E.J. Dionne frets that, if elected, John Kerry may not be able to govern, since the House will almost certainly remain under Republican control, and the best the Dems can hope for is a narrow majority in the Senate. Dionne is right to be concerned. It is difficult to see Kerry pushing any serious liberal legislation through Congress in the near term. Republicans can also be expected to emulate the Dems when it comes to Kerry’s judicial nominees. As I said, what goes around comes around. Of course, if Kerry chooses to combat terrorism vigorously, he can expect strong Republican support, but that’s not what Dionne has in mind when he talks about “governing” or “common ground.”
Relying on Sen. Lincoln Chafee, of all people, Dionne suggests that a Kerry victory could cause some Republicans in Congress to reassess their position on issues such as “upper income tax cuts.” But it’s difficult to see how a “red state-blue state,” two or three percentage point Kerry victory would have that effect. Clinton defeated Dole by a bigger margin than Kerry is likely to achieve, and Republicans in Congress responded, not by moderating their positions on domestic policy, but by impeaching the Slick One.
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