The Roman Republic had a Triumvirate-a three-way split in power. This collapsed to a two-way sahre, which of course soon led to a single man in charge of the whole shebang. At that point it was no longer the Roman Republic-it was the Roman Empire, which devoured itself.
I read a wonderful book entitled The Armchair Economist, (which citation I will expand in place without comment) that had a passage concerning bipartisanship. The author said that it amounted to collusion, like price-fixing. If all of the gas stations on your street are working together, then they can only be working against you, and prices stay too high--they trust each other not to start a price war, also known as fair competition.
If you believe in market forces as fervently as that author does, and I confess that I can follow closely where he goes, then it is no far stretch to feel that a Congress eternally at odds with itself, consantly mired in bickering and petty, mean, nasty partisan attacks is the perfect system of American government. The worst form of American government is one in which the members of Congress feel more in common with each other than with their respective constituents.
This leads me as an aside, to a comment made by a very different sort of fellow--a History Professor who feels that the ability of Representatives and Senators to raise funds within Washington, D.C. places them at odds with the people who sent them there in the first place. If they were allowed to raise funds only within their own constituencies, they would pay much more attention to their rightful masters, pajama-people like you and me, and the power of large lobbying groups would be greatly diminished. This should have the knock-on effect of breaking the death-grip of some useless geezers on their own seats. All of which would be good for Joe six-vote, uh, I mean, Joe six-pack one-vote. Sounds like a great way to return power to the people, huh? I'd like to hear what my economist has to say about it. The History Professor is Newt Gingrich.
Politics and Economics are naturally tied to each other, and it has nothing (well little) to do with money. Economic theories are just as valid when discussing dollars as they are when discussing seashells, kisses from pretty girls, or Global ecopolotics, because economic theories do not directly address money. Economics is the science of practical human decision-making.
We have heard a great deal recently about the evils of our partisan bickering, and the road to Hell along which we thunder in Hot Rods of Hatred.
We are awakening from History, as we blink ourselves upright in the Post-Cold-War dawn. The sun rises, thawing the world, and some early morning predators have shown themselves. We remind ourselves that this is how the world has always been, that before the long Soviet Night there was not peace but war, more war, and still more war. The responsible among us take up defensive positions, and in some cases scoot out to punish the predators which get too cavalier near our camp. Offense is better--it always has been.
Long before mid-day, we will organize a regular hunting party, the same as we did yesterday. The sunken-eyed guardians who watched our camp all night will sleep in the heat of the coming day. Life in our camp will go on as it always has, provided that we do what we always have.
We forget our violent nature only at our peril.
We are awakening from history, and the relative calm imposed by the Cold War is evaporating. Think radical Islamism is bad? Wait five years and it will be worse. Do nothing for five years and it will be MUCH worse. There is a reason that people call this the "Long War", and it is honesty. The fact that Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on much, and bitterly disagree on most, is not alarming under these trying and dimly remembered circumstances. Politics is a messy business, and if the views of the people are to be honestly and forthrightly represented in Washington D.C., it must be an odious, unpleasant business as well. The truth is that in the last sixty-odd years, we haven't needed much from Washington, and it has seemed relatively pleasant. Now we need it to function as a cutting room, and it is getting ugly.
I for one do not mind the current partisanship and "poisonous" atmosphere in Washington, and the political sphere at large. Poisons such as this are small fry, and serve to weed out the weak. In an American Democracy which is supposed to function as a "Marketplace of Ideas", only the strong should survive. I expect the caustic atmosphere to eliminate any Representative who cannot cut the mustard. I expect the partisan attacks to topple any Senator who does not meet the standard--efficacy.
Therefore, the last thing I want to hear is that a Democrat has a proposal and a Republican has co-sponsored it. Or vice-versa.
I predict that what is now called the American Century (1900-1999) will actually be called the Totalitarian Century, after the sponsors of the great wars of the period. 2000-2099 will be the American Century. The political rumblings you hear now are just the beginning.
Welcome to the American Renaissance.