Feature

The beauty of ‘the rotation of power’

The rotation of power can be messy, but “it ultimately helps create a near miraculous social stability,” said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post.

Charles KrauthammerThe Washington Post

Barack Obama sold himself as an anti-war candidate, said Charles Krauthammer, yet he has “followed the Bush endgame to a T in Iraq and doubled down in Afghanistan.” Is he a hypocrite? No, it’s just the “natural result of the rotation of power”—one of the true marvels of our political system. The opposition party opposes, because “that’s its job.” But once it assumes power, “it must govern,” so out of sheer pragmatism, “it adopts some of the policies it denounced.” That strips sensible initiatives of partisan taint, “and a new national consensus is born.”

Republicans denounced FDR’s New Deal as socialism for two decades, but when Dwight Eisenhower was elected, he wisely left the new social safety net intact. Bill Clinton adopted Ronald Reagan’s philosophy on balancing budgets, welfare reform, and free trade, and thus “consolidated Reaganism.” The Obama administration has adopted many of George Bush’s anti-terrorism policies, such as warrantless wiretaps and detention without trial, because Democrats are now responsible for “protecting us from the bad guys.” The rotation of power can be messy, but “it ultimately helps create a near miraculous social stability.”

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