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Legislature As Theater

[ 2 ] April 30, 2012 |

Using control of the agenda to force the opposition into unpopular votes doesn’t have much of an impact on elections at the presidential level (although a little more at the state and local level). Still, given that Republican control of the House makes passing worthwhile legislation an impossibility, there’s no reason for Senate Democrats not to do it.

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  1. njorl says:

    There is a chance this could backfire. Romney could pay lip-service to these bills that can’t pass, knowing they’ll never reach his desk if he wins the election.

    Romney won the nomination because the majority of Republicans thought he has the best shot to beat Obama. A majority of Republicans know that one of the reasons he has the best shot to beat Obama is that he will lie egregiously just to get elected.

    Romney’s ironclad reputation as someone who will tell any lie just to get elected actually helps him here. He can pander to the uninformed in ways that address his political weaknesses, while his true supporters can rest easily knowing that he is an irredeemable liar.

  2. Murc says:

    Wait, we can do this?

    My impression has always been that the Democrats haven’t been doing this because they CAN’T. The linked article refers to bringing the Paycheck Fairness Act “to the floor” but my understanding is that in the Senate, when you want to block something, it doesn’t even get that far. What happens is that procedural motions meant to begin debate about maybe possibly eventually getting something to the floor come up, and then are filibustered in a procedure that only requires a tiny number of Senators to go on record.

    No Republican will need to actually vote against this, right? What will happen is that a few of them will prevent it from ever coming to a vote, and the rest will claim with straight faces that they never voted against it because of that.

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