Saturday, December 29, 2007

And The Political Story of the Year Goes to . . .

The United States Senate!

Probably underbilled on the Huffington Post where they report it as one of the least reported stories of the year, the biggest story of the year, as I see it, is our obstructionist Senate, made possible by the Senate cloture rule that places a time limit upon which filibusters may stall a bill from coming to the floor for a vote. In other words, GOP filibusters have failed to be stopped because cloture requires a 3/5th vote, a vote that could never be attained in a Senate with a (sometime) 51-vote Democratic majority.

GOP filibusters have stopped more bills from being passed in one year than in any two-year Senate term. An historical record, making the 2007-2008 Senate the most obstructionist US Senate in American history, and they are well on their way to boosting that record to unbreakable heights in 2008.

The US Senate has:

- Filibustered 62 times in this past year, effectively preventing 62 pieces of legislation favored by 51 or more members of the Senate from going to the floor for an up or down vote.

- Failed to vote for cloture a total of 29 times.

- Failed to end a war of opportunity and excess in Iraq by placing a timeline on withdrawal.

- Failed to bring healthcare benefits to an additional 4 million children whose families cannot afford health insurance.

- Failed to empower Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices

- Failed to make it easier for workers to join unions.

- Failed to repeal what is effectively a ban on embryonic stem cell research

This GOP strategy has undercut the will of a majority of American voters and has been the chief enabler of an imperial presidency that continues to operate its rogue government free of restraint. Free of the will of a majority of Americans.

How can we get beyond this? What do we need to do to get American democracy back on its feet and operational? We need a Democrat in the White House for one thing. Without that we face four more years of impotence. But on top of that, since the GOP has shown how obstructionist they can be, even to the extent of obstructing measures that are beneficial to the people, we need a 60% super majority in the Senate, and we need a 66% majority in the House to make sure that the will of a mere majority of Americans is heard.

Only then will the American people have their county back in safe hands.

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