I disagree with Hightower.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rule by Minority

I just don't get it.  Granted, I have been busy and not able to listen to all of the talking heads about the government shut down or read many articles.  But I work with numbers for a living and the math of this seems wrong to me.  Maybe my assumptions are wrong.  From what I understand a minority in the House is responsible for what everyone else says is crazy (the shut down).  In the House, again as I understand it, a simple majority is all it takes to pass a bill.  So, if the problem here is a minority in the House then I don't get it.  The majority should tell the minority to take a hike and get on with the business of governing.  Perhaps the majority is afraid of the minority because of the Tea Party effect on primaries which are always just around the corner for the House members.

Another thing I don't get...if a law is defunded by Congress leaving the government unable to enact that law, isn't Congress breaking the law or at least obstructing the law?  Even if a law is defunded, the law is still a law.  Doesn't Congress have a legal obligation to fund the laws on the books?  This tactic of trying to extort what the minority wants by holding the country's purse strings hostage leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.  We now have rule by minority if this is a successful tactic.  Law enforcement warns that if you allow yourself to be a victim of extortion, the extortionist will just keep coming back for more.  If this is a successful tactic it most likely will become the norm and will be used by members of both parties, whichever one is the minority at the time.


  1. Paragraph 1. It is a party thing. The so called "tiny" minority is actually a majority of the Republican party which is a majority of the House. The Party leader agrees that he will not put a bill on the floor unless a majority of his party approves the bill. Therefore the minority of the Rs + the Ds have a majority but cannot pass a bill. In the old days this tactic was used by the liberals when they had control of the majority Democratic party and the Reps + the Southern Democrats had a majority but couldn’t use it. Of course, then it wasn’t “extortion”, it was politics.
    Paragraph 2. I think that in general funding is separate from the law itself. But sometimes they are continuing and don’t need further action (SS, Medicare) and sometimes they are limited by law. I believe the Constitution forbids funding the military for more than two years at a time. That is how we have accumulated this debt. They pass the bill without funding because if people knew what it costs they wouldn’t vote for it. But, with respect to this sudden adoration of “the law” if you step back you might notice two things.
    1. a) About the health care individual mandate Obama says: “It’s the law we can’t delay that.”
    b) About the health care employer mandate Obama says: “We are delaying that.”
    2. About the “Dream Act” (which did not pass and change the immigration law) Obama said I’m not going to enforce that part of the immigration law. Poof

  2. In 1918, when it became apparent that German’s military position was hopeless, General Ludendorff recommended acceptance of Wilson’s 14 point plan. Ultimately the politicians agreed and the result was a PERCEIVED political surrender and not a military defeat. It stuck in the German people’s craw until it festered into the Second World War.

    When the ACA was passed a majority of Americans were opposed to the law. A majority of Americans are opposed to the law today. The law was passed at the 11th hour with entirely legal, but unusual and decidedly partisan political maneuverings including Pelosi’s “trading for votes” with Stupak. To say that it stuck in the craw of many politicians, and other American’s, would be an understatement.

    Let me be clear (to use an Obamaism). Nothing in my remarks should be interpreted as endorsement of the strategy or tactics currently in play by the Rs.

    1. Tom, point well made. And I think that your comparison of the results (WW II) of what was done in 1918, to the results (what is happening now in Congress) of the ACA passage, while not quite in balance, is apt in that both reactions are inappropriate and likely to have a negative impact on a large number of innocent people who never had a chance to be involved in the decision making, but certainly will suffer the consequences. If this tactic is successful (not likely but anything is possible) then the ACA is, at best, crippled and the negative impact on the aforementioned innocent is obvious. Even if it is not successful, at best it has, for the umpteenth time, sidetracked the serious governance of the country, and at least in the short run, crippled a large portion of our government. That portion, contrary to the beliefs of the FOX News viewers out there, are there for a reason. Things are not being done that need to be done. We need that portion to get back to fulfilling the reasons for it's existence as soon as possible.