Gridlock or Logrolling?

So, like lots of people who favor limited government, I'm generally glad to see divided government and a near-even split in the Senate, even if the ideal would probably be Dem executive and GOP Congress rather than the reverse. But it's worth bearing in mind that a healthy bit of gridlock isn't the only option. That's the likely result of a relatively polar split; a legislature heavier on moderates and pragmatists, on the other hand, could, perversely, produce the opposite result, with heavy-vote trading that hands lots of goodies to the minority party in order to secure their acquescence in the things that the majority wants.

One way to think of it is to see divided government as a Prisoner's dilemma, except that if you don't want government to grow, you have to hope the parties don't manage to arrange a cooperative outcome. Should Rep. Mike Pence (R-IL) win his bid for minority leader, I'll be more sanguine about the prospects for gridlock; less so if it goes to Ohio's John Boehner.

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  • ||

    Should Rep. Mike Pence (R-IL) win his bid for minority leader, I'll be more sanguine about the prospects for gridlock; less so if it goes to Ohio's John Boehner.

    You really are being a jerk today, Sanchez!

  • Meister||

    I think gridlock will depend more on Bush finding his veto pen. But don't hold your breath.

  • ||

    I'm really wary of Mike Pence's bid for minority leader. After six years of big-government Republican rule, during which we've heard nary a peep from Pence, he suddenly decides it's time to carry the banner for restrained government and shrinking spending? What he says about the congressional Republicans losing their way post-1994 is true, but I wouldn't expect his convictions to survive a whiff of pork.

  • ||

    I anticipate a glorious new dawn of bipartisanship and co-operation, and the end of skinflint conservative do-nothingism. And I expect the Pen of Vetoes to remain secreted upon the person of the President.
    Sorry

  • ||

    Well, all one need do is compare the "gridlock" of the 1980s and the "gridlock" of the 1990s. It seems like the latter was far more effective. Of course, the Democratic party is somewhat changed from the 1980s.

  • ||

    "I think gridlock will depend more on Bush finding his veto pen. But don't hold your breath."

    Veto pen? Now where did I leave that thing? I know it's in a drawer around here somewhere.

  • ||

    Pence is one of the more reliable GOPers when it comes to the fiscal conservative side of things. That's kind of his big thing.

    He also has a lot of social conservative baggage, but there are worse out there than him on that score. On the bright side he is not part of the pro-genocide wing of the GOP when it comes to illegal immigration, favoring at least some form of a guest worker program.

    In other words, if we start throwing Republicans out one at a time in the order in which they deserve to be, our arms will probably be fairly tired when we get to Pence.

  • ||

    Personally - I wouldn't mind some gridlock and forcing the two sides to work together to come to some sort of compromise that might end up in the middle.

  • ||

    Personally - I wouldn't mind some gridlock and forcing the two sides to tear each others hair out for the next two years and get *nothing* done.

  • ||

    I wouldn't mind some gridlock and forcing the two sides to work together to come to some sort of compromise that might end up in the middle.

    The trouble is that in such compromises there are two middles. In one middle each side gets the restriction of freedom that it wants. In the other middle each side gives up the restriction of freedom that it wants. The latter middle is desirable. The former middle is much worse than nothing.

    Let me quote the President from today's press conference:

    In that very same interview you quoted, one of these three characters asked me about minimum wage. I said, there's an area where I believe we can make some -- find common ground. And as we do, I'll be, of course, making sure that our small businesses are -- there's compensation for the small businesses in the bill.



    That would be the bad middle.

  • ||

    I guess shorthand would be:

    "Divided government" does not necessarily mean "gridlock."

    I'd put the chances for a substantial minimum wage increase at about 100%.

    I'm also worried about who the Democrats are willing to throw under the bus in order to retain/gain power in 2008. Having seen social conservative Democrats do well for them in this election, there's the possibility that a constituency that has no one else to turn to might be sacrificed so that they can continue to mine this new vein of voters.

    A new era of social conservative bi-partisanship would be a disaster.

  • ||

    Pence is from Indiana.

  • ||

    I'm really wary of Mike Pence's bid for minority leader. After six years of big-government Republican rule, during which we've heard nary a peep from Pence, he suddenly decides it's time to carry the banner for restrained government and shrinking spending?

    Are you serious? Not only was he one of the few Republicans to vote against the prescription drug bill but he's also headed the Republican Study Committee for the past 2 years. He and the RSC have outspoken opponents of big govt and pork. While, from a libertarian perspective, he could be better on social issues, he would certainly make a great minority leader.

    That being said, I don't think y'all are giving Boehner enough credit. He is a pretty good conservative; he cares much more about policy than politics and I think he'd strong minority leader. He spent a good portion of his short rein battling with the appropriators to reform that convoluted process. Unfortunately, he may go down for election results that arent his fault. I'll also add that he was endorsed by Dick Armey, a limited-govt ally, today in a briefing on the hill.

    Armey also made the good point that people who expect gridlock are getting ahead themselves because the Dems and Bush are close on a lot more issues than people think. Bush loves big govt and so do the Dems; this could turn out to be an unholy alliance. God save us all.

  • thoreau||

    From what I know of Pence, he seems about as good as a Republican can be today and still have influence in the party. Which is not intended as a ringing endorsement, but simply an observation.

  • b psycho||

    They should offer Ron Paul the minority leader position...

    Also, pigs should fly.

  • ||

    A frightening prospect is Bush going along with the Dems' domestic agenda in trade for their going along with the administration's Iraq-Mideast agenda.

    Let's see how discretionary and other government spending fares during the next congressional term relative to previous King George terms. It's hard to imagine government growing much faster, but we are talking the Dems in control and a president devoid of principle.

  • ||

    Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) as minority leader could well help the cause of limited government. Contact your GOP Rep. and/or GOP Reps. in other districts in your state and tell em that's who you want!

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

  • ||

    Check this out:

    "Election Was No Mandate for More Government, Taxpayer Group's Analysis Shows"

    Of the 19 Republican House Members confirmed as being ousted from their seats at press time, just 2 were recipients of NTU's "Taxpayers' Friend Award" in 2005 for attaining a Rating score of at least 70 percent.

    The remaining 17 losing incumbents posted an average NTU Rating of just 56 percent last year, several points below the overall average for the GOP.

    The six Republican Senators (including George Allen on the assumption that Jim Webb's lead holds up) who were defeated, by and large did not compile very good records on taxpayer issues. The defeated six on average scored 59 percent in NTU's Rating in 2005. The rest of the Senate Republican caucus averaged 70 percent. Only one of the defeated Senators (George Allen) scored higher than the average for the entire caucus.

    http://www.ntu.org/main/press.php?PressID=892&org_name=NTU

  • ||

    Why not just overthrow the government and abolish the state? Oh, has that been tried?

  • ||

    Check this out:

    "Election Was no Mandate for an End to Our Involvement in Iraq, Arms Dealers Association's Analysis Shows"

    Of the 19 Republican House Members confirmed as being ousted from their seats at press time, just 2 were recipients of ADA's Friend Award" in 2005 for attaining a Rating score of at least 70 percent.

    The remaining 17 losing incumbents posted an average ADa Rating of just 56 percent last year, several points below the overall average for the GOP.

    The six Republican Senators (including George Allen on the assumption that Jim Webb's lead holds up) who were defeated, by and large did not compile very good records on arms issues. The defeated six on average scored 59 percent in ADS's Rating in 2005. The rest of the Senate Republican caucus averaged 70 percent. Only one of the defeated Senators (George Allen) scored higher than the average for the entire caucus.

  • ||

    When President Reagan took office the national debt was 1 trillion dollars. After 12 years of Republican rule the debt grew to 4 trillion dollars. What's so great about Republicans?

  • ||

    joe,

    Ha ha. That's funny but nothing else.

    But Kudos to you cuz your side won. Must seem kinda weird, huh? Did you forget what it was like? So do we have to refer to you as "majority blogger joe" now?

  • ||

    joe,

    Reagan oversaw an actual decrease in discretionary spending. The rate of growth in total spending fell off drastically from Carter. And the Federal register, a monitor of all federal regulations actually shrank! BTW, The rates of job growth and personal wealth increase responded by setting new records.

    Also, the GOP Contract with America congress pushed for some cuts and got them in gridlock with Clinton. Of course, Bush is a Big Government advocate.

    GOP congress members tend to vote in a more fiscaly frugal manner than both their Dem counter-parts and what the Bush administration advocates for spending

    But with Bush leading the way, the result has been record levels of spending.

  • ||

    When the really big spending on arms for the Middle east began.

    Reagan Launched the War On Terror, Former Diplomat Says
    By Julie Stahl
    CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
    June 07, 2004

    "[Reagan] was certainly the best friend Israel ever had...as U.S.- Israel relations are concerned," said Yoram Ettinger, former congressional attache at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

    Reagan inspired a conservative awakening in Congress that brought about a "pro-Israel revolution" among members, Ettinger said.

    Reagan viewed Israel, value-wise and strategically, as a Jewish state, standing for Judeo-Christian values, Ettinger said. "He always considered Israel a staunch ally in the battle of Western Democracies against rogue regimes."

    Citing the 1986 bombing of Tripoli in Libya, Ettinger said that Reagan had "led the battle on terrorism."

    Reagan ordered the attack on Libya after two American servicemen were killed in the bombing of a Berlin nightclub - an attack allegedly ordered by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

    Qaddafi was one of the first Arab leaders to respond to the death of Reagan. On Sunday, he said he was sorry Reagan died before he had been brought to justice.
    Qaddafi recently began to make his way back into the family of nations after promising to give up efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

    "I express my deep regret because Reagan died before facing justice for his ugly crime that he committed in 1986 against the Libyan children," Qaddafi was quoted as saying by Libya's official news agency Jana. Qaddafi's daughter and 36 other people were killed in the raid."

    http://www.cnsnews.com/ForeignBureaus/archive/200406/FOR20040607e.html

  • ||

    When Republicans started wasting American tax money on slavish support for Israel

    "Take the worst crime in Israel's history, its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 with the goal of destroying the secular nationalist PLO and ending its embarrassing calls for political settlement, and imposing a client Maronite regime. The Reagan administration strongly supported the invasion through its worst atrocities, but a few months later (August), when the atrocities were becoming so severe that even NYT Beirut correspondent Thomas Friedman was complaining about them, and they were beginning to harm the US "national interest," Reagan ordered Israel to call off the invasion, then entered to complete the removal of the PLO from Lebanon, an outcome very welcome to both Israel and the US (and consistent with general US opposition to independent nationalism). The outcome was not entirely what the US-Israel wanted, but the relevant observation here is that the Reaganites supported the aggression and atrocities when that stand was conducive to the "national interest," and terminated them when it no longer was (then entering to finish the main job)." --Noam Chomsky
    http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=9999&sectionID=11

  • ||

    So.

    Well.

    It is highly unlikey that the Republicans can recapture the Senate in the next cycle.

    Even less likely they could recapture the House.

    Galactactally unlikely they can recapture both.

    The election of a Republican president in 2008 would therefore guarantee the perpetuation of the Divide Government we've all been assured is so beneficial...the election of a Democratic president probably risks the creation of a one-party government.

    I eagerly await the warm endorsement of the Republican challenger.

    'Cept...how come I don't expect it?

  • ||

    'Cuz everyone around here knows Democrats are better. Much better.

  • ChrisO||

    'Cuz everyone around here knows Democrats are better. Much better.

    Uhh, ok. Right. I hope you're being sarcastic.

  • ||

    Rick Barton

    Your answers woild be appropriate if you were answering joe. But the guy who made those posts was Joe.

    Diffrent guys, different outlooks.

  • ||

    I eagerly await the warm endorsement of the Republican challenger.

    I hereby warmly endorse the Republican challenger.

  • ||

    I expect that W like the Republican president he most resembles will sign every piece of crap social legislation that comes his way (and the Democrats most certainly will send plenty) while he cocentrates on trying to prove that he is foreign policy genius.

    Just like when Nixon was president the country is screwed.

  • Sam Franklin||

    My plan:

    cut the military and social security by the same amount at the same time. Ds and Rs equally happy / unhappy. That is how these "prisoners" should solve their thingee. The solution works because Dims and Repukes aren't kept in separate cells and can easily work out this libertarian compromise. As libertarians, this is what we should be asking them to do.

  • ||

    When President Reagan took office the national debt was 1 trillion dollars. After 12 years of Republican rule the debt grew to 4 trillion dollars. What's so great about Republicans?

    Anyone who imagines that the result would have been different in those years if Jimmy Carter had been reelected and then succeeded by another Democrat is dreaming.

    For a significant part of Reagan's eight years interest on the National debt was the biggest single budget item due to high interest rates. It was a the biggest single cause of growing deficits and had been for years.

    Thus due to "the miracle of compound interest" we were guaranteed increases in the debt.

    And that, by the way is the reason that, in fact, deficits do matter.

  • ||

    I'm guessing that a minimum wage increase is absolutely guaranteed to happen. Anyways, most Republicans have been in favor of it for a while, I believe. This is sad, the minimum wage is objectively dumb even if you agree that "working families" deserve a certain level of income.

  • Robert Goodman||

    Sure, Sanchez, wait until after the election to give that caveat. All ya gotta do is look at NY's perpetually divided gov't (Dem assembly, GOP senate, and even statewide offices often divided between the parties) to see how that works.

    But I've a caution for the blogger-back who apparently used the size of the Federal Register as a measure of gov't, or of gov't growth, or an inverse measure of the progress of freedom. It's not. The great majority of pages in the Fed.Reg. concern changes in existing regs. Every time the sale of another drug, pesticide, or food additive is allowed, the process generates many pages in the Fed.Reg.

  • ChrisO||

    But I've a caution for the blogger-back who apparently used the size of the Federal Register as a measure of gov't, or of gov't growth, or an inverse measure of the progress of freedom. It's not. The great majority of pages in the Fed.Reg. concern changes in existing regs. Every time the sale of another drug, pesticide, or food additive is allowed, the process generates many pages in the Fed.Reg.

    Good point. The more appropriate measure would be the size of the Code of Federal Regulations. Which is pretty goddamned enormous.

  • Robert Goodman||

    "But I've a caution for the blogger-back who apparently used the size of the Federal Register as a measure of gov't, or of gov't growth, or an inverse measure of the progress of freedom. It's not. The great majority of pages in the Fed.Reg. concern changes in existing regs. Every time the sale of another drug, pesticide, or food additive is allowed, the process generates many pages in the Fed.Reg."

    "Good point. The more appropriate measure would be the size of the Code of Federal Regulations."

    I was going to write that, but didn't because I realized that, while better, it's still pretty flawed. That's because detail of gov't regs doesn't necessarily correlate closely with degree of restriction on liberty. For instance, a blanket ban on something can be stated very succinctly (and often doesn't even require a regulation to be written; CFR in such a case can just quote the statute), while a ban that applies under only very particular circumstances, while less of a restriction of freedom, can take a lot of ink to specify.

  • ||

    There is a definite direct correlation between the size of the Federal register and the amount of federal regulations. It's not an exact correlation since the FR contains commentary on regulatory activity.

    Just Google it. The decrease in federal regulation of many industries and economic activities during the Reagan years is well known.

  • ||

    RE: Joe and joe

    Sorry. Both joe and I have been around here for years. I wssn't paying proper attention. My bad.

  • banner pen||

    I agree to "I wouldn't mind some gridlock and forcing the two sides to work together to come to some sort of compromise that might end up in the middle. http://www.promotionalimprinte.....c12-1.html

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