US elections: Real battle may be for dominance in Congress…

Interesting snippet from Dan Hannan who’s just spent the weekend with fellow conservatives in the US, at CPAC. Dan’s long been a fan of the American way, which you can take or leave according to taste, but in one thing is probably dead right. The right may not fare too well in the presidential elections, and yet consolidate it’s strength in Congress:

The Founders knew what they were doing when they put Congress in Article I of the Constitution and the Presidency in Article II. As the Executive has enlarged its authority beyond that envisaged in the constitution, so the state has swollen.

If you prefer to look at it in partisan terms, consider that the Republicans were most dominant during the period between the Civil War and the end of the nineteenth century. Throughout this era, they upheld the doctrine of strong Congress, weak White House. And, sure enough, the presidents of this era are reassuringly forgettable: James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, Chester Arthur, Rutherford B Hayes.

Foreign media and – more surprisingly – most Americans obsess about the pros and cons of the various presidential hopefuls, but a far more important question is whether there will be a Congressional majority dedicated to proper spending cuts.

That may or may not be a tacit admission that the Whitehouse is even now beyond the means of the Republican party.  But when you are in opposition a strong position in the Capitol is a decent means to squeeze whatever life is left in the executive.  And a new set of Governors means a decent card to run against Hillary (or someone) in 2016.