Monthly Archives: February 2011

Today in Metaphors

From Wonkbook, the daily roundup of government news from Ezra Klein:

House Republicans feel their preferences should take priority because they won the last election. Sharp cuts to non-defense discretionary spending are nothing more than their due. Senate Democrats counter that they still control not just the Senate, but also the White House — the House Republicans are a minority partner in this play, and don’t get to decide what the government does or doesn’t do merely because they control one of the three major legislative checkpoints. An uncompromising force is meeting an unimpressed object.

If you follow American government enough, one of the themes you pick up on is that we’ve got so many independent power centers that whenever people disagree about what to do, nobody can decide who should have the final say. Since everybody can claim some kind of democratic legitimacy and nobody has enough power to just make things happen, our government tends to end up not getting much done. Which was the founders’ original idea, but the world has gotten a bit faster since the 1780s and we’re not doing a great job of keeping up.