Towards A Good Samaritan World

Monday, September 25, 2006

ONE-PARTY GRIDLOCK

From the New York Times:

While Republicans prefer to blame Democrats for the backlog, intramural fights and sharp differences between House and Senate Republicans have been chief impediments to major legislation. The recent fissures over terrorism detainees and how far to go in changing immigration law are just the latest and most public examples of serious policy differences among Republicans...

Circumstances have changed in Washington from the days when Republicans were famous for party discipline. President Bush, weakened by his sliding popularity, has been unable to hold sway over Congress. The Republican leadership in the House and the Senate is in transition and lacks the muscle of Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader. Republican lawmakers, many facing their most serious electoral opposition in years, are fending for themselves.

“We have no central core of political authority driving things in Washington,” said James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. “Individuals and expressions of individual will by committees, and also by strong people like John McCain, have dominated, and the result is internal fighting.”


The irony is that a lot of conservatives and libertarians voted for Kerry in hopes of getting "gridlock." Now they're advocating for the Democrats in 2006 for the same reason.

Me, I think a "do-nothing Congress" is not such a bad idea. Social Security reform would be nice, but in general, legislation is at least as likely to be harmful as beneficial, so gridlock is good news. I'm particularly happy that the latest nastiness on immigration is getting stalled:

“I’ve seen some of that lately,” Mr. Frist said recently as he pondered whether Republican opposition would block a proposal for a 700-mile border fence — the chief piece of immigration-related legislation still standing after a broader measure fell victim to Republican disputes. Because of reservations from Democrats and Republicans who favor the broader bill, Mr. Frist is having trouble rounding up enough votes for a showdown over the fence this week.

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