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There are vague suggestions that the constitutional order is defunct because the legislative branch won’t nationalize 1/7th of the US economy.  This is how it’s supposed to work; the whole point of checks and balances is to slow down the causes tied to popular enthusiasm.  The idea is that the long-term, settled judgment of the majority–not some passing snap-shot of public opinion–will prevail.  Suggestions to the contrary are self-serving and results-oriented.  Indeed, these same critics of congressional deadlock over the very unpopular Obama healthcare bill were appalled at the huge majorities that supported the hugely popular efforts such as the Afghanistan War and the Patriot Act.

T.R. Fehrenbach, the excellent author of Lone Star, wrote the following today from San Antonio:

The idea that the institutions of the U.S. are fundamentally flawed is arrant nonsense. Washington and the Constitution, as amended, are working pretty much as the Founders intended them to work. I have heard and seen all this before, during the Great Depression and run-up to WWII, when supposedly sensible men argued that free institutions weren’t up to the challenges of economic crisis and totalitarian dictatorship. We showed them. . . .

The current administration and majority of Congress were chosen by 53 percent of the electorate, giving them a clear mandate to form a government but not necessarily to push partisan politics. A business that ignores 47 percent of its market is on shaky ground, and so is a government. According to the studies, this result was largely because an unprecedented percentage of first-time voters, blacks and Hispanics turned out, voting 62 percent Democratic.

If this coalition wants to effect real change, it must hold together for more cycles; otherwise, it was a fluke. The evidence to date is that the Obama coalition has already lost cohesion; therefore those it put in office have little right to push agendas. Our institutions are right to resist, meantime.

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