No Labels, No Thanks

We certainly agree with the No Labels folks on one count: The US Congress and Washington itself is entirely dysfunctional. Our elected leaders are allowing malgovernance to fester to such an extreme degree as to threaten the very future of constitutional democracy and main street prosperity in America.

But the malgovernance to which we refer is not merely the fact that partisan politics in Washington have gotten acrimonious, toxic and mean-spirited. Or that issues like abortion have been buried in vitriol and absolutist doctrine. Or that there are government shutdowns and debt ceiling crises with increasing frequency because what now passes for the budget process has become a moveable trainwreck. Or even that notable policy problems such as the border chaos have gone unaddressed decade after decade.

Indeed, we know all about partisan acrimony and stalemated governance. It's always been with us---not the least in the purported benign era of the 1980s when it was allegedly Morning in America under Ronald Reagan. Or at least that tale of bipartisan comity is what the liberal mainstream media would have you believe nowadays, especially owing to crooked revisionist histories promulgated by miscreants of the era like Chris Mathews of MSNBC.

Mathews worked for Speaker Tip O'Neill and we worked for the Gipper. And, boy, did we and our principals have minimum low regard for each other all around. And it did often present as partisan rancor and even personal vituperation. This was real partisanship and it was delivered in hearty doses in private meetings and conversations, which reality is not to be confused with the pleasant, staged pageantry of the President and Speaker occasionally swapping lewd Irishman jokes to start a meeting.

Government mostly didn't work then, either. Aside from the flush of victory in early 1981, when a fifth column of 40-50 southern democrats ("Boll Weevils") enabled one-time, flukish GOP victories on the budget and the Reagan tax cut, nothing of much significance happened that is inconsistent with the stalemates of the present era.

In the main, of course, that was a good thing. James Madison's inertia-ridden governmental machinery of checks and balances is the true genius of American democracy. That is to say, except for FDR's fabled 100 Days at the dark bottom of the Great Depression in the spring of 1933, we have not had unbridled democratic majoritarianism in America and therefore ruinous Social Democracy, as in much of Europe, either.

And that is to be celebrated. The ultimate evil is statism or what we were pleased to call Big Government back in the day. And we use the term in the larger sense of the all-encompassing Warfare State and Welfare State and their extensions into the private sector where public authority has been captured and appropriated by Big Pharma, the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the larcenous lobbies of K Street generally.

All of these excrescences of Big Government sit astride the nation's capital, sucking the economic, social and moral vitality out of the nation's polity of free citizens.
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