Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Congress is Terrible Because Repugs Mutilated It

Think it's pointless to vote for the Democratic candidates for Congress this year?  Think again. Both sides do NOT do it.

In the real world, Congress has been emasculated as a result of two strategies crafted by Republicans. The first happened back in the Gingrich era and was described by Paul Glastris and Haley Sweetland Edwards in an article titled, “The Big Lobotomy.”
A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research…
Gingrich’s strategy, as he explained it to Mann and Ornstein, was simple: Cultivate a seething disdain for the institution of Congress itself, while simultaneously restructuring it so as to eliminate anything—powerful chairmen, contradictory facts from legislative support agencies, more moderate Republicans—that would stand in the way of his vision.
All of that was followed by the Republican strategy of total obstruction in response to the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

1 comment:

Marc McKenzie said...

And you're right, of course.

Sadly, it seems that a good chunk of folks have quaffed the "both sides" Kool-Aid, which is why you have the sneers and threats about voting for Stein, Johnson, or just staying home and letting Trump win (because somehow, that last one will lead to the great Revolution of 2020).