02 January 2007

Promises, Promises

According to a story in the Washington Post, linked here from MSNBC, the Democrats have decided to shut Republicans out of the lawmaking process for the first 100 hours. The story reports that Democrats will use House rules to prevent Republicans from "offering alternative measures, assuring speedy passage of the bills and allowing their party to trumpet early victories." A few Democrats argued against such measures, but they were shut down. Democrat leaders (Pelosi and Hoyer) say they are "torn" between including Republicans and leaving them out to keep them from "derailing Democratic bills."

They claim that they will keep their promise to be bipartisan. Pelosi mouthpiece Brendan Daly says "The test is not the first 100 hours, the test is the first six months or the first year. We will do what we promised to do."

Ross K. Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University, says "I would like to think after 100 hours are over, the Democrats will adhere to their promise to make the system a little more equitable. But experience tells me it's really going to be casting against type."

I think this will probably backfire on the Democrats. Republicans still hold enough seats in the Senate to wield a little power, and with only 16 seats between the Democrats and Republicans, the majority is not enough to constitute "absolute power", regardless of what the article says. If, and admittedly this is a big if, the Republicans can stick together, they can have an impact on legislation, even in the first hundred hours.

Democrats acknowledge that this strategy might work against them. "We're going to make an impression one way or the other," said one Democratic leadership aide. "If it's not positive, we'll be out in two years."

So much for the big changes in Washington. For the past 12 years Democrats have screamed about Republican arrogance and heavy-handedness. And now they are going to do the same things.

Two sayings immediately spring to mind. The first is the old saw about being careful about what toes you step on today because they might be attached to the butt you have to kiss tomorrow. The second is what every kid says to themselves when their parents do something they don't like.

"I'm never going to do that to MY kids."

Happy New Year!


autone said...

Oops - I hadn't even seen your post and used part of your title....


Happy New Year.


Larry said...

Great minds thinking alike...or something like that ;-)
But the subjects are different.