at NOEDb: Nursing Online Education Database just to meet our criteria for inclusion in this carnival:
"Americans have lost patience with a failing healthcare system in our divided government, but some answers - such as a universal healthcare system - meet resistance in some quarters. The dissatisfaction is so palpable that other countries have picked up on the raw statistics to use as comparisons to their systems. This article addresses prominent healthcare problems and how each Republican and Democratic presidential candidate stands on those issues."
No matter. Rules are rules. If you mention divided government, you're in the carnival. Regardless, this is a great post, as Jimmy offers an excellent and comprehensive overview of health care issues and the positions staked out by the major presidential candidates. Well worth the read.

TBlumer at Bizzy Blog is experiencing some time management issues, but is not too busy to note this benefit of divided government in "So Many Posts Backed up, So Little Time":
"The federal deficit came in at $162.8 billion, down over 1/3 from last year, and $98 billion lower than where Bush in 2003 or 2004 promised it would be in the 2009-2010 budget, i.e., two years from now. September revenues were right at what I expected, but September spending was even lower than expected. Those who think that divided government in Washington is a good thing have a measure of vindication in the fact that total 2006-2007 spending was only 2.8% higher than 2005-2006 — not much higher than inflation, and the lowest rate of increase in a very long time."
Ah... sweet sweet vindication.

Barbara O'Brien at the Mahablog missed the last Republican debate and ruminates about the history and future of Conservatism in America after reading a Guardian article in "Wild Things":
"Tomasky points out that “movement conservatism” has been around since the 1950s, but not until the Bush Administration did movement conservatives have complete control of the federal government. Reagan had a Democratic Congress, and when the Republicans took over the Congress in the 1990s they had to deal with a Democratic president. Divided government moderated what the Right could achieve and provided righties with someone to blame for whatever went wrong."
Good observation, and with any luck, in 2009, divided government will moderate what the left can achieve and provided lefties with someone to blame for whatever goes wrong. I love it when a plan comes together.

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not modestly note some of the reaction to an excellent recent post on the subject by um... me. Bloggers joining the conversation initiated by said post "Voting By Objective" include: Mike the Actuary musing "On the Benefits of Divided Government"; Michael van der Galiën asking "Why Should You Vote for Divided Government"; Pete Abel posting at Central Sanity with "Divided-Government vs. Best-Candidate Voting", and at the Moderate Voice with "Situational vs. Ideological Voting".

One marginally off-topic post.

Finally, although we try to keep this carnival focused on the specific topic of divided government, we traditionally include one off topic post as a grudging acknowledgment and symbolic proxy for the many off-topic posts submitted. This month we venture overseas, with a post that does not speak to US divided government issues at all, is focused on a purely local issue, but nevertheless speaks to the efficacy of restraining bad government at bay by keeping politicians at each others throat.

Riversider presents "Ribble Barrage and Floodplain Building Developments Take 'Backward Step' - Has The Ribble Been Saved?" posted at Save The Ribble, saying,
"We are winning our environmental argument by setting one local council against another using the power of local blogging. Divide and Rule works both ways!"
As a fisherman, with an abiding affection for natural, healthy, free-flowing trout infested rivers, I really enjoyed reading Riversider's account of the efforts to save the Ribble. Check it out.


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 Duodêvîcêsimus - Special Winter Solstice Edition, to be posted on or about December 22nd, 2007. It'll be a long stretch between now and then - unavoidable since my wife and I will be leaving next week for a month long trip exploring West Africa, and the blog will likely be on hiatus. Unavoidable unless - somebody would like to volunteer to host a Carnival of Divided Government between now and then. If you are up for it, Send me an email at DWSUWF AT Gmail DOT com. In either case, Blog articles may be submitted for the next carnival of divided government using the carnival submission form. Past posts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

UPDATE: 11/02/07 11/09/07
I know this is well past Halloween, but I needed to add a few more links.


Some recent carnivals and compilations of note:

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.

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