Disgusted with Congress

I could not agree more with the following editorial from the New York Times:

In Search of a Congress

If you were one of the Americans waiting for Congress, under Democratic control, to show leadership on the war in Iraq, the message from the Senate is clear: “Nevermind.� The same goes for those waiting for lawmakers to fix the damage done to civil liberties by six years of President Bush and a rubber-stamp Republican Congress.

The Democrats don’t have, or can’t summon, the political strength to make sure Congress does what it is supposed to do: debate profound issues like these and take a stand. The Republicans are simply not interested in a serious discussion and certainly not a vote on anything beyond Mr. Bush’s increasingly narrow agenda.

On Wednesday, the Senate failed to vote on two major bills. One would have restored basic human rights and constitutional protections to hundreds of foreigners who are in perpetual detention, without charges or trial. The other was the one measure on the conduct of the Iraq war that survived the Democrats’ hasty retreat after last week’s smoke-and-mirrors display by Gen. David Petraeus and President Bush.

There were votes, of course, but not on the bills. They were cloture votes, which require 60 or more Senators to agree to cut off debate, eliminating the possibility of a filibuster, so Senators can vote on the actual law. In both cases, Democrats were four votes short, with six Republicans daring to defy the White House.

We support the filibuster as the only way to ensure a minority in the Senate can be heard. When the cloture votes failed this week, the Democrats should have let the Republicans filibuster. Democratic leaders think that’s too risky, since Congress could look like it’s not doing anything. But it’s not doing a lot now. [full text]

Hey, but let’s give Congress credit where credit is due. In response to a controversial anti-war advertisement recently produced by MoveOn.org, the Senate did take the time to debate and approve a resolution to “strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.” Congress won’t take action to end the war, but they will take action to condemn those who dare to speak out assertively against the war.

If you’re not disgusted, then you’re not paying attention.


2 thoughts on “Disgusted with Congress

  1. So it goes. And we wonder why so many people prefer to tune out politics and tune in to mind-numbing TV. For what it’s worth, I am grateful that both Senators Reed and Whitehouse voted against the resolution referenced above.

  2. The is only repeating what I’ve been reading on other blogs. The Reps are using the threat of filibuster in a promiscuous fashion. As such, nothing can get through the senate unless it has 60 votes. Given the slim majority of Dems, roping up 60 votes is well-nigh impossible. Thus, the Reps are able to obstruct anything constructive.

    Two points: first, that the Reps only need to threaten filibuster. Many pundits are saying that the Dems should call the bluff and make the Reps actually perform the filibuster: stand up there and read the phone book or whatever to hold the floor and keep talking for 48 hours.

    Second, the MSM has pretty much ignored the way the Reps are strangling all initiative. Thus, the impression is that the Dems don’t have a spine, or don’t have a program, or whatever, when, in fact, the Reps are simply being obstructionist.

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