Voters Have Backed One-Party Rule In The Past

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Over this election hangs the possibility that the Democrats will emerge in control of both chambers of Congress as well as the White House.

Senator McCain has given voice to Republican concern about the specter of a unified government. He called Senator Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "a dangerous threesome" who would "tax and spend, tax and spend."

One-party rule is a tradition in most Democratic governments. The British Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons. And cabinet members are also members of Parliament.

Our constitution writers, as a reaction to colonial rule, opted for a government of checks and balances. Yet, especially in times of crisis, American voters have chosen to give power to a single party.

Such was the Depression year of 1933 — when Franklin Roosevelt took office. He promised in his inaugural address that the nation "will endure...revive and prosper." And he followed with a quick series of measures designed to speed recovery...checked only by the Supreme Court.

Such a time also was the 89th Congress in 1965, which President Johnson enlisted to enact such reforms as Medicare, education reform and immigration reform. Not to mention the historic Voting Rights Act.

But this was in a time of war in Vietnam and rioting in the cities.

1992 was another year of unity, when Bill Clinton was elected President and the Democrats retained Congressional majorities.

Will 2008 be such a year? Will the unsteady response to disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the financial meltdown argue for unified government?

Will the widespread feeling among Americans that America is headed in the wrong direction overcome fears of a too-powerful government?

As they say in radio, stay tuned.

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