Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Massive resistance

Republicans have withdrawn their consent of the governed in favor of massive resistance. Elections only have consequences when they win, in which case they govern as if they won a mandate. When they lose, they'll obstruct all implementation of the majority's plan.

As anyone who was paying attention knows, the period during which Democrats controlled both houses of Congress was marked by unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate. The filibuster, formerly a tactic reserved for rare occasions, became standard operating procedure; in practice, it became impossible to pass anything without 60 votes. And Democrats had those 60 votes for only a few months. Should they have tried to push through a major new economic program during that narrow window? In retrospect, yes — but that doesn’t change the reality that for most of Mr. Obama’s time in office U.S. fiscal policy has been defined not by the president’s plans but by Republican stonewalling.
Even those 60 votes included several closet Republicans - not of the Teapublican strain, to be sure, but nonetheless often not willing to side with President Obama. Ben Nelson was probably the most Republican. Joe Lieberman, Kay Hagan, Blanche Lincoln, and Mark Pryor were a few of the other Senators in the 111th Congress who often wouldn't vote cloture.

Nothing the Republicans have done about the economy makes any sense at all unless they are motivated by lust for power more than by the prospect of prosperity for the nation as a whole.

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