From The Boston Globe:
Change, in politics, is a lyrical and seductive tune. Think about Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom, or Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal; how Ronald Reagan greeted us with ”Morning in America,” or how Barack Obama ran an entire presidential campaign around the theme of ”change.” To listen to the victory speeches delivered on Election Day last week, one might start to believe that change is in the air again. Certainly, candidates across the country ran–and won–on the promise of changing Washington. But anyone counting on a radical transformation in government should steel themselves for another round of heartbreak come January, when the new Congress takes office: Their leadership is no more likely to revolutionize government than Obama’s did in 2008, or the long line of presidents and congresses before them.
We might feel frustrated at this inaction, or relieved, depending on our politics. But what we shouldn’t feel is surprised. Because no matter how much politicians love to serenade us to the tune of change, and no matter how happy we are to flirt right back, our governmental system was designed to prevent seismic change from happening. It’s easy to see this as a flaw, or as a failure of the politicians we elect, but that would be wrong: In fact, the people to blame are the Founders of our republic. When they wrote the Constitution, setting out how power would be wielded, shared, and transferred, they did it specifically to prevent radical change. By conscious and deliberate design, our system favors incremental changes over the kind of revolutionary change that politicians love to promise. And 220 years of history, so far, suggest that that has been a very good thing indeed.