Thursday, November 09, 2006


I have a guest op-ed in today's Brisbane Courier-Mail. The news here is describing the election as a huge change in American politics, but I think that's wrong, and reflects the particulars of the political system here. In a parliamentary system, legislative elections are everything: the House elections determine who has control of government, and the entire cabinet (including the Prime Minister) is selected from among the majority. The effect in the states will be more modest. Probably some legislation on immigration, taxes, and the like, but no dramatic upheaval.

I particiipated in a friendly pool on the election, and was off by one in both the House and the Senate (I had the Senate at 50-50, but picked Allen to win in Virgina; I had the Republicans with 231 House seats, which is probably off by 1 or 2). Not too bad.

I've been doing a lot of radio interviews, on both news programs and talk shows. When I find the links to the online broadcasts, I'll post them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Ken--

Greetings from PoCo in SoCal. Enjoying your blog, looking forward to seeing you on your return. Our best to your family.

In the aftermath of the election over on this side of the ocean, of course no "serious" person is spouting the "revolution" rhetoric that followed the Republicans similar takeover of Congress in 1994. (Why not? An interesting rhetorical and media case study, that.)

Still, many think that Dems getting control of Congress for the first time in 12 years will lead to some substantially different events than would have happened if the R's had retained control of either or both chambers for W's last two years. (Imagine the counterfactual. I think it's pretty striking.)

Of course, this may not last long (think 1946), but it _is_ the entire remainder of Bush's benighted presidency. Most view the next two years as a) the beginning of the end of the Iraq war, b) the end of Bush appointing staunchly conservative judges to the federal bench (think Priscilla Owen) for life, c) the beginning of sunshine on things like multibillion dollar contracts in which the contractor has so far refused to reveal where taxpayer dollars have been spent, and d) perhaps the beginning of serious efforts to restore Congress as a coequal branch in the Constitutional system, particularly in exploring public problems and writing legislation. (The latter would make AEI's Ornstein particularly happy. No Democrat, he.)

Bush does have a lot of autonomy in our system, but so does Congress. He can't stop any of these from happening. I would tell an Australian audience that those are substantial things.

No? The counterfactual doesn't strike you as being substantially different?


11:07 AM  

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