I don't know if the Democrats will gain a majority in either the Senate or the House. I don't think it is knowable. I hope they do, because the Republicans have proven that having control of the White House, the Senate and the House produces bad government.
With today's Republicans acting like their sole duty is to do whatever the president wants them to do, the system of checks and balances is destroyed. A president, especially one who doesn't feel bound by the Constitution, needs a restraining hand.
Even if the restraining hand is guided by partisan motives, it still acts as a restraint. Granted, the Democrats are no prize and are hardly distinguishable from the Republicans. Nevertheless, if they controlled either the Senate or the House, they could put the brakes on the president, even if it were for the basest of motives.
I'm one of those people who thinks legislative deadlock is a good thing. Most legislation passed these days is bad legislation. The country would be better off if legislators didn't pass any laws. The country would be greatly better off if they devoted a whole session to doing nothing but repealing bad laws.
Many Americans have too much faith in government and in laws. Government is like a retarded giant — very powerful but stupid. Almost nothing government tries to do succeeds. Just looking back at the past few decades, it has — despite enormous expenditures — failed to find a cure for cancer, failed to stop illegal drugs, failed to stop illegal immigrants, failed to protect the American people from terrorists, failed to improve public education, failed to keep up with repairing the infrastructure, failed to eliminate the deficit, failed to eliminate the trade deficits, failed to curb inflation, etc., etc., and so forth.
I could go on and on, because virtually every program started by government has failed in its objectives or sputtered along in the most ineffective and expensive manner.
There is a simple explanation. Men do not become gods when they are elected to public office. To use the vernacular, "there ain't nobody here but us humans." All humans are fallible. They don't change just because their paycheck comes from the government. People on government payrolls are no more or no less honest, smart, stupid, vain, ambitious, etc., than people in the private sector.
We don't expect either perfection or miracles from the private sector, and we shouldn't expect them from the public sector.
The way to handle a retarded giant is exactly the way our Founding Fathers intended. Keep it simple. Give the government simple tasks, and not many of those. The way to keep it from usurping its legitimate powers is to maintain a divided government.
The only way the people can protect themselves from corruption is to make sure the politicians have nothing to sell. If Congress stuck to its constitutional duties and only to them, there would be no favors it could grant for cash or other goodies. People should read their Constitution. After listing the specific tasks Congress is authorized to do, it does not say "and anything else that might cross your mind."
I don't expect a return of the constitutional republic that Abraham Lincoln destroyed. It would be enough if the American people just realized that elected officials are no smarter than they are, and some of them are a whole lot dumber. There are some people in public office who couldn't run a hot-dog cart.
In the words of a Georgia politician, if you expect government to solve your problems, "You done come to the henhouse looking for wool."
October 16, 2006
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2006 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.