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I think everyone should reread Joan's post on how we got here. It accurately describes how we ended up with the ridiculous spectacle we are witnessing. Someday in the future, somebody will read that piece and think to themselves, "This was a sign that Washington had basically become Constantinople."

Last night, the House of Representatives was actively working on a bill that would not even be brought to the floor in the Senate and would face certain death at the president's desk. But let's think about that fact for a minute. Is this the way American government is supposed to work? Seriously? Back room negotiations between the speaker and the president? Bills that are written up on the fly and go nowhere? Bills that never even get considered for a vote for the other body? Bills that are vetoed before they are even passed?

Think about this: Guess how many vetoes President Obama has issued. The answer is two. The average for presidents is 48. FDR vetoed an average of 53 bills per year and he never once had to deal with Republican majorities. President Obama has less vetoes than Warren Harding—and he was only president for four months! It seems to me the system isn't working properly when the president isn't seeing bills he doesn't like. That isn't a sign of a healthy separation of powers or checks and balances.

The Senate hasn't passed a budget in years. Bills that should be written the proper way, by the committee designed for the issue or policy, are not written in committee. They're written in backrooms by the leadership. Bills are not sent between the chambers for up-or-down votes. Filibusters stop even the most routine matters of business. The average Congressperson can't even write a bill, have it clear a committee, come to the floor for a vote, and then send it onward for consideration. This has gotten so bad, we can't even get conference committees established.

Now, as a result of all this, we have enabled a group of crazy people who have been given the power to cripple—literally cripple—the federal government itself. This, the richest most powerful nation on Earth, actually has to figure out how to do coin tricks in order to keep from default. What we are experiencing here is a general breakdown in the basic functioning of American government.

This madness has to stop. A good first step to repairing this godawful mess is cutting off any further negotiations with John Boehner.

Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 05:42 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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