Bipartisan Fantasies And Filibuster Excuses

Kevin Drum writes:

Chris Beam says a bipartisan effort to reduce the deficit is probably doomed. So the only answer is a partisan effort to reduce the deficit[. . . .] Have we forgotten about the filibuster already? This idea would be lovely if either party manages to win 60 seats in the Senate or close to it but that seems pretty unlikely in the near term for either side. This strikes me as little better than a fantasy.

(Emphasis supplied.) More . . .

Kevin forgets that the most important government policies that have impacted the deficit are, for better or worse, tax policies. And these were passed through reconciliation. In 1993, Bill Clinton got the 1993 Omnibus Reconciliation Act passed with a 218-216 vote in the House and a tiebreaking vote by Al Gore in the Senate. In 2001 and 2003, George Bush got his budget busting tax cuts through reconciliation, not by defeating a filibuster.

The Beltway dreams of bipartisan solutions and Beltway Bloggers excuse Democratic failure by insisting that the filibuster is preventing solutions. These are both false myths. The only time things get done (for better or worse) is when political parties enact the policies they believe in. I defy anyone to identify a meaningful policy enacted in a bipartisan fashion (other than giveaways to Wall Street and the privileged of course.) And most of these come by way of the reconciliation process in recent times.

Speaking for me only

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    So, I guess we're just giving up and (5.00 / 11) (#2)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 12:39:24 PM EST
    giving in completely to the deficit hysteria that seems to be doing a great job at spurring creation of an assortment of deficit commissions, but is closing its eyes to the tried-and-true idea of increasing government spending to raise demand that will create jobs and would, over time, do a better job of reducing the deficit - and do it without taking it out of the hide of those who don't have much hide to spare.

    But, hey - these were the same people who ignored the economic benefit of a single-payer health system, the same people who can't bring themselves to really rein in the financial industry, who don't understand that you don't tap a bad economy on the shoulder to get it to move, you kick it in the a$$, who think too many people are enjoying their unemployment checks, so I guess it should be no surprise that they would rather dither around about "the rules" and their own inherent helplessness than focus on good policy.

    You'll notice that the group that's being scapegoated for much of the "sacrifice" is the one that isn't represented by stinking rich lobbyists and corporations - and the reason we're not represented by lobbyists and corporations is because we have this wild idea that the blasted people elected to the Congress - and the WH - are the people who are supposed to represent us and look out for our interests.  How crazy are we?  

    They're doing, by the way, a really bad job of that, I think, so whether we have or don't have the filibuster, or reconciliation, or suspension of the rules, or whatever parliamentary or other rules there are, it isn't going to matter unless and until the Congress decides to represent the interests of the millions of people who, for all intents and purposes, do not have a voice without them.

    We squandered the biggest opportunity we had to do some great things for the people and the country, in no small part by failing to remember and live by the phrase, "elections have consequences."  For those who say the ambitious agenda a lot of us wanted could never have been done, my response is that nothing ever happens if you don't try.  The Republicans have lousy ideas about how to "fix" things, and Democrats seem blind to the fact that if you believe in your policy, making it happen means there often isn't any common ground to find, and forcing it just sacrifices good policy that only works for the people who will profit from it.

    And so it goes.

    Welcome to the Gilded Age. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by observed on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 12:58:46 PM EST
    Servant's quarters are by the stables.

    Might be slightly better if (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 07:36:55 PM EST
    the McMansions actually had servants' quarters.

    Generally, they don't.


    Have we forgotten (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 01:59:48 PM EST
    about the need for stimulus already? Kevin Drum proves, once again, that he is an intellectual light weight.

    if the deficit were really a problem, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by cpinva on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:08:06 PM EST
    i might actually care what anyone had to say about it. it isn't, and i don't. the drawback of actually having more than a minimal understanding of basic economics, is that i recognize blatant BS when i see it. the shrieking, wailing and gnashing of teeth, over the "deficit problem" is exactly that, BS.

    the real problem is the nearly 10% unemployment (along with two unfunded wars, unfunded tax breaks for the wealthy, unfunded pharmaceutical bills, etc). fix the unemployment, and the deficit pretty much fixes itself. that requires the possession of a functioning spinal column, sadly lacking in today's democratic party.

    Recently: Family Medical Leave Act, (none / 0) (#1)
    by vicndabx on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:53:22 AM EST
    Disabilities Reform Act, The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, i.e. Welfare Reform, No Child Left Behind.  These last two, while not necessarily a good thing, were nonetheless bipartisan.

    In the past: Civil Rights, Medicare

    Note, I don't disagree all options/tactics should be used to get the "best" legislation possible - filibuster should not be an excuse.  These laws show however, that both sides can work together on many issues.  On those that we can't so be it.  Dems do need to learn when to give up the ghost and go hard.