There is a lot of dissatisfaction out there with the newly-elected Democratic-majority Congress right now for not having taking more action since they came to term in January. While some of the criticism may be deserved, there are darker powers at play.
In an effort to undermine the Democrats at the next election, the Republicans have adopted a "block & blame" strategy. Basically the Republicans are blocking all legislation in Congress through the use of filibusters (extended debate) and Bush vetoes. By not letting the Democrats get any legislation passed this term, the Republicans plan to paint them as a "do nothing" Congress come election time.
As of July 23rd, there were 40 cloture votes (invoked to stop a filibuster) in the Senate. At this rate, it is projected that there will be 140 cloture votes by the end of this congressional term. As you can see by the chart to the left (click on chart for larger view), not even during the turbulent times of civil rights legislation were there a need for so many cloture votes in one session. The Republicans are hoping the America won’t notice how they are filibustering, but the numbers make their tactics very clear.
I have a question for the Republicans: how in any way is this good for America?
Some legislation that many Republicans are for, such as SCHIP bill that would give 6 million children health insurance, is being vetoed by Bush. Cynical thinkers believe that the Republicans went ahead and voted for the legislation so that they could tout that come election time while knowing full well Bush planned to veto the bill. The Democrats currently do not have enough votes to override a veto.
It is partisan politics like this that is tearing America apart. I’m not saying that the Democrats don’t do it to, but rarely have I seen such blatant tactics being used with no regards to what is best for America.
I’m not the only one upset about this. Jason Alexander (of "Seinfeld" fame) starred in the following video for the organization Campaign for America’s Future in order to help make Americans aware of the dirty games the Republicans are playing.
P.S. Weren’t the Republicans the ones who wanted to do away with the filibuster just a year or two back?