I suppose it's good that Bob Dole said this today, but it could be argued that he has some nerve complaining about GOP obstructionism:
Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) on Sunday sharply criticized both his own party and the Senate he served in for close to three decades.That would be this Bob Dole:
Asked on "Fox News Sunday" if the Senate was broken, Dole responded that "it is bent pretty badly."
"It seems almost unreal that we can't get together on a budget, or legislation," said Dole, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1996. "We weren't perfect by a long shot, but at least we got our work done." ...
"I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says closed for repairs, until New Year's Day next year, and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas," Dole said about the current state of his party....
It was on Election Night 1992, not very far into the evening, that the Senate minority leader, Bob Dole, hinted at the way his party planned to conduct itself in the months ahead: it would filibuster any significant legislation the new Democratic President proposed, forcing him to obtain 60 votes for Senate passage.I suppose what's upsetting Dole is that his party, which responded with obstructionism after the last four elections in which a Democrat was chosen as president, won't even allow the current Democratic president a fallback, greatly compromised version of his agenda. Bottle up the agenda of a Democrat? Sure, but not completely. Maybe 90 or 95 percent, but not the whole thing. That wouldn't be sporting!
This was a form of scorched-earth partisan warfare unprecedented in modern political life. Congress is supposed to operate by majority vote. It is true that the filibuster has a long and disreputable Senate history and that, over the years, it has been used more by Democrats than by Republicans. But only after 1992 did it become the centerpiece of opposition conduct toward an elected President. What the Republicans did in the Senate in 1993 amounted to an unreported constitutional usurpation. It should have been denounced as such at the time, but it wasn't. The punditocracy chose not to notice.
In any case, it worked. Little that the President proposed became law in the two years that he operated with Democratic majorities. There was no health care reform, no economic stimulus package.
If Dole really does have qualms about an approach to governance he once championed, and he thinks his party has gone too far, he should just quit the party. He should quit and Jon Huntsman should quit and Christie Whitman and Colin Powell and Arnold Schwarzenegger and every other Republican who's put off by the party's excesses should quit all at once, and run a full-page ad in The New York Times explaining why. If these gray eminences, respected as they are by the mainstream press, said the party had finally gone too far for them, maybe mainstream journalists would wake the hell up and recognize that both sides aren't equally responsible for the mismanagement of our government.
But that's never going to happen. Even Dole still believes both sides do it:
The former majority leader also said that President Obama had squandered an opportunity to govern better by not reaching out more to lawmakers during his first term.So nothing's going to change.