I have only a couple of comments to make about a very strange system of government that has been broken badly in our current political environment. In 2008 we elected a democratic president with a large majority in the Senate and in the House. During that period republicans used the filibuster to neutralize the democratic majority in the Senate. That required the president to persuade all of the Senate democrats, and some republicans, to produce a super majority of 60 votes to pass any legislation proposed by the president. The House majority was also neutralized by the use of the filibuster in the Senate. In the president's second term he retained a majority in the Senate but the filibuster required that a super majority was still needed to get anything approved by the Senate. Republicans were able to win the majority in the House in 2010 and it has been able to prevent a president with a majority in the Senate from governing.
We have lived with this system of governance for a long time and it has worked effectively most of that time. It does not work in our current environment. The president is less able to influence public opinion with the advent of cable TV. One of the news networks has targeted an audience that desires its flavor of political reporting successfully. It is essentially engaged in propaganda, and it is quite good at it. There has always been some political favoritism in our media, but it has never gone to the extremes that we see today. Consequently, we have an environment is which the divisions in our country are amplified, and the values that have held us together have been weakened. It is not surprising that ideological differences have become more apparent in our politics. Unfortunately, we have been presented with difficult challenges in our economy and in our ability to provide positive leadership in a very troubled world which looks to us for leadership.