The Problem With Elections is Re-Election

The problem with democracy and elections is that the winner spends his entire term fending off attacks from the losers, rendering him largely ineffective.

There are exceptions, like Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton’s presidency was messed up by several problems. First, if you fall on the health care reform sword during your first term, next the GOP spends gazillions on the supposed Whitewater scandal, then you trip over your appendage with a voluptuous intern, and then self-righteously deny the transgression? The combination of these influences effectively neutered major policy moves in the Clinton administration.

On NPR, I heard a Democratic community organizer from Chicago celebrate the failure of the Congressional super committee to surpass politics and make policy. He wanted the committee to fail because he wanted no cuts in bloated government spending. Maybe he should join the Tea Party.

The Founders invented checks and balances. They had suffered under King George, leading to a deep distrust of unchecked authority. Footnote: if someone had presented the Founders with the idea of creating the EPA, the proponents would have been put in stocks.

Back to unchecked authority. (Well actually the EPA IS unchecked authority.) Jefferson, his friends and frenemies created checks and balances. They did not want the government, in response to panics of the moment, to quickly enact improvident laws. Good idea.

They invented a House of Representatives which had to stand for election every two years, meaning that their entire careers would be consumed by campaigning. They invented a Senate which provided some respite from campaigning. They invented a Presidency which required campaigning every four years, which means that the President must campaign for most of the third year and all of the fourth year of his four-year term.

I ask the Tea Party and the Liberal Establishment this question: Does any of this make sense?

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