The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Debating the Virtues of a Divided Government

Lots of individual seats in Tuesday’s House and Senate races remain genuine toss-ups, but the consensus among odds-makers about the House is pretty darn clear.

Thomas Dixon
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Oct 29, 2010

Lots of individual seats in Tuesday’s House and Senate races remain genuine toss-ups, but the consensus among odds-makers about the House is pretty darn clear. Stu Rothenberg wrote in his latest report, “Democrats seem likely to lose at least 50 seats, but the GOP’s ceiling for gains is much harder to predict. With close to 100 Democratic seats in play, GOP gains of five or six dozen seats are not at all impossible. House Democrats appear headed for a historic bloodbath, with losses probably exceeding 1994’s 52 seats. We estimate likely GOP House gains at 55 to 65 seats, with gains at or above 70 seats possible.”

With most pundits predicting a GOP takeover, cue the debate about whether a divided government will produce some much-needed compromise or grind things to a halt. In the New York Times op-ed pages today, David Brooks argues that “the road map for his recovery is pretty straightforward,” while Paul Krugman’s main takeaway is, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

A lot of the debate rests upon the rhetoric of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who recently said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” If this is truly the plan, notes Krugman, then there’s little incentive for Republicans to work with the president on any issue that might make him look like an effective leader.

Brooks, on the other hand, thinks Obama can regain the high ground with independents if he keeps pushing the message that Republicans’ calls for spending cuts are half the answer. “Instead, he will have to go out and do his own thing,” Brooks writes. “That means every day reinforcing the following narrative: the Republicans are only half right. They want to cut things; I want to cut but also replace things. They want to slash government; I want to restructure it. They want destruction; I want renovation.”

The x factor, it seems, is the Tea Party. Will it mount new campaigns and challenges against Republicans in Congress willing to reach across the aisle? And will Republicans cave to its demands at the first signs of discontent? Krugman certainly thinks so, and he predicts a government shutdown as early as next spring.

Correction: This post initially attributed the quote about making Obama a one-term president to Rep. John Boehner. It was actually spoken by Sen. Mitch McConnell. We regret the error.

Thomas Dixon | He creates the ideal marketing experience by connecting online brands with their target audiences. He recently completed a research paper on consumer conversion and took part in a community project on SEO optimization. Thomas is working on his Bachelor of Arts in Communications and plans to intern in an online marketing department soon.


$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

Army Data Shows Constraints on Troop Increase Potential

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |