Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Government's Cancer

This is what Chris Hayes calls the massive growth in obstructionism in the Senate. And I think it's apt. The Senate is making the nation ungovernable. The Republican's determination to stop literally every single thing Democrats do (including basic appointments and other tiny things along with big legislation) has the potential to be the greatest political crisis the nation has faced since the Civil War. Never before has one branch of government completely stopped working. If Harry Reid and the Democrats can't break this, the future of the Senate as a functional body is in real question.

Theoretically, Democrats could get their revenge the next time the Republicans have the majority. No doubt there will be real pressure to do this from the left, but we all know the Democrats don't have the guts as a whole to do this. Between 1/4 of the Senate Democrats constantly caving to the right and another big chunk who think politics is genteel and things like this should be frowned upon, it ain't going to happen. But if it did, then the government would change in a profound way.

So the Republicans are being short-sighted by not realizing the Democrats could do the same to them in future years. But short-sightedness is hardly partisan. The big tragedy here is that Democrats fought to keep the filibuster when Senate Republicans wanted to use the so-called nuclear option under Bush. That would have sucked then, but have been great now. The filibuster is undemocratic and needs to go anyway--if you win elections, then you have the right to make policy.