Tuesday, August 10, 2010

5 Year Olds

Before lawmakers broke for their August recess, a couple of key pieces of legislation were defeated because of Republican procedural concerns. A bill to offer more health care resources for 9/11 rescue workers was defeated in the House, for example, because Republicans said they wanted to offer poison-pill amendments and Democrats wouldn't let them. Likewise, a bill to offer tax breaks to small businesses was defeated by Senate Republicans for the same reason.

What's with this GOP preoccupation with procedure? Why should important legislation die over amendments that won't pass anyway? Before senators headed home last week, Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) tried to explain his party's thinking.

"Saying to a senator, 'You can't bring up your amendment,' is like saying to your 5-year-old son, 'OK, Johnny, whatever you do, don't touch the stove.' Johnny's going to spend the whole week trying to figure out a way to touch the stove."

Hmm. If I didn't know better, I might think Lamar Alexander believes Republican lawmakers act like 5 year olds.

A few months ago, the American Enterprise Institute's Norm Ornstein noted that GOP leaders "are becoming the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious."

Apparently, Ornstein isn't the only one who's noticed.

  • from the comments:

    This reminds me of a similar sentiment from a senior fellow at the Cato Institute: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/07/15/pm-bringing-both-sides-for-conservation

    The article says in part:

    "[B]ehavioral psychologists have convinced utilities that if customers can compare their kilowatt hours to their neighbors, they'll want to "keep up with the Joneses..." Turns out that's not always true.

    Patrick Michaels: I'm absolutely unsurprised by this result.

    That's Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute. He shrugged at the study's results that show "nudging" ended up reducing energy consumption by a little, 1 to 2 percent. But here's the real headline: Some Republican households responded by using more power.

    Michaels: If you tell a class of grade schoolers, "no talking right now," I guarantee you somebody's going to talk. This is not quite as command-and-control as that, but it is a little bit paternalistic on the part of the energy companies.

    Posted by: superking on August 9, 2010 at 1:18 PM
mistermix: A Modest Proposal for Fox News’ First Reality Show

After this quote from Hayley Barbour:

“Once it gets to this stage, it’s not poisonous,” Barbour said. “But if a small animal got coated enough with it, it could smother it. But if you got enough toothpaste on you, you couldn’t breathe.”

I want to see a new reality show, “The Barbour Family Eats Gulf Seafood”. After a couple of seasons of Hayley and his brood chowing down on crab, shrimp and oysters caught in various parts of the Gulf, if there aren’t any tumors sprouting from his flabby jowls, then I’ll believe that “the risk to wildlife from oiling is not as bad as some have been saying.”

Changing the Constitution easier to promise than perform Yale Law professor Heather Gerken talks with Rachel Maddow about the history and difficulty of amending the U.S. Constitution and the emptiness of politicians' promises to do so.

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