Americans cannot stand a unified government, and there’s at least a scrap of evidence that unified government doesn’t like America. To wit:

1960s: Democrats run everything. Result: Calamity in Vietnam.

2000s: Republicans run everything: Result: Calamity in Iraq.

The saying goes that power corrupts and ultimate power corrupts ultimately. Think of all the small-government Republicans who stormed into office in the past 12 years with the earnest intention of cutting the size and expense of government. They had the comfort of standing by their principles with the comfort of knowing they wouldn’t survive a Clinton veto.

Bush comes to office, veto threat disappears and suddenly they discover the vastness of American power right there in their hot little hands, and so what do they do? Abandon their small-government principles faster than poop through a goose.

In the ’80s the country prospered with a Republican president and a Democratic Congress. In the ’90s it prospered with a Republican congress and a Democratic president. In this decade the economy did OK but the overseas adventure cost the country dearly on the international stage.

Power in the United States is divided roughly five ways: Courts, Legislature, Executive, Wall Street, and the Media. With the current election the Democrats control the Legislature with friends in the media, while the Republicans control the executive and the courts with friends on Wall Street. This still gives the Republicans a 3-2 advantage, so they don’t really have all that much to complain about.

Checks and balances seem been bred into the DNA of Americans. For 30 years, conservative operatives did everything in their power to discredit their opposition and place themselves at the power pinnacle but when they got there, they choked. Maybe it’s because they’re Americans, too, and have no concept of what to do with unchecked power.

Maybe a bit of sanity can return now that we’ve gotten through this bad patch.