I wish I could take credit for an accurate prediction in this space of a long, drawn-out post-election mess. But while the Senate races in Virginia and Montana appear headed to recount-land, I did not anticipate Democrats winning the House without a fight. So, two quick thoughts from the vantage point of someone who worked in a newsroom late into the night:
- Divided govnernment is good. Gridlock is good. Stupid and evil laws still get passed, but fewer of them. I mean, doesn't the era of Clinton/Gingrich (and before that, Reagan/Tip O'Neill) look like halcyon days compared to the last few years?
- For those of us who buy into the notion of cyclical crises as laid out in the book The Fourth Turning (for a good introduction to the concept, see this piece by Doug Casey), it should be evident by now that 9/11 was not the catalyst for a new crisis era akin to the 1929 crash or Lincoln's election in 1860. Rather, the few weeks of post-9/11 national unity were a momentary blip in a downward spiral of national division that began in the mid-80s, a pre-crisis era the authors dubbed Culture Wars. (And this was published in 1997 — pre-impeachment, pre-Florida recount, etc.) The coming new crisis era (which appears overdue — the authors figured 2005) could well be a time of still deeper divisions, secession movements etc. But…what might be the catalyst?