Commentary Magazine


They Should Have Thought This Through

In a spasm of buyer’s remorse, the Washington Post editors seemed troubled that, if their endorsee Barack Obama wins, we’ll have one-party rule. Who knew? This disturbs the Post because the Democrats might not listen to the other side if they run everything. No, it’s true! And that may even be a bad thing, the Post editors concede:

But we don’t believe either party has a monopoly on policy wisdom. We liked Mr. Bush’s insistence on accountability in education, tempered by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s reminder that you couldn’t fix urban schools without some money. We don’t support the Democrats’ plan to allow unionization without secret ballots, but we agree with them that National Labor Relations Board rules have tipped too far toward management. And so on. We like to think, in other words, that a process in which both parties play a role can sometimes lead to better outcomes and not always to dead ends.

It’s worse than that, of course. It is not just that Republicans won’t to get to shape legislation, it is that the Democrats will push through a raft of extreme and damaging legislation–abolition of secret ballots for union elections, protectionist legislation, and the Freedom of Choice Act (invalidating any restriction on abortion including limits on public funding).

But that’s the rub. An Obama presidency will have a Democratic Congressional majority to push it to its logical and ideological extreme on every issue. The only issue will be how large a majority. You really can’t both decry the dangers of undivided government and support Obama’s candidacy. Well, you can, I suppose. But people will figure out quite easily that you must not really be too serious about the former.