I read an article earlier today (can’t find it now, but that’s not important) stating that the likelihood of the House of Representatives coming under the control of the Democrats after the November elections has gone from being a long shot to being a distinct possibility. As that has simmered in the back of my brain I have begun to think of the merits of having the government not be controlled by a single party. I began to ask myself, “if I could choose which party would control the Senate and which party would control the House, what would I choose?” I’m not sure how I would answer that, but I think that I would probably choose to have them controlled by different parties.
What I am sure of is that between the presidency and the two houses of congress each of the major parties should be in control of at least one of the bodies – thus forcing the various governmental bodies to compromise in order to make things happen.
The next question I asked myself is, “would this administration be better if their party did not control both houses of congress?” Again, I have no answer, but I am beginning to think that I would like to see if that is the case. I am fairly confident that it would not be a major setback to the country (although it might be a major setback to the Republican party). Sadly, in our current environment I don’t think we would see a real positive change if the House changed hands this fall. Since President Bush cannot run for another term, and since nobody is under any illusion that Dick Cheney will become President, the likely result of a Democrat-controlled House would not be working with the President, instead I would expect the Democrats to just wait out the next two years until we get a new President.
One other consideration is that at least those in the House have some incentive to do something because they will face re-election in another two years. If it were the Senate which changed hands, they might be even more willing to wait since their six year terms would guarantee that most of them would still be in office after the new President took over the White House.
If either the Senate or the House change hands I hope that it will force the Republicans to rethink their position and come back toward the center as a party. I think the Democrats have already been forced into such a position because of their repeated failure to gain control of any government body over the last few election cycles. If one of the houses does change hands, I hope we will see lively debate in Washington rather than stubborn bickering between the parties.