“Politics is the art of choosing the unpalatable over the catastrophic.” –J.K. Galbraith, apt words for these times.
I guess these have often been the options. At Washington Monthly, economist Paul Gottlieb makes an analogy to Charles I at the time of Oliver Cromwell. Although there were some differences, of course… .
From the article:
One key difference between England in the 1640s and America today is that we have a written constitution. That fact should protect us from the more extreme and unilateral forms of constitutional re-jiggering that were practiced by both sides in the English disputes of the 17th century. But, as many observers of this month’s events have pointed out, changing the precedents that are allowed within the letter of the constitution can tip the delicate balance of our three-headed government in dangerous ways. The House of Representatives is using its budget authority to give itself, not a line-item veto over new legislation, which is sometimes defensible, but line-item repeal power over laws that both houses of Congress have already passed and the President has signed. That this new practice has made American governance chaotic is clear. That it is fundamentally anti-democractic is a point that has been made by many (“one-half of one-third of the government….”).
Charles I Insulted by Cromwell’s Soldiers by Hippolyte Delaroche