Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Don't you, don't you, don't you know you gotta tell the truth, yeah huh

(Graphic: McClatchy, 7/20/07)

Without irony, the WaPo notes today:
As Lott Leaves the Senate, Compromise Appears to Be a Lost Art

No kidding. Except the problem goes much further than Lott. As the article goes on:
Lott's departure from Capitol Hill in the coming weeks after 34 years in Congress -- 16 in the House, 18 in the Senate -- is further evidence that bonhomie and cross-party negotiating are losing their currency, even in the backslapping Senate. With the Senate populated by a record number of former House members, the rules of the Old Boys' Club are giving way to the partisan trench warfare and party-line votes that prevail in the House. States once represented by common-ground dealmakers, including John Breaux (D-La.), David L. Boren (D-Okla.), James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.), are now electing ideological stalwarts, such as David Vitter (R-La.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

Again, without irony or even logic, the comparison of far-right Republicans to moderate Democrats falls below the writer's radar. But here's the real truth of the Senate:
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) filed 56 motions to break off filibusters to try to complete legislation, a total that is nearing the record of 61 such "cloture motions" in a two-year Congress.

Get that? That means the Republican minority has threatened to filibuster a record number of times, to block virtually any Democratic-sponsored legislation. Why did I leave out 'nearing'? Because the WaPo is wrong; the current session has already broken the record:
The filibuster has tremendously increased in frequency of use since the 1960s. In the 1960s, no Senate term had more than seven filibusters. In the first decade of the 21st century, no Senate term had fewer than 49 filibusters. The 1999-2002 Senate terms both had 58 filibusters. [1] In the fall of 2007, the 110th Congress' 1st session broke the record, for fillibuster cloture votes, topping 70 as of Nov 15, 2007. It is on track to triple the number of such votes in 2008's 2nd session.

So there's your bipartisanship, a complete blockade of progress by Republicans. Even when it goes against their own self-interests:
FICTION: Senator McConnell Wants to Put Partisanship Behind Him, Get Down to the Basic Work of Government. During his press conference, Senator McConnell said, “I would suggest this might be a good time to, kind of, put the high level of partisanship aside and try to do the basic work of government, which we've not been able to do so far.” [McConnell Press Conference, 9/4/07]

FACT: Senator McConnell Objected to Appointing Conferees on Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization. On the Senate floor, McConnell objected to a motion by Senator Reid to appoint conferees on the Children’s Health Insurance reauthorization bill, saying, “Mr. President, the message has not yet been received, and, therefore, the request is a little premature. We would need to consult with our colleagues on this when they receive the request from the House. And, therefore, for the time being I would object.” [Senate Floor Proceedings, 9/4/07]

Bastards. And read the McClatchy article with the above graphic here.

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