Monday, September 22, 2008

A McCain Presidency ...

Well, I apologize for neglecting my own blog. I have been busy commenting on other people’s blogs, plus engaging in real life sometimes. But I have an idea I have mentioned in comments, that I want to mention here too.

What exactly would happen if John McCain were elected. I don’t expect the Senate or House to move very much in their respective majorities. I don’t think the Senate will lose it’s Democratic majority, in fact I have heard here and there that the Democrats might pick up a seat or two. No one expects the Democrats to make it to 60 seats though. Even if the Democrats lose the Senate, I would expect the House to remain in Democratic hands.

So McCain is unlikely to be able to move as agenda through Congress. The Democrats in Congress also may not be able to move an agenda, considering the success of Senate Republicans in either blocking votes or blocking legislation. The only promise McCain may be able to keep legislatively is block earmarks. Since earmarks are buried in appropriations bills, and since Congressmen and women really depend on those to deliver favors to their districts, Congress (Republicans and Democrats) would likely fight McCain on that. We might see some veto proof majorities, but I see no reason for such bi-partisanship to last long. I think ultimately we would end up with White House/Congressional gridlock. Actually, we have that now in the Senate to some extent, but I think it would be much worse with a President McCain. What the Senate Republicans failed to kill, the President would.

Congress always finds it easier not to take action, and then blame someone else. The higher the stakes, the greater the cost of pissing a group of organized fringe constituents off, especially for Senators. An opposition President, particularly one like John McCain, whose campaign staff has been vilifying the Democrats even as McCain himself loudly proclaims his independence from the Republicans, would stand against everyone. He might cause a war or negotiate a peace, all to little avail. By the time of the midterms, Congressional incumbents might be thrown out by the bucket full, but to be replaced by who? Perhaps the Mickey Mouse party. They could hardly be worse.

I do think Obama would have a better chance of advancing an agenda (although the behavior of the current Senate makes me worry about the future). If Obama does achieve some goals, that brings a whole different set of consequences, which would be the topic for a different post.

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