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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 11:07 AM
Original message
The Republican Superminority
With Scott Brown's stunning, come-from-behind victory over the boring lady who hated baseball in Massachusetts, the Democrats must admit defeat. Please welcome our new unstoppable Republican Superminority.

The Republicans now hold 41 seats in the US Senate. As we all learned in Civics class, Glenn Beck's Secret Mormon Founding Fathers always intended for the party that controls slightly more than two fifths of one house of the legislature to have complete control over the government. It is in the Constitution! Our finest Democratic Senate leaders have honorably admitted that this brief experiment in Majority Rule was a horrible failure.

snip...

Here is another good example of the power of the Republican Superminority: one crazy person who not even other Republicans like, Senator Jim DeMint, put a hold on Barack Obama's nominee to run the Transportation Security Administration, because this would-be TSA head refused to promise to forbid TSA employees from engaging in collective bargaining. Then there was that Christmas bombing thing, with the underwear! It seemed like maybe it would be nice if we had a TSA Director, around then. In a traditional democracy, the majority party would use this as an example of dangerous obstructionism and use some frame like "politics getting in the way of our security" or something, or at least maybe they would make any sort of noise about this at all. In our system, the Republican Superminority wins this nominee's withdrawal from consideration.

The message from Massachusetts is clear: the public is holding congress accountable for its failure to do what we elected them to do. It would be a political disaster if Democrats responded by attempting to do what they were elected to do. That's why God invented the Republican Superminority.

http://gawker.com/5452813/the-republican-superminority

It's Gawker, but they have some good points.
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Wapsie B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. Superminority is right!
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mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
2. The GOP in Congress is made up of far right radicals who move in lockstep.
This is why 41 Senators who will reliably oppose anything constructive will shut the Democrats down. The GOP does not have a big tent. They don't even have a tent at all. The GOP has been co-opted by the far right. That faction has forced everyone who isn't far right out of the party.

In contrast, even with a theoretical 60 votes in the Senate the Democrats could get very little accomplished. This is because unlike the GOP, the Democratic Party actually has differing points of view within it. The Democrats have members who just 15 years ago would have been Republicans.

A lot of Democrats are very progressive. They want single payer. They want the Wall Street gangsters re-regulated. They want out of Iraq and Afghanistan. But a lot of Democrats are "centrist", too. They are the folks who in 1990 would have been called "conservatives".

We don't have 60 votes in the Senate. We never had 60 votes. This is why the Senate HCR bill sucks. We are a coalition of people with a lot of different ideas about how to govern. If the Republicans also had a lot of different ideas about how to govern, their new 41 vote block would not be an issue. Some GOPers would often be more interested in governing than obstructing.

But that isn't the case. The GOP has a reliable, radical, recalcitrant, monolithic block of 41 votes. They will not "cross over", they will not break ranks. They are, in fact, the single biggest faction in the Senate. This makes them the "majority". The only way for the Democrats to actually get things done is to:

1. Change the rules of the Senate (a bad idea), or
2. Become as monolithic as the Republicans (not gonna happen), or
3. Use reconciliation in the same way that the Republicans did in 2002-2006 to pass anything they wanted to.

The 4th option is to allow the Republicans to block everything: no horse trading, no attempts at "bipartisanship". Put good, solid legislation on the floor, make sure that the voters understand how good it is, DO NOT CHANGE IT, then let the GOP block it, over, and over, and over. If the Dems can get that dynamic into the minds of the public, they might have a chance even if not much gets done.

The Dems better figure this out pretty quick, or they will be destroyed this fall.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 11:50 AM
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3. the FF did, however, provide that the Senate could make its own rules
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