I came across a very interesting blog the other day called Divided We Stand, United We Fall.
This unique site declares that divided government is better for us than unified government. By divided, I mean an executive branch and legislative branch controlled by separate parties, whereas by unified I mean one-party rule over both branches.
DWSUWF states that we are best served by voting in such a manner that we continuously divide our government and pit the parties against each other into gridlock.
Federally speaking, this would be a good thing! The less our federal government does, the more freedom we have at the federal level to do what we want at the state level, with 50 different possibilities. November 2006 was a good example of people voting in this manner, breaking the one-party rule we had for 6 years.
DWSUWF even goes as far as to back this theory up with numbers on their blog, displaying the difference in spending, for example, when we have had divided and unified government. More oversight and less wars are also cited as products of divided government.
I have no doubt that the numbers are correct, but I don't think they reflect today's situation.
The only way divided government works is if the different parties in control are actually different. In recent years, the dominating parties - Republicans and Democrats - have become opposite sides of the same coin. They are now both big government parties, just in different ways. As the old saying goes, you can either have the welfare state or the warfare state, when it comes to choosing your typical Dem or Repub.
We’ve certainly seen some positive outcomes from the November 2006 divided government, such as a President locating his veto pen for the first time in 7 years, as well as congressional oversight that has been long since missing.
Unfortunately, a lot of things divided government is supposed to fix have failed to be fixed. For example, the Democrats are now expected to allow Senate Republicans to attach tens of billions of dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a $500 billion-plus government wide spending bill. There's no mention of Bush not signing such a bill, so long as a timeline is not included.
That would be in exchange for Republican support on a huge domestic spending measure, and we’ve already seen a huge domestic spending measure take place once already, one that included subsidies to nearly every kind of industry that federal government has no business supporting, as well as a forced minimum wage increase that federal government has no business forcing on companies.
We have seen no end to the wars that divided government was elected to curtail, and instead have seen a troop increase with no timeline of accountability for the Iraq government.
We seen no change in the destruction of the 4th Amendment and our civil rights - no change in the Patriot Act - only measures that allow the federal government to spy on us more than what it was doing already.
Considering all that, I find it hard to accept that divided government is working this time around. I blame the recent resemblance in the Dems and Repubs.
Once again, our best choice is to simply vote for those who will bring the change we need, whether they be 3rd party candidates, independents, or those within the Repubs or Dems who are trying to change the parties from within (Ron Paul, for example).
Nevertheless, divided government is a concept worth considering.
For starters, the words "divided we stand, united we fall", is a play on words that eludes to the decentralizing concept that I often talk about - keeping federal government limited and giving more power to 50 state governments which could provide 50 different variations and possibilities that accommodate everyone, increasing everyone's freedom.
As well, It's a Free Country, and whenever our freedom is threatened by one party growing out of control and gorging itself on power, voters must have a means to put such growth in check. If they cannot do it by voting in a candidate or party that can solve the problem, then objectively voting for divided government can certainly be the next-to-last means of keeping freedom intact...the 2nd Amendment being the last means.