Whose Fault is all This Gridlock?

August 1, 2011

We have met the enemy and he is us. It’s not our Representatives. It’s the People and their expectations.

We have put a Socialist in the Oval Office, a fiscally conservative group in the House and a mixed bag in the Senate, mostly reflecting the Senate’s staggered six-year terms.

If these Representatives were craven hacks who were just going to do whatever an opinion poll suggested, then they could have come to a conclusion months ago. Actually, these are people with very different points of view, and to expect them to essentially betray the people who elected them to come to an agreement without a fight challenges the very concept of the Republic.

The Founders designed this process to be inefficient, and they purposely designed the House to reflect nearer-term public opinion than the Presidency and the Senate. That the People expect big issues like this to be resolved like an episode of Fantasy Island represents an infantilization of the electorate that is a great danger. People like that could elect to the White House an ideologue with no administrative experience who pretends to be one thing while actually desiring to do something completely different. That would be disastrous, indeed.

If the People want quick action without any debate, then they can elect one side or the other to dominate the House, the Senate, and to occupy the White House. They did that in 2008, and they got union payoffs, a “stimulus” program, health care “reform,” and $4 trillion (and counting) of additional debt. Now, opinion polls say the People didn’t want any of those things.

Now, then, really, whose fault is that?

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