Peter Durantine posts a new blog post.
Divided government doesn’t have to mean ineffective governing. Over the last 60 years some real progress in America has been achieved because of divided government, which is defined as one party holds the White House and the other party both houses of Congress.
In 1947-49, the Republican-controlled 80th Congress, which Democratic President Harry Truman called the “Do Nothing Congress,” sought to roll back New Deal legislation such as Social Security that was enacted between 1933 and 1946 by Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic-controlled Congresses. The GOP also rejected Truman’s Fair Deal legislative agenda. After serving in the minority for 14 years, during which time labor made great strides, Republicans were chomping at the bit to re-shape the national agenda for business.
The Republicans passed many pro-business bills and looked for ways of undoing the New Deal, but they had miscalculated their political strategy. Not only did it ruin their chance to take the White House after 16 years of Democratic control – Truman won handily despite polls’ and pundits’ predictions to the contrary – they lost control of Congress to the Democrats for another four years. Republicans took power again with Dwight Eisenhower’s election to the presidency in 1952, but lost it again in the mid-term two years later.
As supreme allied commander during World War II, Eisenhower understood the need to work with people you disagree with. He easily grasped the congressional Republicans’ folly, and he knew that the overwhelming majority of Americans favored the New Deal because those programs improved their lives. The agenda of the extreme elements in his party left him wary. READ MORE »