Here in Canada, we have an election approximately every two years or so. This is because we have a minority government. The Conservatives (who are actually called what they are here) got less that 50% + 1 in the last few elections, so they basically have to work together with the other parties to get things done.
This of course means that not a whole lot gets done. Or at least when things are done, they’re driven to the ideological centre instead of the comparatively hard right where The Right Honourable Stephen Harper would, I think, gladly bulldoze us.
It’s a good thing. The various parties dangle the spectre of election in front of eachother, everyone goes home suitable angry and frightened, and the secretaries and bureaucrats who actually do things do things. There is no radical, decisive action, everything is completely gridlocked, and the boat doesn’t get rocked.
This is, I think, how government should be. It should be a lot slower than it is to make big decisions. Take, for instance, the American PATRIOT act (another in a long series of American legislation named the opposite of what they actually are). It was obviously sitting in a drawer somewhere, waiting to be trotted out at the appropriate moment. Should it have waiting a while so cooler heads could prevail? I think so. It’s a bad piece of legislation written by people who are very much not the patriots they think they are.
In this sense, the Republican victory this year is a good thing. There will be no groundswell of liberal or conservative change. The two parties will dangle the “American public” and the “mandate” they received in front of eachother, everyone will go home suitable angry and frustrated, the Democrats to their secret Communist societies, and the Republicans to their secret extra-marital homosexual trysts, and the secretaries and bureaucrats who get things done will get things done.
It’s a beautiful thing.