From the posts here at Red State, it is obvious that many people are angry with Speaker Boehner as he attempts to avert the combined effects of the expiration of the Bush era tax rates and the failure of previous negotiations which resulted in the creation of the sequestration of funds. Clearly he does bear responsibility for much of the road that got us to this point, but he has at least been trying to make something happen — and yet we all seem to be angry with him.
But why are we not twice as vehement and twice as energized about his counterpart in the Senate, Senator Harry Reid?
I’ve been actively watching politics at the national level since the 1970s and I cannot remember being this unimpressed, even angry at the conduct of the Senate, except during some of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. There have always been partisan officials in the position of Majority Leader – it is the nature of the beast — but we have never before gone 4 years without the Senate passing a budget and working out its differences with the House in conference committees. We have rarely seen such trampling of Senate rules and common sense as we saw with the Obamacare vote, and with the current proclivity of the Senate to mash things together in complex legislation that does not serve the nation — or to pass no legislation at all. I really can’t remember a time when the focus of budget negotiations was so constrained to the Speaker of the House and the President, without the Senate Majority Leader in evidence. I have tried to recall the Reagan years and I know that much was made of the contest between Tip O’Neill and President Reagan — but that was due to the Republicans leading the Senate with Senator Baker (and he was part of the discussion as I recall). This time it seems far more focused on just the President and the Speaker.
I am simply stunned that the other 99 Senators seem totally at ease with this situation. The Senate is more dysfunctional than it has been during my lifetime, and NONE of the Senators seem to care. Sure, some such as Senator Rand Paul and Jim DeMint rise up on occasion to thwart one thing or another — but none of them seem to be concerned that their collective reputation has cratered and the nation has been harmed by the machinations of this single Senator from one of the least populous (and most corrupt) states in our nation.
I’m also stunned that we at Red State have collectively been so ineffective — largely reduced to calling Senator Reid some uncomplimentary names — why have we not figured out a way to turn the spotlight and heat upon him and leave it there until he shifts or turns into a political pariah? Why are we not mounting just as emphatic an effort to dump him? Spare me the discussions about this is a Republican based site and we have no power to influence Democrats — we must figure out how to do so in this matter and many others if we expect to turn things around nationally.
Why are we not showing up at our own Senator’s offices and asking Brietbart-like uncomfortable questions? Especially for those of us who have Senators from the Democrat caucus? Why are we not shining the light of facts about the contortions of Senate rules on our own Senators and asking them why they are remaining silent and complicit?
I do not mean to say that we should completely excuse the Speaker of the House and his team, and we should demand that he do the right thing to the maximum of his ability. However, politics is often the art of the possible, and as other posts have pointed out, the Republicans are trying at least to shelter as many as possible from the storm of intransigence and arrogance that has been caused by the President and Senator Reid.
All I ask is that we save some of our intensity and energy to work on the root cause of the issue in the Senate.