Friday, October 17, 2008

How Much Change Do We Need?

As the national election nears, I am beginning to reach the conclusion that Barack Obama is likely our next president. While I don't agree with most of his policies, I have to admit it will be nice to have a well spoken, confident president who obviously has a strong intellect and has given considerable thought personally to a number of issues. While there are entrenched supporters on both sides who are locked into their decision, as the economy continues to wobble this plays to the strengths of Obama and Democrats in general. In short, odds are against McCain gaining enough undecideds to win.

Despite the early lift she offered, the bloom seems to be off the Palin rose among the undecided as she continues to avoid substantive interviews with the press and plays an attack dog role for the McCain campaign, which solidifies his base but does little else.

But what makes me increasingly nervous is the possibility of an Obama presidency coupled with a Democratic "supermajority" in the Senate.

A key theme in this campaign has been change. The understandable aversion of both conservatives and moderate Republicans to the failed policies and government growth of the Bush years is no doubt pushing many to sit this one out or vote for "change." But just how great is your tolerance for change?

I found this Wall Street Journal article insightful. It previews the Democratic agenda if Obama is elected along with a supermajority of Democratic Senators. While this is still likely a stretch, it could be a nightmare for those of us in favor of less government and taxes. Here's an excerpt:
"Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on."
And another:
"In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today's left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for "change" should know they may get far more than they ever imagined."
Be sure to read the article if you are a moderate and undecided about your presidential or senatorial choices. Issues on the agenda once a supermajority is in place include a variety of initiatives that include unions, universal healthcare, wealth redistribution, tax increases, carbon trading, etc. (see the graphic).

As I have always said, the best governance -- although often the most ugly -- occurs when the legislative and executive branches are controlled by different parties. This allows for the natural give and take and compromise (gasp!) that creates healthy legislation and better reflects the opinions of a majority of Americans. What do you think?


Jmac said...

Seeing how I see at least four items on the 'blocked by filibuster' list that I think should have been made into law, I'm kinda optimistic about the supermajority option.

Of course, I feel you won't see either side aggressively push an ideological agenda in the way we saw in the 1930s because of constant campaigning. All too often, it seems as if elected officials are too concerned with the next election and winning the news cycle then to actually, you know, govern.

Matt said...

I think you're dead on. Recent history has shown that single party control fails after a few years - doesn't matter if it's the Dems or the Republicans. The only way that the Dems can hope to maintain their increased control is to forget about pandering to the liberal base and instead become center-left. If the republicans had done that instead of pandering to the radical conservatives, they might still be in power at some level.