There is a pendulum in our country's politics which over generations swings from left to right, then back from right to left.
Few web surfers have been around long enough to observe this phenomenon, so for them here's a very short history lesson.
The swing to the right
When the first World War ended in 1918, a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, was in the White House. The pendulum of politics was reaching the end of its swing left, and the next three presidents (Harding, Coolidge and Hoover) were Republican and conservative during this decade of enormous economic growth culminating in the Great Depression of 1928.
A swing to the left
Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president as a result, and America swung wildly to the left for the next thirty years until the election of World War 2 hero Dwight David Eisenhower in 1953 when the country wobbled right for eight years until our own John Fitzgerald Kennedy began the swing left again for another eight years through the escalation of the Vietnam War and Lyndon Johnston's one term ending in 1969 .
Another swing to the right
Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford lead the country on a more conservation course for the next eight years, only to be interrupted for Jimmy Carter's one, four year term, but continued to the right again for the twelve years of presidents Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, 1981-1993.
Little difference between GOP and Dems for a century
Up until this time, the pendulum swings were mild ones. During the whole twentieth century there was relatively little difference between the two major parties, a condition which made for a far less abrasive political climate than exists today.
During the past century Republican often accomplished Democrat goals, and visa versa. Two examples are Republicans Nixon opening the door to Communist China and Reagan making friends with Communist Russian Gorbachev. And it was Democrats Kennedy and Johnson who escalated the Vietnam War.
Eight years left, then a jog to the right again
Starting with the Bill Clinton's first mid-term congressional elections, America started a wild swing right which continues to today. Being president during the first six years of this latest swing made for a very rocky ride for Mr. Clinton. The swing right accelerated with George Walker Bush's election in 2001, but it was reaching it's apogee on November 11, 2001.
For news junkies like myself, the incipient swing left was obvious starting in the summer of 2001. Voters were tiring of the pious platitudes of the Neo-cons in The White House and in Congress. Without Osama Bin Laden, we would now be well into the next swing left, but fear and jingoism stopped the swing in its path, and the Patriot Act, Rumsfeld, Cheney and rest ensued.
Barring another 9-11, expect to see that old American pendulum swing to the left for a few years very soon.