Category Archives: designing a new legislature

More Tools from the Obstructionist’s Toolbox

 

 
 

Republicans are playing “delay and distract” again and they are very good at it. The strategy: make a big deal about the buggy roll-out of the ACA first, so they can delay getting anything done (and they definitely do not plan to get anything done unless it is something they want, like cutting funds for food stamps) and second, so that no one will notice that nothing is getting done (even though it is obvious to just about all of us all of the time). It’s like the magician who distracts you with what he is saying or what his left hand is doing, while his right hand is doing something else.

The hearings and the negative commentary about the ACA; this type of activity is the equivalent of twiddling their thumbs as they wait for the clock to run down, first on the next crisis for the CR and debt ceiling, second for the end of the Obama Presidency in either 2016 or through his impeachment that they so devoutly wish for every day. They will pontificate, stall, criticize, complain, meet, show off, repeat their talking points whenever TV news people will let them and they will look very busy (because they are busy raising money for future elections); but nothing will get done in Congress unless it cuts a budget line item or obstructs the attempts of the President or any Democrat to bring any laws or Presidential appointments whatsoever to the floor of the House or of the Senate.

They have, by using their obstructive position, made themselves the gatekeepers over the country’s legislation. If it is something they want they can let it through (but few things sparkle enough to attract their approval and get them to open that gate and there is always that risk that the gate, once opened, will be hard to shut). We have to remember that, as these folks have proven, our Constitution apparently allows a majority in one house of Congress to put a stick in the spokes of the wheel of government and stop progress so that the party with the stick can wait out the clock in hopes of a better election outcome in the future. This should not be possible and I see it as a flaw in our Constitution; an oversight that should be fixed with some type of Constitutional patch. However, I accept that we cannot even patch the Constitution while our government is in standstill mode. We will have to elect Democrats in 2014 in order to fix this loophole and prevent one minority party from continuing to block the majority agenda.

If all that happens after an election is that we get ready for the next election; if no laws are passed and no business conducted, then we can save ourselves a lot of time and money by not having any more elections. The only problem is that this will ruin our country and we will end up with no government, which is what these obstructers want anyway. Perhaps we need to meet and design a new Legislative body that represents the increased complexity of a 21st century America and closes the loopholes that are appearing in the current design. The American people want the obstructionist practices to end, for government to return to “regular order”, and for the tools in the obstruction’s toolbox to be left to rust with disuse.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com