Lou Dobbs talks about the ‘NEW’ Congress taking office this week and the country returning to an ACTUAL ‘two-party’ system of checks and balances with Democrats AND Republicans holding power in Congress.In the video "debrief," Dobbs states:
We're coming up on a big week as we launch 2011. Congress is coming back on Wednesday. Can't wait. Can you? It's felt pretty good not to have them in session, I don't know how it's going to feel to have them back. I'm sure of one thing: it's going to feel better than last year because this year we don't have one-party rule. We're back to the two-party political system in our government, checks and balances, all that sort of thing. It's a very very important development. I think it's part of the reason I feel so good about this year . . . [Emphasis added.]In this short statement, Dobbs manages to conflate divided government with the two-party system while confusing the two-party system with the system of checks and balances. In effect, his working assumption is that only divided government provides the conditions necessary to ensure checks and balances. Given that divided government has become the rule rather than the exception at the federal level over the last fifty years or so, it is likely that many American would essentially agree with this proposition. If it is true, however, then we must draw the obvious conclusion that government by the Democratic and Republican parties has undermined the separation of powers in the United States.
The argument for divided government under the conditions of the two-party state is actually quite simple. When the presidency and the legislature are controlled by the same party, the president will not check the Congress and the Congress will not check the president, but rather they work in concert for the benefit of their party and its primary constituencies, and the separation of powers will be undermined. When the powers of government are divided between the parties, the argument goes, we are ensured an antagonistic relationship between the executive and legislative branches.
Yet, though they pander to different segments of the public, the major parties ultimately serve the same interests, namely, those of the ruling criminal-political class, and thus a very similar argument can be made with respect to so-called divided government itself. When the presidency and the legislature are controlled by different factions of the two-party state, the president does not check the Congress and the Congress does not check the president, but rather they work in concert for the benefit of the parties themselves and their primary constituencies, and the separation of powers is undermined. Consider but one obvious example of such political malfeasance. Arguably, the imperial presidency and the cult of the executive rival the two-party system itself as the single greatest threat to the separation of powers in the United States. Support for the imperial presidency is rampant among the legions of executive cultists in both the Democratic and Republican parties. The imperial presidency and the cult of the executive have thrived and metastasized under the conditions of divided government over the last fifty years, no matter which party has controlled the Congress or the Presidency.
Perhaps, in this context, all that need be done is to take the argument in favor of divided government to its logical conclusion: no party should control the presidency, or the Senate or the House of Representatives. An independent opposition is necessary to counter the enemies of constitutional, democratic, republican government in the ruling political class.