Saturday, January 14, 2017


With only hours to go before dramatic political climate change
will occur in Washington, DC, there is very little that can be
“exactly” said about events ahead. For some, there is going to be
national cooling, if not a massive freeze, of the public policies
of the past eight years. For others, there will be a national
warming, if not a heat wave, of conservative initiatives. This
new political environment will be judged in the minds of the
millions of beholders or voters over the coming months and

There can be no doubt that, leading the way, is an almost
entirely new political personality. Groping for useful past
precedents is, for the first time in memory, an unsuccessful
quest. For some the circumstances are dire; for others they are
quite hopeful. As usually happens in a democratic republic,
reality will turn out to be less in the extreme. The founders of
our republic devised an extraordinary system that averts worst
case outcomes.

As I have been suggesting for months and years, there are much
larger forces in the world than a single political administration.
Some of these forces originate elsewhere in the world, and some
of them originate in the natural world. The complexity of the
U.S. national government with the interaction of elected and
bureaucratic institutions and personalities is further altered by
a federal system that devolves much to the individual states.
There is always an historical tension in the U.S. between those
forces of centralization and those of decentralization. The
former have been highlighted by the past eight years; now we
will have a period of the latter.

The U.S. political system wisely allocates a period of transition
between an election and an inauguration. Originally, this period
was four full months; now it is two and one-half months. It might
be decided in the future to make it shorter, considering the
extraordinarily increasing velocity of the pace of public life,
but there can be little doubt that an “interregnum” of some
time is useful, a time to lower the temperature of the political
campaign just past, and prepare for the heat and cold of the
storms and battles ahead.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment