October 8th, 2008

Democrats and the new concentration of power: those fabulous Carter years?

Here’s a great description of the show hearings going on right now in Congress:

Democrats have begun a search for the culprit in the financial collapse in a manner somewhat akin to the OJ Simpson search for Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman’s murderer.

Fannie and Freddie? Never heard of ’em.

Stanley Kurtz, who’s already been doing yeoman’s duty on Obama/Ayers, has decided to fill in the gaps on Fannie and Freddie and Acorn if Congress won’t. Too bad most of America won’t read it.

I think the piece is especially strong in telling how Acorn pushed Fannie and Freddie to finally relax their own accounting rules and allow themselves to deal in all those bad loans and thus to encourage lenders to make more of them. While it’s true that this crisis needed many more steps than that to become as metastatic as it has (derivatives, bundling, mark to market, et.al.), the origins of the disease were in Acorn and the two F’s, aided and abetted all the way by Democrats in Congress.

That brings to mind the sort of thing I’m most concerned about this election—what Democrats (or any one party) can do with power. It’s not so much the possibility of an Obama Presidency—although that would be bad enough—but the possibility of an Obama Presidency plus a Congress so strongly Democratic that it might even be filibuster-proof. That combination could do very serious damage indeed. It’s also likely that several Supreme Court Justices will be appointed by the next President, which in the case of Obama would skew the makeup of the Court towards liberal activism for decades to come.

This is the prospect we face: all three branches dominated by the liberal side of the political coin, with no checks on their power but the ability of the people to vote them out next time in two of the branches. Even in the early years of the Bush administration when Republicans controlled all three branches of government, the conservative majority in the Court was very iffy and the breakdown in Congress was very close (at times a tie in the Senate). This time the power of the Democrats is likely to be far greater than that.

The last time so much imbalance occurred was during the Carter years, although even then the Burger Court was not as liberal as a Court with three Obama-supported Justices would probably be. But Congress certainly was; this was the composition of the Senate:

95th Congress (1977-1979)

Majority Party: Democrat (61 seats)
Minority Party: Republican (38 seats)
Other Parties: 1 Independent

And this was the composition of the House:

95th Congress (1977-1979)

292 Democrats
143 Republicans

One possible silver lining is that, if history repeats itself and Democrats get this sort of control again, it would also give them the disadvantage of having to own whatever they might do. Theoretically, at least. We saw in the recent bailout vote that even though Democrats had the majority and didn’t need the Republicans to pass the bill, they tried with some success to pin its initial failure to pass on Republican recalcitrance. But if the Democrat majority becomes even more overwhelming, that approach will become more difficult, and they will be forced to take responsibility for their actions or inactions, having no big bad Republicans or evil Presidents to blame.

18 Responses to “Democrats and the new concentration of power: those fabulous Carter years?”

  1. Rose Says:

    Thanks for that link.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    Oh, cheer up.

  3. Highlander Says:

    “… if the Democrat majority becomes even more overwhelming, that approach will become more difficult, and they will be forced to take responsibility for their actions or inactions, having no big bad Republicans or evil Presidents to blame.”

    Will it matter if, with that power, they move to silence conservative voices by re-instituting the Fairness Doctrine and regulating the internet? It could be a long time before we see another Republican president, or a Republican majority in Congress if there is no access to conservative thought to be had.

  4. vanderleun Says:

    Get up. Duck under the ropes. Walk to the center of the ring. Pick up the towel and take it back out of the ring.

  5. Scottie Says:

    Weren’t democrats in control of Congress between 1992 and 1994, with a democrat in the White House?

    If so, I believe that is a more recent and similar parallel than to Carter regarding how they would perform.

    By 1994, the country had developed such a bad taste in it’s mouth from democrat control of Congress that they handed control of the legislative branch to the republicans in a political slaughter of the democrats during the 1994 elections.

    History could repeat itself in 2010 if democrats attain control of the 2 branches of government again for 2 solid years to do with as they please.

    Unfortunately, the rest of us have to pay for such a mistake along with those (misguidedly) voting for a democrat majority.

  6. Rose Says:

    Don’t give up yet!

    Palin’s on right now – WOW!

    She just nailed – Barack or Biden ? – not sure which – on changing the position on drilling – says what that tells me he won’t drill for oil for the right reasons, but will drill for VOTES… I don’t have the exact words, it was way more concise – geez… she is GOOD!

  7. A fan Says:

    Repeat after me: President Palin. Ah, now, I feel a lot better.

  8. sashal Says:

    don’t forget to thank neocons for the democratic dominance…
    People are truly sick of your misgoverning.
    Once again dems have to clean up repub mess

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Scottie: Democrats were in control of both houses in the early Clinton years, but the Court wasn’t so liberal, and they did not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, either.

  10. Scottie Says:

    neo-neocon: Glad my memory isn’t as bad as I thought.

    However, I suspect the record of the 1994 USSC was approximately what it is now – 5 / 4 splits with O’Connor being a swing vote at that time, so the concern regarding the USSC now may be about what it was then.

    You do have a point though on the filibuster proof majority issue if the democrats take control in the Senate.

    That would be a huge difference between the Carter era and the beginning of the Clinton era.

    Oh, and I’m jazzed that neo-neocon actually responded to one of my comments (yippee!)!

  11. Tater Says:

    The Dems are also gonna inherit this economic mess as well, which is appropriate seeing as they almost exclusively caused it. Will be hard for them to blame the GOP after Obama takes over.

    Do see some silver linings though:

    Illegal immigration will cure itself as there’ll be no jobs in the socialist state.

    Carter may finally lose the title of worst President ever.

    A 1994 revival in 2010 after a couple of years of Obama Nation forces the sheeple to wake up and go “Where are the adults in Congress?”


  12. FredHjr Says:

    I keep preaching the fact that there is only one country on earth where socialism – either the light Euro kind or the more hard kind – has yet to be discredited. Here in the U.S. For quite a while now the Left has been building its momentum in the U.S. It has not always had electoral victory, but they keep working and keep indoctrinating in our schools and in our universities. It’s now bearing fruit for them.

    In the long run it might serve the nation well, for generations to come, if the Left’s moment has arrived so that the inevitable screw up can finally be attributed to their brain-dead economic theories. And that appeasement of dictators and totalitarian movements, whether the 7th century kind of much later, more modern ones, is finally shown to be the bitter fruit that it always is.

    Collectively, we deserve the pain we are about to experience. Not all of us contributed to this scenario, but the pain is necessary in order to get the virus beaten and our immune system inoculated.

  13. Tater Says:


    Hate to say this, as I agree with you up to the last paragraph, but the UK is far more socialist than we are–and they had Neville Chamberlin. They didn’t learn, and we aren’t gonna learn, at least for the long haul. Good news is, we’ll prolly learn for a generation or two, how liberals truly screw up everything they do.

    But you’re spot on in one regard, IT’S GONNA BE PAINFUL!


  14. Artfldgr Says:

    the possibility of an Obama Presidency plus a Congress so strongly Democratic that it might even be filibuster-proof.

    how about that and a crisis provided by any one of a dozen places or groups who have backed obama, and then suspending the constitution just for a little while. then all those laws the dems have been passing that are not enforceaable (like the language laws), suddenly become enforceable, just for a while.

    not like it hasnt been done before.

  15. FredHjr Says:


    Why only a generation or two? If the Left screws the pooch on the economy and allows Muslim terrorists or Iran to anally ream us and destroy Israel, the mess will be there for all to see. In the journalistic record and burned into the memories of everyone who can comprehend what is happening.

    I was on the Left in 1980 when most of my classmates at UNH voted for Ronald Reagan. It took awhile for me to find my way out of socialist thought – out to 1987. But I did observe what was happening earlier and the lesson registered once my template had changed. For us Younger Boomers the Seventies were not a great time, when it came to trying to find jobs and get started in life. Plus, an appeasing President in the face of an overt act of war is still burned in our memories. We are still at war with Iran, but some idiots didn’t get the memo.

  16. physicsguy Says:

    I agree with Artfldgr. It’s apparent that BHO is a groomed puppet of the radical left. With his presidency, and the Dem. majority in Congress, it’s a short step away to suspension of rights for them to maintain power. All they need is just enough of the police/military to go along with enforcement.

    A repeat of the Carter years would be a blessing in comparison.

    I worry that I am sounding paranoid, but this guy scares the living beejeezus out of me.

  17. Ursus Maritimus Says:

    “The present troubles are the result of what Bush and the Republicans did back when they were in trouble!”

    You *really* think the media would balk at that one?

    And you don’t even need the fairness doctrine. Just use Commercial Speech. Commercial Speech is about getting you to favor a certain company. Republican television ads are about them getting into congress to favour certain companies. Thus Republican advertising that is unfair or deceptive, as adjudicated by the stakeholders does not merit total protection.

  18. Tater Says:


    For us Younger Boomers the Seventies were not a great time, when it came to trying to find jobs and get started in life. Plus, an appeasing President in the face of an overt act of war is still burned in our memories. We are still at war with Iran, but some idiots didn’t get the memo.

    Younger boomer myself, joined the military back in ’77 (still in now, some 30+ years later). Was also a Democrat, but back then the party had some honorable folks in government–no longer. Agree with your comment above, Carter drove me to vote Republican for the first time in ’80. But my point is that most folks under 35 don’t remember or know anything about the Iran hostages, Carter, misery index etc. Guess who’s voting for Obama?

    Have no doubts he’ll screw up the country like liberals always do (CRA, ACORN, credit crisis going on right now). But a couple of generations later, no one will remember, and the next messiah will arise.

    History doeth repeat itself.


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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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