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View Diary: So what's up with "holds" in the Senate, anyway? (166 comments)

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  •  The Republican minority is backstopped by (0+ / 0-)

    a Republican president so the Republican senators have much more leverage than the Democratic senators did when they were in the minority and the president was a Republican (2001-2006). Conversely, Bil Clinton, being a triangulator who was more than willing to negotiate with Republicans, preferred to cut deals with the majority Republicans in the House and Senate (1995-2000) so the minority party senators under Clinton (Dems) did not enjoy the leverage that Republicans now enjoy.

    •  Democrats Had the Same Leverage (1+ / 0-)
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      enough already

      Democrats could have stopped the War authorization from their minority. They could have stopped any number of rapes of the country, the way Republicans stop all kinds of reform efforts. But they didn't. And now they instead accept the Republican obstruction.

      Since they didn't do their job in the minority, and the same problems are continuing with them failing in the majority, it's hard to believe that they're anything but the "good cop" to the Republicans' "bad cop", and are just props in a game to make the bad cops look like they're exceptional, while the good cops look on helplessly as the law is smashed to pieces every time.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:17:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well the sad truth is the Dems did not (1+ / 0-)
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        want to stop the war authorization in 2002. IIRC, only 23 Senate Democrats voted against the bill authorizing the president to use military force in Iraq.

        •  Also (0+ / 0-)

          You also have to remember what the mood of the country was back then, being that 9/11 was a recent event.  Back then it would have taken extraordinary political courage to buck not only the president, but the national mood.  We may admire Senator Feingold's conviction and courage, and certainly the voters in Wisconsin seemed to when he ran for re-election, but it is less clear if voters in, say, Indiana would have preferred their Senators to be so independent and contrarian.  

          Bismarck said that "Politics is the art of the possible."  Each Senator has to do a political calculation on what they think it will take to hold on to their seat.  I'm sure that they know their constituents better than we do -- unless we happen to be one of their constituents.  Feingold understands Wisconsinites, and Bayh understand Hoosiers, and neither will hold onto their seats without knowing the limits of what their constituents will tolerate.  Or, at least, without knowing the best way to explain their actions to their constituents so that they will be understood.  Remember, if you're an EX-Senator, there's no possibility for getting anything done anymore.

          It's only now apparent to most Americans that the President and his party not only took us down the wrong path, but bungled things badly while doing so.  The 2006 elections were the first indicators that mood of the country was changing, but this wasn't all that clear in 2004.  

          It is also true that generally speaking, the Republican mindset is such that they (both the Republican voting public, and the Republican politicians) place a high value on unity and conforming.  Democrats on the other hand, generally pride themselves on independent and critical thought, so marching in lockstep with their leader is pretty low on their list of priorities.  Mitch McConnell can count on his herd of sheep following him -- even when it might seem to be against their best interests, whereas Reid has to herd his cats very gingerly, particularly when his majority is held only by one seat.  (I can only imagine how he must have to coddle Joe Lieberman!)

          •  Glenn Greenwald has a thorough... (0+ / 0-)

            ....rebuttal to this largely baseless argument.

            And it's here.

            Or as Jim Hightower said more succinctly last week, "Republicans took Texas once Democrats stopped behaving like Democrats."  Or words to that effect.

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