Tuesday, December 15, 2009

a monopoly on power

For liberals, the momentum and energy of the Obama campaign led to high expectations for quick reform once he took office. Nearly a full year of the health care debate, in which liberal provision after liberal provision has been whittled down or dropped in compromise, has made progressives supremely frustrated with the perceived impotence of government, which in this administration takes the specific form of conservatives doing their very best to prevent sweeping reform. So of course the republicans, rather than the dynamic minority, takes the face of resistance to progress.

But let's keep in mind that the same forces that prevent quick-passing health care reform now are the ones that prevented Bush-Cheney from running the country into the ground on their watch. Institutions of governance that define balances and scope of powers have to be double-edged swords in order to be remotely stable or less than viciously corrupt.

Yesterday a friend of mine mentioned his frustration with the "broken" political system in the United States. His suggested improvement was that Presidents serve a single six year term, so they can actually get something done during their time in office.

I would actually prefer that they get rid of term limits altogether for the President. As soon as those in power know they never have to answer to the electorate again, well, you know how the saying goes about power and corruption. It's indeed unfortunate that good things are forced to happen so slowly (how many years will it take for individual liberal states to make homosexuals equal under the law before that form of anti-discrimination law is incorporated at a federal level...) but I am much more worried about unreigned power than sputteringly ineffective power. A monopoly on power is never a thing you can let free from diligent oversight.

Judging by their outrage from 2000-2008, progressives know this, they've just forgotten in the heat of the moment. So take a deep breath and acknowledge that taking a few extra years to wait for the country to catch up and warm up to the agenda is a small price to pay for stability under the leadership of the chimpanzees that periodically trick their way into office.

(Not that I'm all that worried about what will happen if they do forget, since they won't be able to overhaul the whole system to their advantage anyway, but it might help with their blood pressure.)