Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gridlock ... Back

"Gridlock" took a bit of a hiatus during the presidential campaign, but today, we are back.  Why not blog during the most engaged political moments of the cycle?  Well, campaigns are times of combat, not times to figure out how to get things done.  Ideally, we talk about solutions, but it was clear from early on that this was not going to be a campaign about reckoning with our big problems or addressing systemic defects in government.  There was a moment when it looked like the Republicans had put some big ideas on the table about entitlement reform -- that is, when Paul Ryan was nominated for VP -- but Romney distanced himself so quickly from this that it is as if he realized Ryan had a communicable disease a couple days after selecting him.   Anyway, the election was about "who cares about your problems the most," "who resonates the best with the middle class," "who will create the most jobs (as if a president actually has the power to do this)" and other matters.  Big issues were discussed at their most superficial level -- who gets the next round of tax cuts and how big will they be -- but that is about it.  "Gridlock" didn't have much to offer to this campaign that was not available from many other sources.

But now, all the problems that existed before the election are still here, the players are pretty much the same, as is the balance of power.  The president has been ratified by the voters, so he is a more powerful figure than he was before, but congressional leaders also believe their approaches have been ratified as well.  Nonetheless, as Lincoln said in his second annual message to the Congress, "as our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."  Hopefully, "Gridlock" can contribute to debates we are surely going to be having in the "stormy present."  

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