Chris Saxman: Cold Fusion – Talladega Nights Edition
There is a race on in the District of Columbia quasi-intelligentsia to win the “It’s Not My Fault Award.” Leading the pack is, obviously, the President of These Here States United followed closely by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. Mann and Ornstein recently convinced editors at the Washington Post to publish two lengthy op-eds in the Sunday Outlook section.
The first op-ed ran at the end of April and declared that ALL of the problems in DC are the result of the rightward shift of Republican Party. Ok, that’s their opinion and they go to great length to support that idea. More power to them. Oh, Mann and Ornstein have great street cred in DC because they are “non partisan.” And “centrist”, can’t forget that.
Yesterday, they bravely took up another “non-partisan” op-ed in the Outlook section offering “Five Things That Will Never Work” and “Four Things That Could.” Of the Nine Ideas to Save the Federal Government, guess how many deal with their previous diagnosis of Republicanitis? Zero! Zilch. Nada. Niente. Rien.
Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein are incredibly intelligent, well respected members of the I’m Above It All Elite; however, their disconnect on diagnosis and treatment is astounding. They are morphing into Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. of Talladega Nights, played by Will Farrell and John C Reilly respectively – two satires lost in their own satire. That works if you are Farrell and Reilly and you’re job is to be funny, but for Mann and Ornstein it’s just sad.
To quote Cal Naughton Jr, those op-eds “go together like Chinese food and chocolate pudding.”
Diagnosis – The Republicans have gone Loco En La Cabeza. Solution – Third Party, Term Limits, Balanced Budget Amendment, Public Campaign Financing, Stay Calm? Nope, Mann and Ornstein say those will not work.
Okay, they say Four ould work. Could, mind you. They hang their hats on Four Maybes. Reminds me of William Wallace at Stirling. These guys have over EIGHTY years of being experts in DC and they come up with Four Maybes. Drum roll please…..
Realistic Campaign Finance Reform – spin again
Redistricting Reform – oh yeah, that’ll happen.
Traditional Filibuster in the Senate – hmmm….
Expand the electorate – by fine or lottery – seriously? This was an idea of theirs – Like I’m Not Even Kidding!
Could they work? MAYBE. But will they pass? Hell no. Ok, the Senate could amend its rule on the filibuster, but will it? Maybe. The others, not a chance…
As I have offered in past Cold Fusions, and as Mann and Ornstein briefly mention, changing how the Senate and House govern themselves is the only way to get this thing done.
They must change their own rules and/or enforce the ones they have. Here’s my Monday Morning List of Ideas That Not Only Could Pass But Will Work.
Members Shall Not Receive a Paycheck Without a Budget In Place.
Members Shall Not Raise Money or Attend ANY Fundraising Event While Congress is in Session. This includes shutting down online fundraising. This practice works in Virginia.
Each Chamber Shall Convene at Noon and Will Get to Know Each Other By Working on Legislation. Gavel – Pray – Pledge of Allegiance – Work. Repeat as necessary.
Every Member Can Offer Any Amendment to Any Legislation.
Every Amendment Shall Receive a Recorded Vote.
All Legislation and Amendments Shall use the Single Object Rule – They must adhere to the original, singular intent of the bill.
Senate Filibuster – you want to stop a bill or appointment? Fine, take to the floor and talk. Go for it. If we can wait three years for you Jack Wagons to pass a bill, we can wait you out on other legislation and stuff.
Continuing Resolutions are Abolished. Deadlines work. Impose them upon yourselves and not us. See, we pay our taxes every week or quarterly in big chunks. The fact that you cannot pass a budget is vomit inducing.
Balance the budget and increase your pay. There’s a snappy idea! Do your job at a minimum and we’ll kick in a bonus. Works with my kids – they do their chores and are nice to each other and surprisingly their allowance includes The Avengers in 3D!
Any gift, meal or donation given to you must be reported online within 72 hours of acceptance of said gift, meal or donation. If you can send out a press release about the latest and greatest vote or cable news appearance on your part, you can post online from whom and what you have chosen to accept. Or “Just Say No” to drugs.
None of these ideas require a single law to be passed, just a change in the rules of each chamber. If that bar is still too high, you can do most them individually and raise the bar for your colleagues.
Send out that email or robo call and you can count on my support – regardless of party.
Mann and Ornstein wonder why they have not been called to present their ideas on all the cable news programs. The “centrist” “non-partisans” that they are blame only one party – the one that controls Not the Senate and Not the White House while offering up legislative ideas that will never pass. That’s not newsworthy.
That’s “Chinese food and chocolate pudding.”