If I turn on my memory, I can still hear Illinois' Everett Dirksen thundering (he was quoting someone, Goethe I think, but thundering anyway), "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." He was speaking for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, or maybe the '65 Voting Rights Act, part of a bipartisan Senate majority which made those measures law. Yes, bipartisan. The Senate was like that then.
Not today. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP leader in the Senate, says his top goal is to make Barack Obama a one-term president. More important than avoiding World War III? More important than diminishing hunger or poverty? I guess so.
The lame-duck Congress comes back tomorrow and one of the things they have to deal with is President George W. Bush's tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year. Democrats want to extend them for those who make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year. Republicans want to extend them for everybody. Some moderate--was it Richard Lugar?--said let's extend them for everyone who makes less than a million a year. But that's a compromise, and those seem out of fashion these hyper-partisan days. Same intransigence seems likely on other issues, like the new START treaty with Russia.
Government by inaction, paralysis? Get ready. I think it's time has come.