Checks and Balances

The democrat-led congress is getting some seriously low approval ratings, even lower than the republican led congress they replaced in 06, which is quite the feat, considering how bloated, ineffective, corrupt and scandal-laden that last one was. But how do they justify their failure? Well, they are blaming the republican minority for checking them. And they are not joking!

Nothing has helped the minority party influence legislation this year
more than Senate Republicans' liberal use of the filibuster. The
obstructionist tactic can be overcome only with 60 votes in the
100-member chamber, where Democrats hold 51 seats.

The current Senate is on pace to shatter the record for filibusters, making the once-rare maneuver virtually an everyday threat.

GOP senators used vote-delaying filibusters this year to thwart
House and Senate majorities on efforts to offset the $50 billion cut in
projected revenue from the alternative minimum tax; allow the
government to negotiate Medicare drug prices; impose new taxes on oil
companies; require more use of renewable fuels in generating
electricity; grant congressional representation to the District of Columbia; and require more rest time from troops deployed to Iraq.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says little can be done until and unless more Democrats replace Republicans in the Senate.

So, to get this straight, in order for democrats to change things, they don;t just need a majority, they need a supreme majority. That's their excuse, which was never the case in recent history. I think it's a good thing that neither party can get 60% control of the Senate, and for one to demand it, in order to "enact change", it shows how weak and unable to play politics with the other party, not to mention it allows the ignoring of the minority's opinion and voice. But then again, maybe that's the only way democrats can get things done. What do you think?

0 comment on Checks and Balances

  1. Yossi Gurvitz
    December 22, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    It should also be noted that Republicans have made a disproportionate use of the filibuster during the last year, using it on almost all occasions of a vote important to the Democrats. So, yeah, when the filibuster is your first option, your weapon of choice, you’ve obstructing, not checking, the other side.

  2. John Cunningham
    December 22, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    I think that if things stay reasonably safe in Iraq reasonable people will see the democrats for what they are. They screwed the South Vietnamese back in 75 leading many to believe they were in bed with the communists. Reasonable people will see that they were trying to do the same in Iraq which would lead reasonable people to believe that today they are in bed with the islamofacists. A lot here see them as the enemy within.

  3. Roman Kalik
    December 22, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Or maybe, Yossi, the central issues that the Democratic party tried to push were so different from the views of the Republicans, and were pushed in such an arrogant and stupid manner that they didn’t even try to discuss them with their Republican counterparts, turning it all into a matter of “Our way or the highway”.

    What the Democrats forgot was that their power was by no means absolute.

  4. Einherjar
    December 23, 2007 at 5:09 am

    I like the idea of requiring a super-majority to do stuff, but I am ideologically predisposed to prefer not doing stuff to the alternative.

  5. Akiva M.
    December 23, 2007 at 5:28 am

    I think the problem is that the Democrats used the filibuster as their weapon of choice on judicial nominations for so long, and in such a new way, that hearing them complain about filibusters from the republicans comes across hypocritical.

    Well, actually I guess the real problem is that neither party seems to have any concept of placing the national interest above winning the next election.

  6. Adam B.
    December 23, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    I’m just ever-so-happy that I live in a country with more than 2 parties to choose from…

    In Denmark (and the rest of Scandinavia as far as I know) we have approximately 6-10 parties that all have some leverage in deciding the laws and so forth of our country. The largest party on either side of the middle represents less than 30 % of the country, forcing them to cooporate with smaller parties, and since majority shifts from one side of the middle to the other, diplomacy and compromise is paramount in order to put together a viable policy for the government.

    It does tend to make things more difficult, but on the other hand it also means that only very few people in our society feels a complete alienation by the government at any given time…

  7. leo
    December 24, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Adam B @ 6,

    Believe me, neither system is perfect. Can you imagine all this wheeling and dealing involved where each party is constantly looking for ways to sell its vote for greater price?

  8. Roman Kalik
    December 25, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Can you imagine all this wheeling and dealing involved where each party is constantly looking for ways to sell its vote for greater price?

    *I* can. Watching government coalitions form in Israel can be a painful matter. And the yearly budget… Oh dear Lord, the yearly budget…

  9. brooklynjon
    December 26, 2007 at 4:00 am


    “Well, actually I guess the real problem is that neither party seems to have any concept of placing the national interest above winning the next election.”

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    It has gotten to the point that people cannot differentiate their opposition from their enemy. Maybe it comes from watching too much sports, in which case they are one and the same. But in my neighborhood, many if not most people can’t see the difference between George Bush and Osama bin Laden. It just doesn’t make for healthy debate.

    Adam B.,

    There are more than two parties to chose from in the US of A. But the other parties don’t matter much in the political system as it is currently organized. Of course, it hasn’t always been this way, and may not continue this way forever. However, the system as it currently is in America tends to silence extreme points of view, and places a premium on centrism, which is useful if you’re trying to get things done. Still, when I registered to vote, I was a member of the Libertarian Party, which felt good even as it accomplished nothing.


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