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What will the next Congress look like?

By       Message Richmond Gardner     Permalink
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WaPo columnist David Broder reports that the following remark of McConnell's leaves him skeptical:

McConnell ascribed much of the distress both Packer and I had recorded to the natural impatience of new members. The Senate, he said, "takes a bit of getting used to." But if they stick it out, these newcomers will learn to love the old rules, he said, and abandon their foolish impulse to change them.

No, it's wildly unprecedented to force the Senate to get just about every bill through on the basis of a supermajority of 60 to 40 in order to get around the filibuster. Broder holds out hope:

Much as I differed with McConnell's defense of the status-quo Senate, I have to agree with several of the other points he made at the breakfast. He is right when he says that the Senate tends to be at its best when the party ratios are relatively close -- say 55 to 45 -- rather than as lopsided as they have been during Obama's first two years.

Sorry, but this strikes me as utterly starry-eyed in its' sweet, childish naivete. What are McConnell's legislative plans?

"What I hope we are going to have after November is more balance, more balance, which would give us the opportunity to do things together that simply were missing when you have this kind of disparity," McConnell said. "But, I'm not going to be very interested in doing things left of center. It is going to have to be center right. I think the president is a flexible man. I'm hoping he will become a born-again moderate."
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In other words, yeah sure, we'll work with Democrats, as long as that means doing everything our way.

The Republican Party as a whole has a number of serious issues with the Constitution. They want to "review" the 14th Amendment, calling it the "Anchor Baby" Amendment, they want to throw out the Affordable Care Act based on the theory that Congress cannot exercise any control over the economy, individual Republican Senators want to repeal Social Security and the Federal highway system and naturally, many Tea Party Republicans want to repeal the 16th Amendment, which authorizes the income tax. Sharron Angle, who's running to replace Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), is a Christian Reconstructionist, a pretty far-out philosophy for someone who's neck and neck with Reid in the polls. Rand Paul, running for Senator in Kentucky, wants to relieve those poor, poor abused business owners from having to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act because, y'know, it just costs so much money to comply with it.

In contrast to what Republicans think Americans want, Americans don't really care about how big government is, they want a government that effectively solves problems and that sees to the needs of its citizens. Conservatives generally know what percentage of the GDP is being spent by the government. Progressives tend not to know because they don't regard the number as particularly relevant to anything. For a progressive, the concern is "Does the government have enough money to get the job done?" Whether it's using 20% of the GDP or 21% or 21.75% of the GDP is a completely meaningless consideration.

Sorry, but the one and only way for the next Congress to be a productive one, i.e., to do what American citizens want it to do, is for the Democrats to retain their majorities in both chambers and to reform the Senates' filibuster rule (Which is not in the Constitution) so that the Senate can get stuff done.

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PN3(Ret), USN, 1991-2001. Done a number of clerical-type jobs. Computer "power user," my desktop is a Windows machine, but my laptop is an Ubuntu Linux. Articles usually cross-posted at Personal details at (more...)

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