American politics seems to be in stasis. It's not quite gridlock, where nothing gets done at all. Instead, its government by autopilot. The bureaucracy continues to spit out rules, budgets continue to grow via continuing resolutions, and our foreign policy seems locked into a pattern of daily reminding us that the rest of the world is going to do whatever the hell it wants to do and we have no good options for changing that.
I'm of mixed minds about our current political drift. On the one hand, my libertarian side feels that, if our legislators are unable to band together to write new laws, whew. Most new laws always nibble away at freedom in some fashion, either by increasing the cost of government or the complexity of our lives. Having spent much of February and March slogging through my taxes, the last thing I need is for the government to pass some new "fix" to the tax laws that adds more bookkeeping to my life.
On the other hand, my biggest libertarian fear is that, if congress and the senate are no longer capable of governing, they abdicate power to the executive branch, which is then free to claim more and more power, more and more authority, without having the fear of restraint by elected officials. Not to pick on Obama, but it does feel like every other day he's altering the implementation of the ACA without bothering to seek the congressional authority to do so. It's a devilishly complicated law that was poorly written and passed by legislators who hadn't read it, and couldn't have comprehended it if they had. I don't see this as some dark scheme to crush our current healthcare system, or implement socialism. It's just what happens when politicians do their jobs in a half-ass fashion.
What I do fear is that once congress steps back and allows the executive branch the freedom to alter the implementation of laws without seeking changes in the letter of the law, the possibility arises that this will become the new normal. Congress can devote it's real energy to doing what it does best, getting reelected, and let all the fine tuning of actual government be handled by the executive branch. They will never have to pass difficult legislation that could actually put them in danger of getting voted out by their constituents. They can pass feel good legislation without fear that it will ever become actual implemented law.
In the end, the only person with any authority who will have to answer to voters will be the president. Only, the president won't actually be running the government, since his appointments will all grind to a halt in the senate. But, it's not as if the bureaucracies will shut down if there's no politically appointed head. They'll just grind on, with the bureaucrats not really accountable to anyone. There will be no political head to crack down on them, and the money to run the bureaucracy will keep coming in as congress passes continuing resolutions year after year.
What's the name for this system of government? Where we still get to vote for our leaders, but they increasingly have no actual role in governing? If there isn't a word already, might I suggest shamocracy? Or maybe shameocracy? Because if government's become a sham, it should be our collective shame.