Coburn, a staunch conservative, complained that the Judiciary Committee needs to operate as it did before the disputes over Bush and Obama nominees became such high-intensity partisan fights.
“I think the very issue … is what makes Americans sick of what we’re doing,” Coburn said. “It’s a tit for tat. We’ve got to get beyond that, the problems are too great for our country. What I do know is that presidents are entitled to their nominees.”
Politicalprof: The good news is: we’re not having a shooting Civil War. So score one for modern times. That said, it depends: Clinton was impeached and was alleged to have killed Vince Foster; the militia movement rose promising to fight off the government and its black helicopters planning to take us to UN-sponsored reeducation camps. (A version of that one reappeared last fall.) Bush II, of course, was largely seen as an illegitimate president by many, and there were endless depictions of him as a monkey, or as a tool of Dick Cheney’s Darth Vader. (Although, wouldn’t that make Bush II the emperor and thus using Cheney?) Bush 1 did not suffer quite this vitriol, but there was no FOX News, no internet of quite today’s scope, etc.
What distinguishes the Obama era is the degree to which the Republicans have chosen to act like a parliamentary opposition party. Their position on most issues has been “no”—a position that is facilitated by Senate rules like the filibuster and the anonymous hold that essentially empower any individual Senator to shut the process down.
The thing is, the US Congress isn’t designed to have a parliamentary opposition. Indeed, the Framers—wrongly, as it turned out—thought they had designed a system that made party organization impossible … or at least hard to sustain for very long. So there are no mechanisms by which simple majorities can override obstructionist minorities, and no mechanisms by which hopelessly frozen governments can be replaced midterm.
So while the hate and vitriol are not new in American politics (even if the internet has intensified the hate and vitriol beyond imagining), the fact that the system is essentially frozen today is a new thing that Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2 simply did not have to face.
My first political memory is the Clinton impeachment. As an early 20 something, can one of you old people (PoliticalProf, KohenAri, etc.) let me know if partisanship was this bad under Bush 1 or Clinton? (via huskerred)
I’m old enough…yes it was. The Clintons murdered Vince Foster remember.
-Farmer: I do think, however, that some of our slowing mechanisms do work as intended. The static 2 party system that dominates our government causes this to break down (as indicated by politicalprof), but were there different matters on the line we may well appreciate the mechanisms that slow change. Cutting those out is a two-sided blade. I can’t say that I know of an answer other than perhaps destabilizing the hold Republicans and Democrats have on the government, making the system more fluid and functional.