Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I note that the congressional approval rating is now down to 13 percent, a new historic low in the Gallup poll. Does it not seem somehow discordant, that Americans voted just a month ago to make a significant change and now seem more disenchanted than ever? The electorate has, absurdly, voted itself into a corner from which there seems to be no escape.

Can we imagine that things will be different in January, when the change is actually realized? I tend to think not. My best hope, however, is that January 5 will herald a change, with senators like Tom Harkin and Tom Udall (two Toms!) working to implement one of those arcane procedural rules that might serve to undermine the currently crippling filibuster in the US Senate. Sam Stein writes in the Huffington Post:
Essentially, that path to reform requires Vice President Joe Biden -- who supports weakening the filibuster -- to rule on the first day of the next session that the Senate has the authority to write its own rules. Republicans, presumably, would immediately move to object, but Democrats could then move to table the objection, setting up a key up-or-down vote. If 50 Democrats voted to table the objection, the Senate would then move to a vote on a new set of rules, which could be approved by a simple majority.
Changing the rules would not, of course, end Republican obstructionism, or stall right-wing policy initiatives, or put an end to the tyranny of the rich. But it would hopefully return some vestige of power to the majority and open the door to some effective decision-making.

Would this country then be able to get some of its business done? I don't know. But things could scarcely be any worse than they are right now.

1 comment:

khengsiong said...

With right wing Tea Partyers making their way into Congress, nothing much can be done.
Now I only hope California can do better...