Monday, 5 January 2015
From Glory to Gridlock
Andrew Rudalevige presented his keynote address to the American Politics Group at its conference opening at the Midland Hotel, Manchester. A typically fascinating presentation from Professor Rudalevige which contained good and bad news. The good news is that Obama's presidency has actually achieved a lot - but the bad feeling about worsening gridlock is justified. Looking ahead - is there a way out? Partisan is actually becoming more marked - as some fine graphs demonstrated.
Many of us have been brought up (particularly in the UK) with the illusion that the US President is the most powerful man in the world. The Constitution did not provide for that - and perhaps the illusion is due less to the skill of particular presidents, than Congress' abdication of power. Well we will see as the 114th Congress convenes this week whether a legislature wholly controlled by a single party will successfully weaken the President - or whethe Obama can skilfully divide and rule a party with many internal divisions.
US politics has always been interesting - but is it about to get more interesting (and/or frustrating?). Do send me your thoughts.