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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    20 Jan '12 04:24
    I confess that this is a narrow topic of discussion, which in fact I have already
    visited to a degree on RHP, but I think it is an interesting and unusual
    consideration of the U.S. political system worthy of its own thread.

    Since 1900, there have been 23 sessions of Congress in which there was a
    politically "divided government." In each of those cases but one, however, the
    House party differed from that of the presidency and the Senate, or the party
    of the House and the Senate differed from that of the presidency. In other
    words, in only one case (107th Congress) was the breakdown of "divided
    government" such that the party of the Senate was different from that of the
    House and the presidency.

    Now, consider these hypothetical national election results in 2012:

    -Romney wins the presidency.
    -Republicans sustain a net loss in the House but retain majority control by
    margin of roughly 230-205.
    -Democrats sustain a net loss in the Senate but retain majority control by a
    margin of 52-48 or 51-49.

    (Granted, the probability that all three events occur together is small, but I
    would argue that it is certainly nonnegligible.)

    Questions for thought:

    1) Given that he would hold the highest office among members of his party,
    would Harry Reid be an effective national leader for the Democratic Party--from
    a political perspective and a legislative perspective?

    2) If Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg retired thereafter, how would the
    unprecedented politics of partisanship in the Senate affect the ideological
    spectrum from which Romney could choose a replacement nominee?

    3) Would Romney be successful at navigating the political and legislative
    realities of divided government, in general? (I'm reposting this question from
    an old thread of mine, for what it's worth.)

    4) What would be the future of PPACA?

    I do think that it's worthwhile to note that the exception I mentioned above--
    the 107th Congress--actually passed a substantial amount of legislation.
    (I don't mean to comment on the quality of that legislation--only on the
    volume thereof.)
  2. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    21 Jan '12 06:37
    For that matter, flipping those election results across the board would also
    result in a divided government with the party of the Senate different from that
    of the House and presidency. What if:

    -Obama wins reelection.
    -Democrats take the House with a majority of around 220-215.
    -Republicans take the Senate with a majority of 51-49 or 52-48.

    In fact, this outcome seems as likely as the one I mentioned above: Obama
    would frame the election as a "choice" and point to (hopefully) downward-
    trending unemployment figures, House Democrats would frame the election as
    a "choice" against Tea Party Republicans, and Senate Republicans would only
    need a net win of two seats in addition to their expected victories in North
    Dakota and Nebraska to establish a majority.

    So then new questions arise. How would Mitch McConnell fare as the political
    and legislative leader of the national Republican party? Would Obama's
    nominations survive an even more drawn-out confirmation process? Etc.

    Surely I'm not the only one who thinks these kinds of hypotheticals are interesting?
  3. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    21 Jan '12 17:43
    The Senate from Day 1 was intended to act as a brake on the other parts of the government. It's supposed to be filled with old wise men getting close to death who temper youthful vigor with aged experience.

    It would be obstructionist.
  4. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    21 Jan '12 18:44
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    The Senate from Day 1 was intended to act as a brake on the other parts of the government. It's supposed to be filled with old wise men getting close to death who temper youthful vigor with aged experience.

    It would be obstructionist.
    True but the filibuster itself is non-Constitutional. And the use of the filibuster to block virtually every bit of legislation proposed by a President was unprecedented in US history until 2009. It will probably be the norm now where the President and Senate are of different parties unless reforms are enacted.
  5. 23 Jan '12 12:42
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    True but the filibuster itself is non-Constitutional. And the use of the filibuster to block virtually every bit of legislation proposed by a President was unprecedented in US history until 2009. It will probably be the norm now where the President and Senate are of different parties unless reforms are enacted.
    And the use of the filibuster to block virtually every bit of legislation proposed by a President was unprecedented in US history until 2009.-no1marauder


    "Every bit of legislation proposed by the President" in 2009 was blocked ?

    The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 , The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009) come to mind.
  6. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    23 Jan '12 12:48
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    no1: "Every bit of legislation proposed by the President" in 2009 was blocked" ?
    Oooh look. utherpendragon left out the word "virtually".
  7. 23 Jan '12 12:57
    Originally posted by FMF
    Oooh look. utherpendragon left out the word "virtually".
    I left out the words "unprecedented", "use", "the", "and", among others as well.
  8. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    23 Jan '12 13:04
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    I left out the words "unprecedented", "use", "the", "and", among others as well.
    Yes but it's the omission of the word "virtually" that reflects poorly on you.
  9. 23 Jan '12 13:06
    Originally posted by FMF
    Yes but it's the omission of the word "virtually" that reflects poorly on you.
    I appreciate the insight FMF.
  10. 23 Jan '12 13:07
    Obama campaigned on the promise to be the candidate of change, but the elites he works for had no intention of that. That is why we have what we have. The filibuster has been used to give loyal supporters of Obama an excuse to still support him and fool themselves into thinking he actually has been trying to implement change you can believe in.
    They can and have been blaming the republicans just as the elites intended. Corruption in the political system is far worse than most people believe. Welcome to the best democracy money can buy.
  11. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    23 Jan '12 14:59 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by utherpendragon
    And the use of the filibuster to block virtually every bit of legislation proposed by a President was unprecedented in US history until 2009.-no1marauder


    "Every bit of legislation proposed by the President" in 2009 was blocked ?

    The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 , The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009) come to mind.
    The Republicans attempted to filibuster both but the Dems had a working 60 votes to invoke cloture.

    If you want to add the words "attempt to"after "to" and "before" block in the sentence quoted, you may have your nitpicking victory.

    EDIT1: The Senate voted 72 to 23 to invoke cloture on S. 181 on January 15, 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilly_Ledbetter_Fair_Pay_Act_of_2009

    EDIT2: The Senate voted, 61-36 (with 2 not voting) on February 9 to end debate on the bill and advance it to the Senate floor to vote on the bill itself.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_of_2009
  12. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    23 Jan '12 15:00
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Obama campaigned on the promise to be the candidate of change, but the elites he works for had no intention of that. That is why we have what we have. The filibuster has been used to give loyal supporters of Obama an excuse to still support him and fool themselves into thinking he actually has been trying to implement change you can believe in.
    They can ...[text shortened]... tical system is far worse than most people believe. Welcome to the best democracy money can buy.
  13. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 Jan '12 15:24
    Originally posted by Metal Brain
    Obama campaigned on the promise to be the candidate of change, but the elites he works for had no intention of that. That is why we have what we have. The filibuster has been used to give loyal supporters of Obama an excuse to still support him and fool themselves into thinking he actually has been trying to implement change you can believe in.
    They can ...[text shortened]... tical system is far worse than most people believe. Welcome to the best democracy money can buy.
    But Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon, right?
  14. 24 Jan '12 11:25
    Originally posted by sh76
    But Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon, right?
    Only Iran knows.
  15. 30 Jan '12 01:14
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    I confess that this is a narrow topic of discussion, which in fact I have already
    visited to a degree on RHP, but I think it is an interesting and unusual
    consideration of the U.S. political system worthy of its own thread.

    Since 1900, there have been 23 sessions of Congress in which there was a
    politically "divided government." In each of those ca ...[text shortened]... don't mean to comment on the quality of that legislation--only on the
    volume thereof.)
    I'm not interested in speculating on election results, but I don't think your history is entirely correct. Both Bush43, and Obama enjoyed temporary majorities in both House and Senate for short periods. Obama's was longer and deeper in the Senate holding an almost filibuster proof majority until Kennedy's passing.

    The Senate was supposed to moderate the populism of the House, and grant equal power to small States to balance the greater power of the more populous ones in the House. The 17th amendment changed the election of Senators to populist election, from a selection of the State legislatures (1913).

    Clearly, the intent of the founders was to diffuse power, and to limit democracy.

    The idea that the filibuster was not used until recently is hogwash. In less recent time however, the Senator actually had to take the floor and speak adnauseum, handing over the podium to a cohort who kept up the "debate". This would go on 24/7 until one party or the other tired out.