Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Liberal Governance Is Hard Work

Nate Silver makes a sobering point:  Obama may not have congressional majorities at his disposal that are commensurate with the liberal community’s public policy ambitions.  Liberals who are down on the administration for not completing the work of the New Deal and the Great Society should reflect on these facts:

“When F.D.R. took over the Presidency in 1933, the Democrats controlled 64 percent of the Senate seats and 73 percent (!) of the House seats, counting independents who were sympathetic to the party. And those numbers only increased over the next couple of midterms -- during their peak during 1937-38, the Demorats [sic] actually controlled about 80 percent (!) of the seats in both chambers. Obama, by contrast, came into his term with 59 percent majorities in both chambers. That's not much to complain about by the standards of recent Presidencies, but is nevertheless a long way from where F.D.R. stood during his first two terms, or for that matter where L.B.J.'s numbers were during the 1965-66 period, when the bulk of the Great Society programs were implemented.”
It’s easy to forget how much majoritarian pressure it takes to overcome the friction generated by our political system.

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