The Bipartisan Consensus

Tyler Cowen notes that for an organization supposedly ruled by gridlock, America seems to be very capable of getting things done, his examples being allowing fracking, bailing out Wall Street, creating the national surveillance state, and both strengthening and massively proliferating intellectual property.

If you think that most or all of those are bad things, well.

I don’t think that America has a particularly large amount of gridlock.  The Republicans were able to pursue their agenda very aggressively through the years 2001 to 2006 or so, and the Democrats were able to pass Obamacare and the stimulus in Obama’s first term.  Gridlock seems to happen mostly when the majority is weak (as at the end of Bush’s second term or right now), and is mainly being decried tactically by democratic partisans who are mainly just upset by the failure of Obamacare to become ultra-popular and be the base of a powerful agenda.

You’ve also got to distinguish between the things that each party actually cares about, and what it’s happily willing to throw under the bus for its core values.  For example, if you think that the Democrats are actually serious about foreign policy dovishness, it may seem like they’re unable to get anything done.  But that’s a misreading of the situation.  (Similarly with the Republicans and small government libertarianism).


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