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In praise of scorched Earth partisanism - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
In praise of scorched Earth partisanism
You won't hear me praise scorched-earth politics very often, but I was reading an article this morning lamenting the fact that we've come to a place culturally where the parties are so much at war with each other that you can't get anything passed without a "super-majority," and I thought...

Well, duh.

It's apparent just looking at my f-list that people's minds are going in wildly opposite directions, that they're fearing radically different things, and that not only can they not agree on a stance on important issues, they also can't agree what important issues are. And when the public is divided this way, the system is, in fact, designed to have the gears jam up, and stay jammed up until the country calms down and gets in the mood for normalcy again. Then we can work on the things that nearly everyone agrees on in principle (space exploration, undersea exploration, research in alternative fuel, and so on), without the culture wars getting in the way of it. But right now, if either side gets its way, the other side is going to retaliate and scream until it gets its way on something, and the pendulum will just go back and forth. Even the issues that are actually neutral end up being polarized. (Alternative fuel--liberal concern, though conservatives who don't want foreign entanglements and anyone who lives on the planet probably ought to be paying attention to it; space exploration--how can we do it when people are starving in third world countries? Or the libertarian position, what's the government doing in this? So on and so forth.) Better that no one is getting his or her way right now.

These moods pass. The system is designed to not allow them to do too much damage while they still hold sway.

So, good. We're gridlocked. When we're in this mood, we're supposed to be gridlocked. I'm happy to let the system absorb it until it's, well, out of our system.
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Comments
isiscolo From: isiscolo Date: July 12th, 2004 11:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Ding! That's why we usually elect a president from the party that doesn't control the legislature, or vice versa, or split the houses. Gridlock is good, because it ensures that nothing too radical gets through. Sometimes, inaction really is better than action.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 12th, 2004 11:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Exactly. In my own home state of Massachusetts, we've had three Republican governors in a row, and a legislature that's 98% (or roughly so) Democratic. They frustrate the hell out of each other, while the rest of us go about our business. :)
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: July 13th, 2004 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope you don't mind, I'm quoting this pretty much verbatim in riba_rambles
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