Republican minority Senator Tom Coburn actually wants to debate gun control in the Democratic Party-controlled U.S. Senate.
Democratic President Pro-Tem of the majority Democratic Party-controlled U.S. Senate Harry Reid wants to hide in a stall in the little boy’s room instead.
Kimberly Strassel explains the curious shirking diddler Harry Reid:
What may be the most overlooked story of the past two years is how Harry Reid has subverted the democratic process, successfully allowing him to both protect his party and keep the focus on Republicans.
The Founders created a legislative process that was deliberately different from the parliamentary systems of Europe. In the “regular order” of things, the House works its will. The Senate works its will. Those two bodies meet in conference. The president may then sign or veto the resulting legislation.
In Mr. Reid’s Washington, the House works its will, the Senate does crossword puzzles. Its committees do not produce bills, its senators do not debate or amend, the body does not vote. The House, to accomplish anything, is forced to engage in backroom wrangling with the White House, the results of which are presented to the nation as a fait accompli. The Senate claims total deniability.
Mr. Reid’s Senate has not produced a budget in three years. The majority leader rarely moves on a bill, and when he does, he uses tricks to block senators from amending legislation, or he shuts down debate in such a way as to kill legislation. Regular order and conference reports are nearly nonexistent.
Mr. Reid’s primary motive is to shield his vulnerable members from tough votes and to hide the huge divisions in his party.
An example of how this works: Tax bills must originate in the House, so the GOP in August dutifully passed legislation to avert the fiscal cliff by extending rates for one year. With regular order, the Senate would have taken this up, amended it and gone to conference. No crisis.
But Mr. Reid didn’t want his members to have to vote on a bill that either undercut the president or undercut their own re-election prospects—so he did nothing. As the clock ticked down to the expiration of the Bush tax rates, the White House (and the press) then claimed it was incumbent on the GOP to either cut a deal directly with the administration or be held responsible for tax hikes on everyone. Mr. Obama sat back to enjoy a public GOP brawl over its tax strategy, followed by his tax victory. Nowhere was it noted that the entire breakdown of the process—the entire reason for the crisis—rested on Mr. Reid’s refusal to act.
Republicans are getting very wise to all this, as hinted by Mr. Coburn’s polite request that the Senate debate gun control. In GOP circles, the talk is increasingly on ways to force Mr. Reid to re-engage with democracy.
The nastiest phenomenon leaving the American republic beginning to look like nothing so much as a leper with mushy body parts unpredictably crumbling away is the deliquescence of the Fourth Estate, the peoples’ senses, into little more than pacifying infotainment media.
Next nastiest is the leader of the Republic’s upper chamber hiding out for fear he might get a wedgie while his lunch money is stolen.
Re-engage with democracy, Harry. Lead, follow, or get the fuck out of the way.
H. M. Stuart