MINOT, N.D. — In Great Britain there emerges a new governing majority behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

As an American, I feel a sense of jealousy. The ballot box blowout for British conservatives means our transatlantic cousins will have some stability and consistency. The government will be able to govern, in other words, because the minority parties don't have the numbers to enforce intransigence.

Back on this side of the Atlantic, unfortunately, political paralysis continues with the on-going impeachment drama being the most palpable example of it.

For years now, the minority party in American politics has refused to let the majority party govern, and the means through which the minority party accomplishes this have grown uglier.

President Bill Clinton faced impeachment, though his administration also saw bipartisan achievements such as welfare reform.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

President George W. Bush spent the first part of his term accused of being an illegitimate president — "selected not elected" because of his exceedingly narrow defeat of Democrat Al Gore in 2000 — and the second half accused of being a war criminal.

From 2008 to 2016 the gridlock got so bad that President Barack Obama resorted to governing by way of executive fiat, a move with dubious legal grounds, and not a particularly effective stratagem given that Obama's successor, President Donald Trump, has largely undone those orders with his own.

Now, with Trump, the impeachment drama embroils the federal government, leaving little time for, you know, actually governing.

Yesterday, Republican congressman Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, in words delivered in the House Judiciary Committee's latest marathon hearing about impeachment, gave us a stark prediction for the future regardless of whether this impeachment effort is successful.

“In the history of our country, the party who is not in the White House has accused the White House of abuse of power,” Armstrong said. “It started 200 years ago, it will continue into the future, except now, congratulations, it will be impeachment every single time one party controls the House of Representatives and the other party is in the White House.”

I suspect Democrats, and those who side with Democrats on the question of impeachment, will scoff at those words. Impeachment won't be the "new normal," as Armstrong described it. It is, in the here and now, an extraordinary reaction to the extraordinary wrongs committed by Trump.

I'm not so sure. As Armstrong pointed out, the out-of-power party always believes the majority is perpetrating extraordinary wrongs.

As an example of how the strange becomes normal, consider that our federal government doesn't really budget any more. Since 2010 the feds have passed an on-time, stand-alone appropriations bill just once.

That was in 2017, when Republicans held the House, Senate, and White House.

Our government has become so divided, so dysfunctional, that not even something as central and basic to the duties of government as passing budgets can be done in a routine matter.

The extraordinary has become ordinary. It's happened with the budget. It's happening too, I'm afraid, with impeachment as Armstrong points out.

To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com

Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.