Saturday, November 10, 2012

Michael Hathman Explains Looming Congressional Gridlock


The American system of politics is made of bicameral legislatures, a judiciary and an executive office - on both the national and State basis.  Municipalities even have mayors, councilmen and local judges who take care of city-level matters.  Or can they?

Political gridlock usually happens on ideological lines.  This is where one party (or both parties) cannot seem to come to a common agreement about how the government should be run and what programs and budgets should be implemented and what should stay and what should go.

More notably, when political gridlock happens, the government simply "ceases to operate" and when budgets aren't passed, government workers and soldiers are the first to feel the suffering.  If budgets cannot be passed, as it looks like will happen during this political season, the government can and will literally "shut down" and cease to operate.  When this happens, the military can no longer receive the money it needs to run an effective national defense or, much less, feed its soldiers the food it buys from markets.

The deep ideological divide is as deep and as nasty as it has ever been in United States history and only rivals the time period of domestic upheaval felt prior to the Civil War and the Vietnam War era.  Although the divide is not serious enough to lead citizens to armed insurrection, the divide is serious enough to shut down government (not just on a national level - but on a Statewide level as well).

If the bicameral legislatures cannot decide and come to some common concessions about what needs to happen and get government working for the best interest of the people, then the issues may, at the worst, need to be put to popular vote to get issues decided on a simple majority.  Grass root campaigning may be the only answer to getting government working again.  It will need to literally come down to citizenry voting on issues that are proposed by signature and petition drives to make government work.

In fact, if it comes straight down to it, the President may need, from time-to-time issue Executive Orders to address emergency issues.  However, these orders could theoretically be challenged in the courts by hard line opposition politicians and battles could rage in the courts as well.

Currently, the United States Constitution does not allow for a "No Confidence" provision to recall certain political office holders.  There has been a trend to "Recall" certain political office holders on the Statewide level.  Since the US Constitution allows, as part of the Bill of Rights, the citizens to redress the government with their grievances, theoretically, such a petition could be used to "recall" a member of the House, the Senate or even the President of the United States.  The Recall Initiative has gathered steam in recent years leading to re-elections.  In fact, the most famous of cases was in California that led to the ouster of California Governor Gray Davis and the installation of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.  More recently, the recall of Governor Scott Walker in Minnesota failed but the election was very close after union busting efforts of several Republicans upset the Democratic minority and the Recall War was waged.

If Congressional gridlock continues, the American People may need to seek candidates who are more willing to work and compromise to move our country toward continued recovery and to greater prosperity.  In the end, this effort to come to a sensible compromise between more compromising and less ideological politicians may be the only answer to end the looming Congressional gridlock and divided government.

Reporting for Political News,
Michael Hathman

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