The Washington Post

Dreading the aftermath

The weather this morning — dreary here — presages my mood, not only about the coming election, but its aftermath.  We are witnessing a campaign that once again is all about winning and nothing about governing, and both Ed and I think that’s a particular travesty this year.  Because winning will be the easiest thing the next president does for a long time.

Awaiting the winner will be the four horsemen of the political apocalypse: the economy, debt, China and an unpredictable crisis. The next president will face an immediate impasse on the budget, with automatic cuts taking place, as agreed to in the last debt talks debacle, unless a new agreement is reached. The markets and the economy will be watching those deliberations closely, both poised to weaken badly if Washington once again can't come to  a compromise.

Meanwhile, China is watching, too. It holds a huge portion of our debt and has privately, and occasionally publicly, complained about out fiscal situation.  Perhaps it will tighten the screws by demanding better terms, which shock our economy once again.  And then there is the yet unknown crisis that often darkens the president's door — perhaps Iran or a terrorist strike — at a time of maximum vulnerability. Why so dark a prediction?  Just when our problems are getting more complex and need greater innovation in the solutions, our candidates are becoming more rigid.

There's nothing particularly new in this New York times article, but it does frame just how rabid some of the new blood is that wants to enter our political system. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is too liberal, some of the new Republican Senate members and candidates seem to believe. Hmmm. Doesn't augur well for the kindergarten metric of “plays and works well with others.” As Bob Dylan said, "It ain’t dark yet, but it's getting there."


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