In defense of gridlocked government: no progress is progress

Spinnaker

Political bipartisanship is the buzz word of the day — read watered down milquetoast legislation that upsets teabaggers, rabid progressives and Blue Dog Democrats.

However, very few are standing up in defense of gridlock. A lot sane people — Libertarians — quote the great political axiom: “The government that governs least governs best.” And while I used to adhere to that statement I no longer think it’s best for the country.

Why does the government need to govern at all, at least in the sense it has operated in over the past 100 or so years? I mean, every time the government acts, be it under King Bush’s benevolent-big-government-compassionate-conservatism or Comrade Obama’s unbridled love of all things government, I lose freedom, money and respect for all things democratic. I am quickly beginning to adopt a new political axiom: “The government that doesn’t govern can’t screw over its citizens.”

It might not be politically palatable and many wrongs will go without redress, but hell, at least they can’t make things any worse.

But what is really amazing is that the more people begin to understand Robert’s Rules of Order — the rules that determine procedure for both the House and the Senate — the more people are horrified by how legislation is made and how quickly they turn against proposed bills.

In furtherance of alienating Americans from their elected representatives, here is a political realist’s hopes for a gridlocked do — nothing Congress. But don’t miss-construe my current sentiments as something I hope for in perpetuity, I only want it in place until reason oriented intellectuals whom agree with my point of you take office — read never.

To wit: here are the next possible steps for “health care reform.”

Since it’s now virtually impossible for the Senate to pass the bill without procedural gimmicks because Republicans have received an extra seat in Scott Brown of Massachusetts. They now have 41 votes, which prevents the Democrats from killing the filibuster or, in modern times, the threat of a filibuster.

However much I wanted almost all legislation under both Bush and Obama to fail — bank bailouts, Patriot Act, stimulus spending, cap and trade, card check, Medicare Part D and the FISA update — I would love to see a bunch of almost-dead people try and resurrect American’s love of bucking the system in favor of the underdog, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” style. Although it was Seth MacFarlane’s idea, how awesome would it be to see Lindsey Graham, R-S. C., or John McCain, R-Ariz., read Twilight in the Senate chambers as punishment for all attendees?

The Democrats only real option is that they must now use a widely unpopular and divisive procedure called reconciliation — which the Republicans have used when it suits them, see welfare reform circa 1996. As should be abundantly clear to the elected elites, just because one party violates the spirit of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which only allowed reconciliation to be used for a single fiscal year and was only to pertain to spending and revenue legislation, doesn’t mean it should be considered a new screw-the-minority-to-hell mechanism.

This country was founded on protecting the rights of the minority because lets again be honest, what majority of people need their rights protected?

The “nuclear option” notwithstanding, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who recently gave herself an “A for effort” as Speaker of the House, said Feb. 28 she had the votes to pass the bill.

The far more regressive version of “health care reform” barely had enough votes the first time around and that was before Republicans have made major inroads in “safe” democratic state and a landslide of unpopular polling.

Besides the wishful thinking that Democrats in purple districts would forgo their chief priority — getting re-elected — why would they put themselves on the line for something so politically unpopular? Pelosi needs to rejoin reality.

Even bat-shit insane Democratic political consultant James “Raggin’ Cajun” Carville has likened this move to Napoleon’s loss at Waterloo.

“I’m glad to hear that she’s confident,” Carville said of Pelosi March 1 on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I guess she knows more about where our votes are than anybody else. But the math is pretty daunting. I don’t think it’s impossible, but it’s going to be difficult. This is going to be a real, real fight.”

Frothing craw-daddy murderers aside, Pelosi is still adamant the bill has bipartisan support.

“They’ve had plenty of opportunity to make their voices heard,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Feb. 28. “Bipartisanship is a two-way street. A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes.”

I get what she is saying because the Republicans have affected the tenner of the bill but Reason — a libertarian think-tank — said it best: “Also, up is down, cats are dogs, Republicans are Democrats, and ‘Lost’ is satisfying and coherent.”

The disparaging comment about the greatest story ever told notwithstanding. Ha. But you get the point.

But even if Democrats want to utilize Reconciliation, the sequence and timing of the vote is key.

Both chambers effectively want each other to pass a bill before one another has to pass a bill. It would be political suicide for the Democrats to pass anything in either body without the utmost assurance that the other will pass it — aka this political non-starter is wallowing in government inefficiency.

But since this isn’t bizarro world, someone is going to have to move first. So, let’s see who wants to appear the weaker willed. But as for me, I am going to continue to praise this “broken government.”

Three cheers for what America has become.