Answering why parties always seem to be one election away from finishing a major piece of legislation, Charles Krauthammer laid the blame on Congress for ceding authority to the executive branch:
That’s the great irony here, you are always “one election away” if you get divided government. Here we have united government, or at least the same party controlling everything, with a lot of momentum. The beginning of every new presidency, they always give him the benefit of the doubt, and the great irony is that Congress has become so dependent on following the lead of a president in general — allowing its powers to be usurped, one presidency after another. This is not the province of one party. But now that it’s in control, it can’t get its act together, unless you get strong presidential leadership. The president, next week in his quasi-state-of-the-union address, saying, “This is what I want on tax reform,” and leading on it — that would be the decisive event. And in the absence of that it’s showing how weak Congress has become and how it has become habituated to looking to the White House for leadership. It’s not getting it. It’s not going anywhere.