Kudlow, Collier Score With Defenses Of Gridlock

The favorite line being pushed out across the land – a line bound for increased prominence now that we’re about to have yet another trillion-dollar version of Obamacare to torment the American people with – is that the Republicans are the Party Of No, that the reason the American people are upset with the president is his inability to get things through Congress and that “partisanship” and “Washington gridlock” are ruining the country.

As the Washington Examiner’s Larry Kudlow and Pajamas Media’s Will Collier ably demonstrate in separate pieces today, that line is a line of bull. It’s not gridlock which is ruining Barack Obama’s tenure as president, it’s his policies – and gridlock, in fact, is generally speaking a good thing which does more to prevent stupid policies from becoming law than to prevent the people’s business from getting done.

Kudlow’s offering isn’t so much a defense of gridlock as a demand for it. Coming as he always does from an economic perspective, the CNBC financial guru and possible candidate against Chuck Schumer for the U.S. Senate in New York this fall suggests that the activities of Tea Party activists and other conservatives must step up to an even more frenetic pace than last year:

So let’s take this momentum forward by using it to drain any remaining power from the extravagant spending-and-borrowing assault in Democratic Washington. And let’s especially use this Tea Party power to stop Democratic plans for another round of broad-based tax increases.
Kudlow says that the GOP and the conservative movement should grind to a halt the president’s major legislative initiatives, all of which are unpopular with the American people and in the case of health care a Rasmussen poll over the weekend suggests that 54 percent of the American people, including 59 percent of independents, want precisely the gridlock Kudlow advocates; they would prefer to see any healthcare legislation held until after the mid-term elections. If the Democrat majorities in both houses can be put to pasture, he suggests, a raft of policy proposals should be presented to Obama so as to put him on record as signing them or issuing a veto. Among them:
  • Rolling back discretionary spending to 2008 levels.
  • Getting rid of Obama’s refundable tax credits.
  • Spending-limit laws indexed to population and inflation.
  • A flat tax.
  • Eliminating capital gains, dividend and inheritance taxes, and replacing corporate taxes with some kind of value-added or sales tax.
  • Monetary reform so as to value the dollar based on a basket of commodities.
  • Expanded free trade.
Kudlow calls his program “free market populism,” and it sounds like a decent platform for a Republican senate candidate this fall. But he advocates gridlock until a new, perhaps Republican-dominated, Congress can take its seats next year. More or less it’s a call for a Gen. MacAuliffe at Bastogne. Obstructionism, perhaps, but with a purpose; in Kudlow’s formulation the GOP in Congress would be doing the bidding of the American people by fighting the unwanted policies of Obama and his Democrats and in turn would be rewarded with Congressional majorities to press the fight forward.
But if Kudlow says a holding action is a means to an end, Collier goes much further than that. He says gridlock itself is highly underrated:

One of the great media gripes over the past several decades has been “Washington gridlock,” meaning a period when one party controls the presidency and the other has majorities in one or both houses of Congress. Given the institutional bias towards activist government — virtually every “crisis” story in the press comes with an implied plea for the authorities to “do something” — it’s not surprising that the media can’t stand it when the government is divided and significant new legislation is a rarity.

But the media is not the nation, and not a few observers outside the MSM tend to value divided government as their favorite variety.

Collier says divided government, such as that which would result if the GOP were to retake control of Congress, is a good thing because two sides who hate each other’s guts won’t be able to get together to expand government. He won’t go so far as to say that a Democrat president and a Republican Congress, the Clinton-Gingrich scenario he discusses at length in his article, is the best possibility – regardless of who’s running the show on Capitol Hill with a Democrat president America still has to contend with the Janet Renos and Eric Holders of the world – and instead wonders what might happen if a Republican president bent on reducing the size of government was coupled with a Republican congress sharing such a view. In the meantime, however, Collier has no problem with the constitutional checks and balances grinding the gears of government to a halt and allowing the people of the nation to solve their own problems.

It’s a narrative the Washington/New York legacy media can’t seem to understand, but America was designed to have a slow-moving, incrementalist government incapable of dynamic action to solve social problems. Dynamic action was meant for the private sector or, at most, local and state governments. This has been lost over the past 100 years, with those periods of divided government serving as interregna between the advances of the federal nanny-state. But as Kudlow and Collier suggest, better an interregnum than an Obama running roughshod over the economy and individual liberty in an effort to create a public-sector paradise.



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