Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Who would have guessed?

"The Republican Party is more pure, but the nation is unchanged, saddled with more debt than when the GOP won the House majority. The gap between who Republicans want to be and who they are is profound, and it’s clear that another election — even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency — might not change their ability to put a truly conservative imprint on Washington."

Well no shit, Sherlock. Nice to see that Politico can sense the obvious. Anyone who bothers looking at how congress works (or even just how the filibuster works in the Senate) should know that no political party can reshape Washington by itself. It takes one senator to deep six any legislation, and no political party can realistically reach that threshold in today's political environment. Case in point, while most people know about the recent short lived Democratic super majority that existed for a bit during the last congress (the six months between Al Franken finally being seated as a senator and Scott Brown's election), the last time a super majority existed for either party in the Senate was over thirty years ago. Imagining that somehow in this even more polarized environment that any party could reach that threshold and then pull off the cohesion required to completely reshape government policy to match their ideological vision is absolute candy land. Read a little bit more into article and you run into these gems:

"In their defense, Republican lawmakers are quick to tick off lists of their accomplishments, each of which required compromise with Senate Democrats and the White House."

Ta-da! Guess what? If you want to get shit done in Washington, you need to compromise to get the trains moving on time and in the direction you want. Nothing gets done if you can't muster a super majority in the Senate, which almost always requires playing ball with the other side. When you continually refuse to compromise with the other side, and accuse anyone in your party who does of betrayal, go figure that Congress will continually fail the country. Perhaps pulling one's head out of their ass and learning how bills are passed would be a useful skill set for congressmen and those that elect them.

"Young contends voters chose to put the government in neutral for a reason and that Republicans have gone above and beyond the expectations of a minority party by passing bills that show where they would lead if given control of both houses of Congress and the White House."

Alas, some people never learn. Unless there is a massive GOP sweep in the Senate *and* they retain the House *and* Romney wins, there is absolutely no chance any of these fantasy land ideas will materialize. Remember universal health care? Did you notice how that didn't happen, even during the six months that the Democrats had the Presidency, the House, and the Senate super majority? Does anyone seriously believe that either party will have that in 2013 or 2014? If so, I have a bridge to sell you.

"LaTourette said Republicans who want to make deals now face angry taunts: “You’re a coward; you’re a facilitator; you’re an appeaser; you’re a RINO” — a Republican In Name Only."

And there you go. This is the reason Congress is broken right now, and will continue to be broken for the foreseeable future. Bitching about why your party hasn't achieved its goals, while simultaneously preventing your elected officials from even taking incremental steps to them is a total recipe for disaster.

“I think part of the reason the American people chose a divided government is because they wanted Washington to slow down and have more open and transparent debates on some big issues. If your measuring stick is the number of bills that have been passed, you’re probably going to be disappointed,” he said.

Transparent debates? Sounds good to me. So how is that working out?

The distance between who Republicans set out to be and how they’ve ended up governing is striking in other areas. Here’s one example: The promise to run the most open House in history is hardly that. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) doesn’t talk to the press corps on a regular basis or in an open format to discuss the House floor schedule, which his predecessors as majority leader — Tom DeLay, Steny Hoyer, John Boehner and Dick Armey — all did. When reporters have inquired when he will restart, his staff has been dead silent. At a recent press conference, he made his statement and escaped before reporters could ask a question. Doug Heye, his communications director, said that “we have worked to increase the majority leader’s accessibility to the media” by sitting him down with small groups of reporters.

So, not so well, then. I'm sure electing more GOP (or Democrats for that matter) is really going to change that equation... Clearly, high schools need to focus on teaching civics, because apparently most voters don't have a god damned clue as to how Washington works.


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