We have consistently had some amount of gridlock since the mid-60s, with either a mixed majority in Congress, a president of a different party than the Congressional majority, or at least, as in the Clinton era, a Senate capable of filibustering.
It seems that's about to change.
Democrats are poised to take the presidency, and make major gains in both houses of Congress. It now appears that a liberal supermajority -- making even a Senate filibuster impossible -- is not only possible but likely.
A frightening editorial in the Wall Street Journal details what we might expect from such a supermajority:
A strongly Democratic Congress is now likely to lay the final flagstones on the path to government-run health insurance from cradle to grave.
...Democrats could cause the economic downturn to last longer than it otherwise will by enacting regulatory overkill like Sarbanes-Oxley.
A tax-and-regulation scheme in the name of climate change is a top left-wing priority.... Without the GOP votes to help stage a filibuster, Senators from carbon-intensive states would have less ability to temper coastal liberals who answer to the green elites.
A liberal supermajority would move quickly to impose procedural advantages that could cement Democratic rule for years to come. ...the Fairness Doctrine is likely to be reimposed either by Congress or the Obama FCC. A major goal of the supermajority left would be to shut down talk radio and other voices of political opposition.
This is just a sampling of the terrible possibilities our country will face if the Democrats become filibuster- and veto-proof. I find it necessary to state here that I would be equally concerned if a religious conservative president was elected when Republicans were poised on grabbing a supermajority. Neither party is a friend of liberty. But we have historical precedent to show us what happens when the Left takes over completely.
The WSJ article ends with the following chilling paragraph:
In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today's left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for "change" should know they may get far more than they ever imagined. [bold added]
As I mentioned elsewhere, it is possible that Obama could play FDR to Bush's Hoover, and we could see a New New Deal in the coming years. Laws that were passed in the 1930s are still hurting us today, and helped lay the groundwork for the current financial crisis. Hopefully America will retain enough of its sense of life and core respect for individual rights -- its very American-ness -- through the next 4 or 8 years to come out on the other side, ready to rebuild.
Key to the rebuilding effort will be laying the ideological foundation now, by loudly and consistently making the case for capitalism as the only moral and practical political system.
As Ed Cline's Sparrowhawk series demonstrated, it was the revolution in men's minds, decades before any shots were fired, that made the American Revolution possible. As the drumbeat of statist attacks on liberty grows louder and louder, nothing short of that type of philosophical revolution will be enough to combat it.