Why it is not “both parties” ruining Washington

March 16th, 2013 by Whitey Leave a reply »

2. The primary goal of Republicans in congress is to block anything Obama supports, even when it is their own idea or legislation that will help the American people.

From the very beginning of the Obama administration, as discussed in a Republican strategy meeting on the night of Obama’s 2009 inauguration, Republicans planned to “Show united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies.” (source; see also: Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, by Robert Draper). In an October 2010 interview with National Journal, Republican senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for Obama to be  one-term president.”

From “The Price of Politics,” by Bob Woodward: “Boehner knew that the predominant school of thought in the conservative movement held that you shouldn’t ever negotiate with Obama…Boehner realized that doing a deal with Obama would put his speakership in jeopardy, and didn’t want to take the risk” (pp.181-183).

Record-setting Obstruction:

obama nominees confirmed
  • Opposing their own ideas once Obama embraces those ideas

“Seven Republican co-sponsors of a Senate resolution to create a debt-reduction panel voted in January 2010 against their own resolution, solely to keep it from getting to the 60-vote threshold Republicans demanded and thus denying the president a seeming victory.” (Source: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-04-27/opinions/35453898_1_republican-party-party-moves-democratic-party)

See a number of other examples of this in the book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein.

  • Record-setting use of filibuster

 

filibusters

record filibusters

 

 As far back as January 2007, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that he would assume the role of Senate Obstruction Leader by insisting on a 60-vote supermajority, rather than a simple 50-vote majority, for getting bills through the Senate.

He claims “that’s the ordinary procedure.” But he’s wrong, and we have the proof. The reality is, his abuse of Senate procedures to block the majority will on legislation is unprecedented. McConnell and Senate Republicans like the filibuster now, but they didn’t when Democrats used it more sparingly in the 109th Congress against President Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees (source).

See also: It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein; Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, by Robert Draper; The Price of Politics, by Bob Woodward. And: http://www.aei.org/article/politics-and-public-opinion/legislative/yes-congress-is-that-bad/#.UUD6DkNAS7U.twitter ; 5 myths about the 112th Congress

More information on the practice of the filibuster here.

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