Sunday, August 03, 2008

We're too close to a Democrat Majority

Much of the news focus is on who will win the White House. But the Congress and the Senate are also at risk of gaining larger Democrat majorities:

Presidential vote could help Dems get 'magic' Senate majority
[...] The battle for the Senate has been overshadowed by the presidential race, but just as important as who will reside in the White House is whether Democrats can get 60 seats in the Senate.

The "Magic 60" would give Democrats a filibuster-proof majority, and the keys to true power in the Senate. Assuming that their party leaders could keep Democratic senators in line, 60 votes would mean a fast track for their agenda, prevent Republicans from blocking it and a clear path for their nominations for the federal bench.

Not since the 95th Congress of 1977-79, when Democrats had 61 seats, has either party had a veto-proof majority.

Democrats now hold a 50-49 advantage in the Senate, and one seat is held by an independent.

The worst nightmare for Republicans on Election Day is the Democrats' best-case scenario: control of the White House, a nine-seat net gain in the Senate, and a healthy gain on their 36-seat majority in the House. In that case, Democrats could steamroll President Obama's agenda into law.

Even before Stevens' indictment, the landscape looked rough for Republicans.

Stu Rothenberg, a veteran election analyst and author of the Rothenberg Political Report, told CNN: "Two years ago was a horrible election for Republicans in a horrible environment. The environment is now worse for Republicans than it was two years ago, and that means the election results could be as bad, or even worse."

Indeed, all signs point to Democrats picking up seats. The question is: How many?

Of 35 Senate seats up for re-election this year, 23 are now held by Republicans. [...]

(Bold emphasis mine) The last time the Dems had such a large majority was during Jimmy Carter's term in office. Do we need a repeat of the Carter years? Read the whole thing for the details of what seats are vulnerable, and how it could all play out. If the Democrats reach their magic number, they will be able to proceed unopposed.

It's interesting to me that some people want to "punish" the Republicans by not voting for them. Years out of power seems to have done little to transform the Democrats. Their recent gains were thanks largely to the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, yet the party leadership and strategies have not changed at all, despite the Democrat controlled Congress having an historically low approval rating by the public. If the "punishment" didn't work to change Democrats, why would it work for Republicans? And unfortunately, if you punish Republicans by not voting for them, you are automatically rewarding Democrats.

That's the way it goes. The people who are actually running are the choices we have, not some imagined, unreal fantasy of a future candidate who's perfect.

It would be nice if our choices were better than just the lesser of two evils. Sometimes they are, but usually it's the former. Don't tell me "The lesser of two evils is still evil". What part of LESS don't you understand? Since when is MORE evil a BETTER thing? Duh.

Republicans had a solid majority, and they blew it. I don't think it's good for either party to have an absolute majority. They need active opposition to keep them on their toes. Absolute power seems to corrupt the status quo. We need to maintain some sort of balance in our government, which includes an effective opposition. I hope the American electorate keeps that in mind when they vote this November. We will need an effective opposition to prevent the current Democrat majority from squelching all debate about things that affect us all, such as drilling for domestic oil, and it's effects on gas prices:

House Dems turn out the lights but GOP keeps talking
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats adjourned the House, turned off the lights and killed the microphones, but Republicans are still on the floor talking gas prices.

Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m., and they are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.

At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark. But as Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz..) was speaking, the lights went back on and the microphones were turned on shortly afterward.

But C-SPAN, which has no control over the cameras in the chamber, has stopped broadcasting the House floor, meaning no one was witnessing this except the assembled Republicans, their aides, and one Democrat, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has now left.

Only about a half-dozen Republicans were on the floor when this began, but the crowd has grown to about 20, according to Patrick O'Connor.

"This is the people's House," said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.). "This is not Pelosi's politiburo."

Democratic aides were furious at the GOP stunt, and reporters were kicked out of the Speaker's Lobby, the space next to the House floor where they normally interview lawmakers.

"You're not covering this, are you?" complained one senior Democratic aide. Another called the Republicans "morons" for staying on the floor. [...]

(Bold emphasis mine) If it's like this NOW, can you imagine what it will be like with a Democrat majority controlling the White House, Congress and the Senate? Should either side have that much power?

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