In which bee goes Gonzo on Congress.

By Finrod Posted in Comments (10) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.


Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:14-15,24-30

Bill Frist should fear these words, for they foretell his fate: to be stuck in the room in the Kingdom of Heaven next to the noisy ice machine for all eternity.  For who in Congress has been given so much as him?  And who has done so little with it?

Indeed, if there is any justice at all, every Republican who enters the Kingdom of Heaven who was a member of the 94th Congress in those Dark Years following the worst mid-term election ever, 1974 post-Watergate, will be given a remote control which they can press at any time that will deliver a zap of electricity to Frist's spinal column.  For surely he deserves worse, having wasted the largest Senate majority the Republicans have had in half a century.

Part of the privilege of being the Majority is that you get to write the Rules.  Any Majority that fails to take advantage of that is Doomed in the long run, because the Minority, if left unchecked, will abuse the Rules in any way they can to regain Power.  So how should the Majority take advantage of this power?

First of all, the Senate has to put some teeth back into filibustering.  The primary reason that the Democrats in the Senate are filibustering anything and everything they dislike is because it Costs Them Nothing to do so.  After all, if you were in the Senate minority, and had a chance to stop bills that you know you do not have the votes to vote down, then why not do a painless filibuster?  I propose to bring Pain back to filibustering, or at the very least, the sleepless nights holding the Senate floor that a true filibuster should have.  First rule change: Cloture shall be invoked when a three-fifths majority of Senators Present vote for it.  Second Rule change: No quorum shall be necessary for any cloture vote after the initial one; one Senator can invoke cloture with a 1-0 vote.

These changes would be a Big Win for Senate Republicans.  First of all, the reaction of the public would be "didn't they have to do this already when filibustering?"  When most people think of filibustering, if they have any concept of it at all, they think of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.  Changing filibusters back to that model would not limit the filibuster, it would simply test the Resolve of those attempting it.  When the inevitable Great Whine arises from the Democratic Caucus, they will be shown up for the Losers they are, and it will force them to make Hard Choices.  For these filibuster changes will not stop 41 determined Senators from filibustering; but it will put a stop to such spectacles as a Senator attempting to phone in a filibuster from Switzerland.  And that is As It Should Be.

Another place where the GOP has a big advantage over the Democrats is in fundraising.  To that end, I propose that all Representatives and Senators, upon declaring their candidacy for re-election, shall be presented with a bill for 10 percent of the costs incurred by their staff office during the last 2 years for a Representative, and the last 6 years for a Senator, to be paid by their re-election campaign.  If they can't pay the bill, then they can't be re-elected; if they don't want to pay the bill, they don't have to run for re-election.  Not only will this give the GOP a leg up come election time, but this is Exactly the kind of reform that it will be Difficult to explain to voters why it should be voted down, plus it will provide a Natural Incentive for congressmen to be frugal with their staff dollars-- something the Hill has long needed.  Three wins with a combination bank shot-- hitting the bastards right where it hurts the most: in the wallet.

These are reforms that Mr. Frist should ponder carefully.  He has had the Stink of Defeat on him for far too long, and that kind of smell is difficult to wash away.  It clings to him like the humid air of the Deep South, and if he cannot beat it, then he needs to step aside, before the other GOP Senators take matters into their own hands and defenestrate him from the highest window in the Capitol.  After all, what happens in Congress stays in Congress-- legally, at any rate.

to any change in the filibuster rules  is "what happens when we're in the minority". I'm not necessarily agreeing with that sentiment, but it seems like a valid point.

 Regarding Frist's overall leadership, I'm not sure where you see that "stink of defeat" clinging to him so badly. He was strong and decisive with Roberts and Alito, the Patriot Act is going to pass with only cosmetic changes, and I don't see the Democrats claiming any major victories during his tenure.

While his record on spending is not so great, well, the agenda is set from the top, and President Bush has not exactly led the fight to cut spending (to put it mildly). You might call The Gang of Fourteen a failure on his part, but that was a failure to rein in the majority, not a loss to the minority. It's also debatable (in hindsight) if it truly was a failure.

 His low key manner has led some conservatives to view him as a failure, we tend to like leaders who proclaim conservative ideals loudly from the mountaintop. I think that role is reserved for the head of the party i.e. President Bush. The senate majority leader's job is to advance our agenda in Congress. You cannot expect to enact the conservative agenda overnight, it wouldn't work. An incremental approach stands a much better chance of succeeding, and in that he has been more or less successful.

I'm more interested in talking about making congresscritters pay part of their office expenses and changing filibusters so they require holding the Senate floor again.

Gotcha by JPH

sorry for intrudin' :-)

I'd rather have your comment than a lonely unloved diary with no comments at all.  :-)

Mr. Frist would be worthy of the Republican nomination for '08 if he would enact these changes.  Unfortunately, he's not and he won't.  Sigh.

Bee for Majority Leader!!!

the nomination for THAT??  Boy, you're easy to please.

If he had brass ones big enough to do that, and the intelligence and good sense to enact sensible reform, he'd be a Reagan for today.  I say that because leaders of that caliber don't usually just strike once, but over and over.

But, like I said, he's not and he won't.

I mean, if Sen. Coburn gets called 'Senator Trainwreck', I can't imagine what kind of nickname they'd come up for me, because I'd probably make him look like a diplomat.  Imagine a conservative Hunter S. Thompson (whose writing style I was vaguely trying to imitate in this post), and you'd probably be close.

as long as you ended up doing what he did. ;-)

Unfortunately, I don't have the public speaking skills to get myself elected assistant dogcatcher, let alone US Senator.

On the other hand, if we abolished the 17th Amendment..

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