Monday, October 29, 2012

The Major Impediment to Bipartisanship

One of the most cogent criticisms of President Obama has been his failure to work with the GOP in Congress.   Indeed, the Healthcare bill is unique among landmark pieces of legislation in the country's history because it attracted no GOP support.   The President's supporters have argued that it is those nasty old Tea Party members but there is a much clearer explanation for the President's failures.   The Senate, under the "leadership" of Senator Harry Reid has simply refused to consider any legislation from the House that Mr. Reid did not want to hear.

The criticism of the President's lack of bipartisanship before the 2010 election is probably even more on the Democratic leaders in both houses.  But as you can see from the list at the right (published in an editorial in the WSJ this morning) at least ten pieces of legislation passed by the House, never got a hearing in the Senate. they never even got a hearing.  Consider what might have happened if the President had leaned on Reichs Kommandant Reid to hear some of the bills.   First, the normal political process could have been advanced a bit.  Senators love their independence so they would have considered the bills and modified them - either in large ways or small.   Then there would have been a conference committee and more modifications.   Even if there had been one or two bad ideas (in the eyes to the Democrats) that got through, the President would still have the veto power.

Ultimately, if the GOP did not play under those rules they could rightly have been branded obstructionists.   My suspicion is that even the hardest line conservatives would have recognized the need to engage.  But the President and Reid refused to give the wisdom of our Constitutional system a chance.   And the President and his buddies simply continued to whine about how nasty the GOP can be.    That obstructionism may contribute to the President's defeat and it would not have been an issue had the President had a bit more trust in the complex design of our system.    That is a real lacking for someone who bills himself as a "constitutional law professor."

1 comment:

Jonathan Brown said...

Reid added insult to injury later in the week by claiming that he would not be able to work with Governor Romney if he were elected President - so much for any idea that Reid is not a major part of the problem.