Checks & Balances

2016Primariesby Jon N. Hall11/8/16
Divided Government or Undivided Government. That Is the Question  •  Some Americans believe that “divided government” is the way to go. They believe it’s healthy to have Congress and the president each controlled by people from different political parties. Divided government, they theorize, can provide checks on the excesses of both elective branches of the federal government, and can even push both sides to compromise in the so-called “center.”

The biggest question the nation is fixated on right now is who’s going to be the next president. I think a bigger question might be which party will control the Senate and the House. But a question that might be even bigger than those two is this: Do we want divided government or undivided government?

The biggest mistake voters could make next Tuesday would be putting Democrats back in control of both houses of Congress and the presidency. The last time America had “unified” government under the Democrats (where they had both houses of Congress and the presidency) was during Obama’s first two years. Those two years led to Obamacare, our first trillion-dollar deficits, and the failed stimulus program, about which our Entertainer in Chief joked: “Shovel-ready was not as, uh, shovel-ready as we expected.” (What’s the big deal; the stimulus cost us only $831 billion?)

Unified government under the Democrats is a horrible idea. And if Democrats got a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate, as they briefly had during the debate over Obamacare, they’d make America unrecognizable. If voters just have to have Hillary, they had better put a check on her with a Republican Congress, or voters will get a lot more than they bargained for. Fortunately, the chances of the House changing hands look remote, and the prospects for Republicans to hold the Senate are looking decent. Therefore, a vote for Hillary is probably a vote for divided government.

Mrs. Clinton’s deepening legal scandals threaten to doom her presidency. Her use of a private server alone should be disqualifying, and the list of felonies she seems to have committed continues to grow; watch this video for a partial list. Those violations, however, were itemized back in October, and the list is getting longer. On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Wall Street Journal ran “Secret Recordings Fueled FBI Feud in Clinton Probe,” a fascinating report on the rift between the Justice Dept. and the FBI over whether to investigate the Clinton Foundation.

If lawlessness and criminality in the federal government sticks in your craw, and you’d like to see these bozos get their comeuppance, then voting for Clinton and her rubberstamp Democrat Congress is not an option. The voter shouldn’t expect Hillary to go after Hillary. If the voter really thinks we need to “drain the swamp” of official corruption in D.C., then the only option is a unified government of Trump and an all-Republican Congress. That’s the only shot we have this election cycle to restore decency in D.C.

It’s been going around that Hillary Clinton is the “most qualified” person ever to run for the U.S. presidency. Would that include George Washington, who led the forces that broke with England to establish this nation? Does it include James Madison, the Father of the Constitution? Does it include Dwight Eisenhower who commanded the largest military invasion in history and brought freedom to Europe? For that matter, does it include the man Mrs. Clinton’s husband beat in 1992, George H.W. Bush?

When the elder Bush was sworn into office in 1989, he had served in the U.S. House, been the ambassador to the United Nations, Director of the C.I.A., envoy to China, and had been vice president for eight years, which included actually acting as president when Reagan was recovering from gunshot wounds. Not only that, Bush served in World War Two as an aviator, getting shot down in the Pacific Ocean. He was also an entrepreneur, starting up an oil business that made him a millionaire. You can quickly scan Bush’s impressive credentials at Wikipedia by scrolling down and looking at the Contents box. Also, when Mrs. Clinton’s husband beat him, Bush had been president for four years and had successfully prosecuted a war, making short work of it by assembling a huge coalition. Yet, in 1992 American voters rejected the man with all the qualifications and opted for the dog, the so-called “Big Dog.”

Democrats got a chance at unified government back in 1992 and they “screwed the pooch.” Two years later, voters gave both houses of Congress to Republicans for the first time in 42 years, an historic loss for the Democrats. Democrats got another chance at unified government in 2008, and they again messed up. Folks were so appalled by the unified government under Pelosi-Reid-Obama that they gave the House back to Republicans in 2010 in a wave election.

If Americans were so silly as to give both the Congress and the presidency to the Democrats in this election, voters will likely ping-pong back to sanity in 2018, just as they did in 2010 and in 1994 — but the damage will have been done. So if you just gotta vote for the first female president, despite her many failings, at least vote Republican for Congress to put a check on her “excesses.”

With a unified government, a President Trump would have one restraint to keep him on the straight and narrow that Hillary wouldn’t have. We don’t really know what kind of president Trump would be, but I think he might pleasantly surprise us on the upside, (read “The Case for Trump” by Victor Davis Hanson). And don’t worry about Trump having the nuclear codes; under a Hillary presidency they’ll end up on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.


Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. • (262 views)

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5 Responses to Checks & Balances

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One wonders if anyone actually votes for divided government or if it just works out that way. And it’s a good question in regards to whether a Democrat House/Senate or a Republican House/Senate would be a better check on Trump.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    And don’t worry about Trump having the nuclear codes; under a Hillary presidency they’ll end up on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

    LOL. There’s probably some truth to that. I love it when people get off their high horses of seriousness and insert a little humor into things. Nice line, Jon.

    With a likely Hillary presidency (unless we have “Dewey Defeats Truman” surprise), the good news is that the woman is fundamentally incompetent. Nor does she have the slick tongue of our current Community-Organizer-in-Chief. Nor do I think other Democrats will have the Fear of the Clintons to restrict them. In fact, I think from the day of her coronation as the First Affirmative Action Female the other Democrats will be positioning themselves for 2020. It’s arguable that the Scandal Meter on the Clintons is near full and thus they don’t have the clout they used to. That’s a strange thing to say when Bill will be co-president but he’s a withered husk of his old self, Hillary is fundamentally unlikable, and it’s likely events will overtake and overwhelm her.

    But I’m not leaving the country. Hell, I already live in a deep blue state. The Communists in Seattle are batshit crazy. I might move to Texas if it gets really bad but I’d rather stand my ground. We’re going to all need to stand our grand on things here and there or else just lop your balls off and go with the estrogen flow.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    As an aside, Kevin Williamson concludes his recent article, A Republic, Not a Dairy, by asking:

    That, really, is the question: Are we to be treated as human beings, with moral agency and responsibility for our own lives, or as livestock to be cared for because of what we can be used for? Either we are citizens choosing between two ideas of government, or pets choosing between two brands of kibble.

    I think that’s now mostly an academic question. We’re going to be choosing between different brands of kibble. One poster had a good comment:

    This article is true to the core but has anyone else noticed how out of place it seems? The work ethic, individual responsibility and the acceptance that government cannot compensate for life’s unfairness are values from the 1840’s. In fact, this article is so jarring that I am going to go to my “safe space” for a few hours and have a good cry.

  4. Fred Burr says:

    Discussing the forthcoming election a week ago, I expressed the hope that, should Clinton win, we keep at least a GOP House, if not a GOP Senate as well, and he said that would only lead to more years of gridlock. I asked him if he felt our government should run on autopilot, and then explained why the founders had dispersed and distributed power as much as possible to avoid potential tyranny. I’m sorry to report he just didn’t get it, and didn’t buy the idea that gridlock is good, insofar as a government that can’t get anything done can’t screw things up worse than they are.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Fred, despite the Republicans retaining working majorities in the House and Senate and gaining the presidency, the power is still very much dispersed. The checks and balances perdure.

      I’m as thrilled as anyone to have our national politics deloused of the Clintons, but the likely fact remains that the House, Senate, and president-elect are not of the same mind on many things. It might be a different kind of gridlock, but I don’t expect the House and Senate to give the kind of blank checks to Trump as they did Obama (or vice versa).

      Still, might they repeal Obamacare and, if there must be a Federal solution to what should be a private thing, replace it with something else? I remain very highly cynical in this regard. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ll believe it when I see it regarding a great many things. But if I see it, I’ll praise it if it is a good thing and give credit where credit is due.

      But the running theme here is that Trump (or someone) will have to hold the feet of Congress to the fire in order to get anything constructive done. In that regard, Trump certainly has the personality to do that. The natural inclination of Paul Ryan & Company is to “Not do anything too controversial because the midterms are just around the corner.” To the extent that Trump blows apart this shallow fecklessness of House (and Senate) Republicans, good. I just hope when Trump blows some things apart (the things which need destruction) he remembers to replace them with something better. I remain highly skeptical about that.

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