Republicans aren’t just radicalized, aren’t just pursuing an extreme agenda, and aren’t just allergic to compromise. The congressional GOP is also changing the very nature of governing in ways with no modern precedent.The Great America that the Republicans are working so hard to destroy became great because it was operated democratically with legislation passed through majority votes. Today's Republicans are destroying America by destroying America's democratic process in which the nation is governed through rational legislation passed by majority ovtes.
Welcome to the normalization of extortion politics.
Consider, for example, the Republican decision to reject any and all nominees to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, regardless of merit, unless and until Democrats accepted changes to the agency’s structure. Traditionally, if the GOP wanted to alter the powers of the CFPB, it would write legislation, send it committee, bring it to the floor, send it to the other chamber, etc. But that takes time and effort, and in a divided government, this “old fashioned” approach to policymaking probably wouldn’t produce the desired result.
Instead, we see the latest in a series of extortion strategies: Republicans will force Democrats to accept changes to the agency, or Republicans won’t allow the agency to function. Jonathan Cohn wrote a good piece on this a couple of weeks ago, noting the frequency with which this strategy is utilized.Republican threats to block nominees to the consumer board are of a piece with their opposition to Don Berwick, Obama’s first choice to run the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; to Peter Diamond, whom Obama tapped to sit on the Federal Reserve Board; and most recently to John Bryson, Obama’s nominee to take over the Commerce Department. It’s nothing short of a power grab by the Republican Party — an effort to achieve, through the confirmation process, what they could not achieve through legislation. And it seems unprecedented, at least in modern times.Republicans effectively tell the administration, over and over again, that the normal system of American governance can continue … just as soon as Democrats agree to policy changes the GOP can’t otherwise pass.
The traditional American model would tell Republicans to win an election. If that doesn’t work, Republicans should work with rivals to pass legislation that moves them closer to their goal. In 2011, the GOP has decided these old-school norms are of no value. Why bother with them when Republicans can force through policy changes by way of a series of hostage strategies? Why should the legislative branch use its powers through legislative action when extortion is more effective?
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Steve Benen puts into words what we have recently seen from Republican politicians in America. They can't get their policies voted in by majorities, so they have resorted to a form of politics not ever seen from an American major party before - Extortion Politics.