Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bipartisan? Yeah, Right.

In conformance to my continual loathing of politicians, the Dems now appear to be proceding to their predictable strategy.
As they prepare to take control of Congress this week and face up to campaign pledges to restore bipartisanship and openness, Democrats are planning to largely sideline Republicans from the first burst of lawmaking.

House Democrats intend to pass a raft of popular measures as part of their well-publicized plan for the first 100 hours. They include tightening ethics rules for lawmakers, raising the minimum wage, allowing more research on stem cells and cutting interest rates on student loans.

But instead of allowing Republicans to fully participate in deliberations, as promised after the Democratic victory in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, Democrats now say they will use House rules to prevent the opposition from offering alternative measures, assuring speedy passage of the bills and allowing their party to trumpet early victories.

Another pledge of bipartisanship that was a lot of sound and very little reality. Not that I'm surprised. The Republicans played identical games while they held the majority, and I'm pretty certain they used that word "bipartisan" as well. Politicians are just so very pathetic.
Democratic leaders say they are torn between giving Republicans a say in legislation and shutting them out to prevent them from derailing Democratic bills.
Oh give me a break. These are the leaders of the party. How can these WaPo journalists honestly write that drivel. They aren't torn. They likely never intended to allow the Republicans any voice. Recall that these are the same people who said that blocking legislation was a valid strategy. Hope they remember that when the Republicans play that game. No doubt the Republicans are seeing what they themselves perpetuated.
House Republicans have begun to complain that Democrats are backing away from their promise to work cooperatively. They are working on their own strategy for the first 100 hours, and part of it is built on the idea that they might be able to break the Democrats' slender majority by wooing away some conservative Democrats.
Well, maybe they haven't. But then again, I suppose it doesn't hurt them at all politically to start screeching about it. Only problem is I'm really tired of hearing screeching.
For clues about how the Democrats will operate, the spotlight is on the House, where the new 16-seat majority will hold absolute power over the way the chamber operates. Most of the early legislative action is expected to stem from the House.
"Absolute power?" Last I heard, they don't have the super majority required for absolute power. Though they don't have to deal with the filibuster like they do in the Senate. I'd wade through the rules to see how this really is enacted, but the rules are rather long and I'm certain they are in legalese. Maybe when I'm not actually employed. The only thing I see from the "pocket guide" is related to the right to object. That looks pretty easily run over, and obviously must be considering how the Republicans ran the last house.
Those same Democrats, who campaigned on a pledge of more openness in government, will kick off the new Congress with a closed meeting of all senators in the Capitol. Manley said the point of the meeting is to figure out ways both parties can work together.
Now there is humor. This should be open to the public. I see absolutely no logic in having this closed session. Other than maybe they don't want the public to see how poorly they will play together right from the start.
For several reasons, House Democrats are assiduously trying to avoid some of the heavy-handed tactics they resented under GOP rule. They say they want to prove to voters they are setting a new tone on Capitol Hill. But they are also convinced that Republicans lost the midterms in part because they were perceived as arrogant and divisive.
Well, I don't expect that there will be any changes. I'm betting the Dems play the game just as unfairly as the Republicans did, and maybe even a bit nastier.

Personally, I'm really interested in how things will play with the Blue Dog Democrats.
House Republicans say their strategy will be to offer alternative bills that would be attractive to the conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, with an eye toward fracturing the Democratic coalition. They hope to force some tough votes for Democrats from conservative districts who will soon begin campaigning for 2008 reelection and will have to defend their records.

"We'll capitalize on every opportunity we have," said one GOP leadership aide, adding that Republicans were preparing alternatives to the Democrats' plans to raise the minimum wage, reduce the interest on student loans, and reduce the profits of big oil and energy companies.

Several Blue Dog Democrats said they do not think Republicans can pick up much support from their group.

Sadly, neither of the Democrats elected in NH are on the Blue Dog lists that I've found. I didn't really expect them to be. I'm also hoping their stay in the House is very short lived.

I guess I'm going to predict the status quo for most of this congress. Just that the players will be switching parts.

1 comment:

geekwife said...

It's really depressing that the Republicans are planning on writing bills based not on what they believe to be good for the country, but on what will split off conservative Democrats. Silly me, I thought we elected them to govern, not continually vie for power.

I agree, politicians are repugnant.