Next president forced to justify administration

LEXINGTON, Ky. (U-WIRE) — We all have our guilty pleasures. One of mine is pro wrestling.
I know it’s dumb; I know it’s lewd and violent and misogynistic. I guess watching these big flesh and blood cartoons smashing each other with tables and chairs appeals to the cave man buried deep inside me somewhere. But there might be competition looming on the horizon for pro-wrestling as America’s favorite source of cartoonish combat.
If this protracted knock-down, drag-out presidential election is any indication, the next four years of American national politics is going to be full of strife.
I think we all could agree that we can pretty much throw the idea of partisan politics in Washington out the window. We’ve watched Bush’s and Gore’s fight spill all the way from Florida to the Supreme Court and it will no doubt continue into the White House and Congress.
Neither the Democrats nor Republicans have shown much inclination towards compromise in this battle, and it is hard to imagine that there won’t be sore feelings that carry over into Washington after our next president is finally decided. And let’s face it — our next president is going to be George W. Bush. Like him or not, the man has led the race in Florida from the get-go (even, according to the channel I was watching, when they were projecting Gore to win Florida). I can’t imagine any number of lawsuits or recounts will change that. Although I bet there will be more lawsuits, lots and lots of lawsuits.
As evenly contested as this election has been, whoever makes it into the White House will do so with a political black cloud following them around.
He will be perceived by half the country as having stolen the election. And the rival party will undoubtedly use that as ammo in the partisan wars that will erupt.
Both sides will be primed and ready to undermine the next president. We’ve already seen what a hard time Clinton’s rivals gave him. Just imagine what would happen if Gore somehow managed to snatch the presidency, after Bush seemingly had it won. The uproar would resemble an episode of “Smackdown.” And I’m sure the Democrats will be glad to deliver some payback to the man they will see as having unfairly won a state that should have gone to Gore. It would be nice to think that, after this mess is finally settled, our next president and Congress would put their differences behind them and make an effort to cooperate and compromise for the good of the country. But too much resentment has probably already been generated between both sides.
But the possibility lies ahead that not much will get done in the nation’s capital except a lot of fighting. That has been the case for many years, even when there were presidents in office who were more decisively elected.
Imagine what the situation will be like when the president will have to spend the entire term defending the legitimacy of his administration, possibly even in court. Maybe another impeachment will be cooked up. Wouldn’t that be fun!
Then again, maybe my concerns are unfounded. Perhaps whoever becomes president will prove himself to be a strong leader who unites Congress and the nation.
Perhaps he will go on to become one of the greatest presidents ever to serve.
I hope that is the case, but I very much doubt it. American politics has become too much about competition and not enough about compromise. I’m sure the country will continue to run relatively smooth despite the present and impending political showdowns.
Society hasn’t collapsed yet, and I doubt it will any time soon. But just as our nation won’t disintegrate, neither will it improve.
George Bauer’s column originally appeared at the University of Kentucky’s Kentucky Kernel on Dec. 5. Send comments to [email protected]