Posts Tagged ‘John Boehner’

One Man Show

October 9th, 2013

John_Boehner_111th_Congress_2009It seems to be insufficiently remarked upon that there is one person who is solely responsible for the shutdown. The Koch brothers, however despicable their machinations, are not members of the House of Representatives, although they do seem to own a chunk of it. The Tea Party, after all, is not a majority of the House of Representatives. It is a plurality of one party. That party happens to be the majority party, but the Tea Party does not represent all of its members. Legislation can be passed and business can continue without the Tea Party. What has stopped the process is not the Tea Party, but the Speaker of the House, who chooses not to allow a vote on a continuing resolution which could start the machinery of government moving again and for which by most accounts there is majority, bipartisan support. This whole thing belongs to John Boehner. How odd that one man should have such power, in a so-called democracy. How can it be that the Speaker of the House has the power to single-handedly bring the whole show to a screeching halt? Isn’t that even weirder than the Senate’s filibuster rule, that allows a minority of Senators to frustrate the majority? Here it’s not even a minority – it’s one guy, and he’s not just clogging up business in a single chamber of a bicameral legislature, he’s subverting the whole government! If there’s anything that screams for reform, and that my “freedom-loving” friends on the right really ought to be concerned about, it’s this. No one person in a democracy should have such power.

The emperor we deserve?

August 2nd, 2011

Opinion, at least in left-of-center circles, seems to be unanimous that Obama is an abysmally bad negotiator, at least where congressional Republicans are concerned.  I have expressed this opinion myself.  Time after time, he lets them set the terms of debate; instead of staking out an initially maximal position and then retreating from it step by step towards compromise only when forced to do so, he starts out by meeting them halfway and then accedes to the Republicans’ additional demands almost before they have a chance to make them.  He unilaterally disarms, as when he eschewed resorting to the Fourteenth Amendment to trump Congress in the debt ceiling battle.  He insists on pronouncing reliance on the GOP’s good faith and willingness to “do the right thing” despite explicit and unmistakeable evidence that neither of these premises is true.   This pattern repeats itself over and over.  The insufficient stimulus.  Health care reform without even a public option.  Extension of the Bush tax cuts.  The debt ceiling/deficit reduction fiasco.

Unlike George Bush, Obama is not open to charges of stupidity, so alternative explanations must be found as to why he repeatedly wanders down this course of seeming self-destruction.  Popular theories seem to be: