Nothing says “representative of the people” like unilaterally deciding that the American House of Lords will conduct no business that doesn’t conform to one person’s agenda. Democrats have a pretty good track record of screwing up a bona fide political winner with ease, so I won’t expect them to jump on this either. However, the fact is that this is an unprecedented power-grab unseen in American history. At no time (not during the Civil War, not during Mccarthy, not during Civil Rights) has one senator shut down government by himself, for selfish, petty, vindictive reasons. Jim DeMint has tread into new and dangerous territory and the fact that so-called news organizations (beyond the inestimable Mr. Goddard, of course) are simply ignoring it is a sad indictment of practically our entire system.
It’s also worth remembering that this is the logical endpoint of the Republican caucus’ strategy since Jan. 15th, 2009. Without a vote, a majority or a mandate (never mind a reason) they have decided to obstruct every piece of legislation that they don’t approve of. They’ve blocked judicial nominees in record numbers, leading to a crisis in the courts, often times by the use of an anonymous hold. This tactic allows any one member to block a nominee for whatever reason they like, without a hint of repercussion, despite the vast majority of nominees being approved unanimously by the judicial committee. Tom Coburn has even blocked a new food safety bill because it costs too much, and lied on the Senate floor to try and get his issues with the bill addressed, even though it is the cheapest one yet this congress.
This has gone far beyond the simple truism that the Senate is Broken. With DeMint’s bold new steps toward effective dictatorship, we have reached a point where if something is not done soon to address this gross abuse of power, there might not be any going back. It amuses me to watch the Teabaggers whine on and on about the constitution and the founding fathers as if they were some godhead handed down from Heaven on the backs of angels. Do they really think the framers of their holy document would have stood for this embarrassment of a legislative process? They were fighting to break free from tyranny, not embolden it.
I ask all of you to make this known to your friends, family, co-workers, anyone who might be willing to vote this November. If you make any pretense to patriotism, there is no way you can support DeMint’s actions in good conscience.
Updated: More on DeMint’s “Doomsday Device“.