Political theorist Irving Kristol argued that Americans would often vote for divided government so the federal government would gridlock and not cause any more economic or political trouble. From 1994 to 2000 America had a Democratic president and a Republican Congress, and the results were full employment, a strong, stable dollar, a balanced budget (actually a surplus), and falling energy prices.
From 2002 through 2006 the GOP got its first crack at majority rule since the early 1950s, and the results were negative real interest rates, a collapsing dollar, spiking energy prices, a new entitlement program without a funding mechanism, and a badly planned, badly executed war.
For the last 14 months the Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency for the first time since 1992-1994, and the words “responsible” and “responsive” do not exactly come to mind. So it appears that once again, based on published polls, the voters are getting ready to handcuff the president and his allies in Congress.
If that happens, the Congress will flip back to the Republicans after the 2010 mid-term elections, and defense insiders are beginning to dust off their old rolodexes.
If the Democrats lose their majorities this year, Senators McCain and Inhofe will be the senior Senate Armed Services Committee leaders, and the defense subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee will be controlled by Senators Cochran, McConnell and Shelby.
Senior House Armed Services Committee Republicans will be Representatives Bartlett, McKeon and Thornberry, while the defense subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee will be run by Representatives Young, Frelinghuysen and Tiahrt.
That assumes a bunch of Republican incumbents don’t get wiped out too. A combination of fear and anger in the electorate is at a fevered pitch right now, and we still have seven months until the election. From 9-11 to the Iraq war, from the housing collapse, TARP, double-digit unemployment, and now having national health insurance shoved down their throats, the American people have been through a lot the last nine years.
No need to renew your ESPN subscription in 2010. Just watch that blood-sport called American politics.
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