Carnival of Divided Government

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The latest edition of the “Carnival of Divided Government” has been posted at Divided We Stand United We Fall. The carnival is a periodic compilation of posts, articles and commentary from the blogosphere and main stream media on the topic of government divided between the major parties. As expected, there has been an increase in commentary on the topic as the election looms. Excerpted here, some traditional media selections:

Andrew Romano from Newsweek interviews Morris Fiorino in “Making Sense out of McCains ‘Divided Government’ Argument“:
AR: “Is there an audience for McCain’s divided-government message?”
MF: “We actually asked a question on a recent AP poll…. there was about 20 percent who still wanted divided government constellations. And there was more McCain-Democrat than Obama-Republican. So there is a set of voters out there that has this as their most preferred outcome. So if you added that set to the set that prefers a unified Republican government, you got about a tie. So if the McCain people have the same kind of data, that’s obviously a place to go fishing.”

Rebecca Sinderland at CNN quotes Rick Davis in “McCains Closing Argument: A push for Dived Government“:

“Do we really believe that the American public is going to feel safe by having both the head of the Congress and the head of the White House from the same party that has had so many challenges with the way they’ve run Washington over the last couple of years?” McCain campaign manager Rick Davis asked on Fox News Sunday. It’s a strategy popular with some high-profile conservative voices.”

The Dallas Morning News endorses John McCain:

“Mr. McCain is the one who promised to freeze domestic spending his first year and then limit it to 2.4 percent growth the rest of his term. He also has been clear about the urgent need for entitlement reform. You don’t see that kind of independence with Mr. Obama, who has marched in spending lockstep with his party and mostly ducked questions about entitlement reform and budget cuts. The last time the nation saw Washington make real progress on deficit reduction was the 1990s, when a Democrat controlled the White House and Republicans held Congress. True, Republicans failed to cover themselves in deficit-reduction glory when they held the executive and legislative branches, but we read that as an argument in favor of divided government.

The Economist analyzes “John McCain’s Last Chance“:

“But Americans have a strong preference for divided government. America has only had one-party rule (with the same party controlling the White House and both chambers) for six years out of the 28 since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980—two years under Bill Clinton and four and a bit under George Bush. Mr McCain should argue forcefully that, as an experienced legislator who has worked with left-wing Democrats as well as right-wing Republicans, he will be the perfect man to check Congress where necessary and work with it where desirable”

The Wall Street Journal opines – “A Liberal Supermajority”:

“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…

The Journal story received a lot of attention across the blogosphere, including links from me and Alan at here at the Donk.

My view is that this is the only argument that can still move votes for the McCain campaign in the short time that is left. However, I doubt it can move the polls more than a point or two. If the gap between Obama and McCain remains large, it won’t make a difference. The fundamental question is whether American’s preference for divided government will be sufficient to overcome their anger and desire to punish Republicans for the disaster of the Bush administration.

Speaking for myself, I was happy to see the Republicans lose the majority in Congress in 2006. I will be happy to see Republicans punished again in 2008 with an even smaller minority in Congress. However, I do not want to see Obama and the Democrats granted virtual monarchical power, one party rule, and license to govern unfettered by any meaningful opposition.