The Common Sense Blog: The Ins and Outs of Congress
The election of Trump has turned Congress on its collective head. Have you noticed? Under Obama, the Republicans were the Party of “NO!”, blocking virtually every legislative initiative by the Democratic president. Not now. While Republicans are “In”, the Democrats are “Out”; out of the White House and still out of the majority in both Congressional houses. Neither party appears to have found its sea legs yet.
The Republicans flounder about. President Trump makes headlines with wild accusations of Obama wiretapping, flawed executive orders, and denials of the expanding quagmire of “Russia-gate” amidst burgeoning investigations of his campaign’s connections to Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. Republican congressional leaders appeared desperate to craft an effective alternative to Obamacare, one that wouldn’t get them lynched by increasingly restive town-hall constituents that have had Republican representatives and senators trying to escape out of side doors. What happens? After seven years of railing against the Affordable Care Act and dedicating themselves to replacing it, the Republicans could not come to a consensus on an alternative. Even the highly touted deal-maker Trump couldn’t corral the recalcitrant wings of his party. It seems that eight years of obstructing government have left Republicans poorly equipped to actually govern.
...a major third party, a Centrist Party dedicated to policies that work for the average American, and one NOT beholden to the “party-first” attitude we see in Washington today.
The Democrats have their own house in disorder. Overnight filibusters of Trump’s cabinet appointees have been ineffective. Resistance to Trump’s executive overreach has been relegated to whining to reporters. Their “victory” on blocking the replacement of Obamacare is due entirely to the Republicans’ inability to find common ground among themselves, not from any Democratic strategy. Filibuster Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee? That only tempts the Republicans to choose the “nuclear option” and end filibusters by majority vote rather than the traditional sixty. I’m reminded of Will Rogers’ comment: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” Where is the willingness and ability to propose legislation to block Republican initiatives? Sure, none of it will pass, but at least the Democrats can show the electorate just what they oppose, and what they would do differently, and why.
THE CENTRIST VIEW: It’s high time we had an “adult in the room”. Congress has been woefully ineffective for a long time. No wonder its approval ratings are often in the single digits. What we need are senators and representatives that are willing to take a stand, with legislation and with the American people.
We need legislators who will articulate a clear vision for America and how it is different from what is going on. We need statesmen and stateswomen who will go on TV to explain the folly of the current administration, articulate an alternative approach, and how that alternative would help in this corrosively polarized political environment. We need modern-day FDRs who can do what he did during the Great Depression: communicate directly what needs to be done and how that is being blocked by the power brokers in D.C. This will rally the great numbers of citizens who are appalled at the direction and ineffectiveness of both major political parties.
Only a political force outside of the Republican-Democratic bi-polar universe can exert such an influence, a major third party, a Centrist Party dedicated to policies that work for the average American, and one NOT beholden to the “party-first” attitude we see in Washington today.