Legislation Fatigue

I have been con­tem­plat­ing the recent elec­tion and what the shel­lack­ing of Democ­rats by Repub­li­cans “means” if anything.

The first point is that it means it was a mid-term elec­tion. I have already point­ed this out back in Jan­u­ary.

The sec­ond point is that the econ­o­my is weak and the unem­ploy­ment rate is high. So the elec­tion result can be con­strued to reflect the vot­ers frus­tra­tion with that sit­u­a­tion. The prob­lem with this is that the elec­tion results did not give us a gov­ern­ment that is like­ly to do much, if any­thing, about the econ­o­my. So to say that the vot­ers were vot­ing the econ­o­my is to say that the vot­ers vot­ed against their own interest.

There are those who say the vot­ers deliv­ered a man­date to repeal the Patient Pro­tec­tion and Afford­able Care Act. But again, the gov­ern­ment the vot­ers cre­at­ed is not going to repeal the act (at best the House will have a vote on this), so it makes no sense to claim the elec­torate want­ed repeal when the elec­torate did­n’t come close to vot­ing for a gov­ern­ment that could deliv­er such a thing.

Some vot­ers were vot­ing for fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty. Most of those were vot­ing for the par­ty that was less like­ly to deliv­er that, but this is not rel­e­vant to our discussion.

Sure, there were plen­ty of indi­vid­ual vot­ers who were vot­ing the econ­o­my or vot­ing repeal of health care reform, but I am look­ing for the mean­ing of the elec­tion result, not the motives of indi­vid­ual voters.

What did the vot­ers give us? They gave (we gave our­selves) a divid­ed gov­ern­ment. It sure looks like we will have grid­lock for the next two years on every­thing but the most banal legislation.

Why did the vot­ers give us this? Leg­is­la­tion fatigue. Are we not all (those of us pay­ing any atten­tion at all) just a bit exhaust­ed from the last two years of con­gress? I was ready for more, but I con­cede that I could use a break. Now we all have a chance to catch our breath.

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