Friday, February 05, 2010

Republicans have panicked over Democratic control of Congress and the White House

The Republican party has stepped away from civility and tradition in Congress and gone to the extreme. They are the minority party now and they are doing whatever it takes to regain control of the federal government. Because of this they are subverting the traditional rules and civility of Congress and desperately trying to stop the Democrats from doing what they were elected to do. You have to wonder why they have become so obviously desperate. First, look at how they have been acting in Congress. No minority party has acted this desperate since the Southern States before teh Civil War felt their "peculiar institution" (slavery) was under direct attack. First look at what are some examples of Republican desperation, then look at why might they feel so desperate.

Jonathon Cohn at The New Republic points out the extreme and unusual ways the Republicans have been working to stop the majority party from doing what it was elected to do. There has been a history in Congress that certain rules were used sparingly and only in rare circumstances. No more.
  1. The Senate minority always could filibuster every vote and kill anything that did not have a supermajority. But before now this has never been done. Now the Republicans are setting records for the number of filibusters they conduct.
  2. The Senate hold has always been a tool that the minority party could use to shut down the process of the Senate, but it was used only in rare cases when a Senator had a really important issue he or she wanted the Senate to attend to. Never before has a Senator used a blanket hold on all appointments to demand $billions in ransom be given to his state as Sen. Richard Shelby is now doing.
  3. It has always been possible for Senators and Representatives to pass a bill through both bodies, then take it into conference add completely new provisions to the bill in conference. This was frequently done when the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate under the Bush regime.
These are not politics as usual. These are the actions of a political party that feels under pressure, afraid and powerless. Because they feel powerless they are willing to reach out at use any tool they can find, and because of their fear and lack of trust they feel justified in using those tools even when they are being applied in an extreme way.

So what indications are there that the Republicans feel attacked and afraid? Marcos Moulitsas commissioned a Daily Kos/Research 2000 Poll to answer some of those questions. It was conducted January 20, 2011, so it provides the latest information. The results are illuminating.

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