In the wake of Evan Bayh’s announcement this past week of his decision not to seek reelection to the Quayle seat in the U.S. Senate, there has been much hand-wringing in the mainstream media about how “ungovernable” America has become. The president, you see, can’t get his agenda through Congress despite super-duper majorities in both Houses. The opposing party just won’t cooperate.
Well, just about four years ago, another president couldn’t get his agenda through Congress–and we didn’t see similar hand-wringing in the media. Those today calling the filibuster an affront to democracy (or some such) were once calling it an indispensable tool to protect the Constitution (or some such).
One of my favorite blogresses, Jennifer Rubin, has been all over this. On Wednesday, she wrote:
. . . liberals can’t accept the underlying message — that Obama and the Democratic leadership have failed to govern and are chasing moderates out of the party. So the battle is on to make this about the “system” or “partisanship” — floating and amorphous defects untraceable to Obama or any particular Democratic leader.
Yesterday, Rubin built on this notion:
Democrats have two excuses for what has gone so terribly wrong in the last year. The first is the “America is ungovernable” meme. Well, it has been impossible to govern from the Left, certainly. But we have yet to see evidence that a Centrist agenda, fiscal restraint, and pro-growth policies don’t work or can’t pass. Maybe Obama-Reid-Pelosi aren’t capable of formulating or passing broadly popular proposals, but that is different from claiming that there is something broken in our constitutional system or political culture.
America is not ungovernable; Americans just don’t want to be governed from the left.
UPDATE: Seems Rubin isn’t the only one offering this hypothesis. Via Instapundit, we get this from George Will, “[W]ith metronomic regularity, we go through these moments in Washington where we complain about the government being broken. These moments have one thing in common: The Left is having trouble enacting its agenda.”