Thursday, October 27, 2011


The Hill reports:

President Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly referring to the Congress as "Republican" even though their party controls one-half of the unpopular institution.

Obama and his allies have started to deploy the phrase "Republican Congress" in what some experts see as a clear attempt to gain a political advantage.

"'m the first one to acknowledge that the relations between myself and the Republican Congress have not been good over the last several months, but it's not for lack of effort," Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos earlier this month....

And other Democrats have used the term.

"I'm sure the president would like it to be creating jobs more quickly. And if the members of the do-nothing Republican Congress would actually put a couple of oars in the water and help us, [we could] do these things like [Mississippi] Gov. [Haley] Barbour mentioned that make so much sense," Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said on CBS's "Face the Nation" earlier this month....

Other examples are given, and yes, I think it's a deliberate strategy. A good one, too, because, as The Hill tells us, "polls taken over the last several years show that many voters are unclear which party runs the House and/or Senate." (Wow, imagine: U.S. voters aren't up on their civics. Newsflash!)

And no, I don't care that Republicans technically don't control the Senate -- with the filibuster, obviously, they do. In reference to the Senate, Steve Benen puts it nicely:

Dems are in the majority only to the extent that they have the luxury of picking which bills Republicans will kill and which nominees Republicans will block.

I'd argue that that's was true even in the first two years of the Obama administration -- as long as all Republicans vote as a bloc on every key issue and LieberDems peel off on most issues (or at least whine and stomp their feet and get every key bill watered down), you'd probably need to have a 70%/30% nominal Democratic majority in both houses of Congress before you'd truly have a Democratic Congress.

So, yeah, this one's Republican. And so, for the most part, was the last one.


BH said...

Exactly, and this is one of the things that makes me crazy when I hear juvenile "Manchurian-Candidate" BS about O. No such conspiratorial nonsense is needed to explain his failure to match FDR's 1st 100 days back in early '09. Occam's razor still works just fine.

BH said...

(I was formerly known as CH, & I don't at all regret the loss of my comments, Steve... nor, I suspect, does anyone else mourn that loss. Carry on.)

M. Bouffant said...

Testing a comment here.

Cyrus said...

you'd probably need to have a 70%/30% nominal Democratic majority in both houses of Congress before you'd truly have a Democratic Congress.

Well, you really can't argue with the statement that the Senate has a Democratic majority right now. And the difference between saying "majority-Democrat Senate" and "Democratic Senate" is semantics. The problem is* that a lot of currently elected Democrats are generally OK with watered-down, centrist-for-its-own-sake policies. More Democrats wouldn't help if they were all Lieberman-esque, and more Republicans actually would help if they were Jeffords-esque.

As for what Obama and friends should be saying, it would be undeniable to say that Congress is a "conservative Congress" and/or a "right-wing Congress".

* The fact that Republicans are so nutty is a problem, the fact that Democrats have such crappy inter-party discipline is a problem, the fact that our system of government is set up the way it is is a problem, but the problem relevant to this post is...