Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | January 21, 2010

Welcome to Gridlock Nation


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With the election of Republican senator Scott Brown in Massachussets, we are now ushering an era of eternal gridlock when absolutely nothing will get done in the US Congress thanks to the stubborn game played by the politicians ever since Barack Obama was elected president. One one side are the Republicans, a highly disciplined bunch who are doing everything to block any initiative set forth by the Democratic White House. Mind you, they are not doing that because they want the best for the nation. They act out of bitterness for having lost a majority they took for granted during the Clinton years. In the meantime, they wreaked havoc to the country pushing and approving stupid measures like rejecting Universal Health Care, excessive deregulation, the war in Iraq, the Defense of Marriage Act, The Patriot Act, the current Immigration laws and the tightening of the Cuba embargo – to name a few. Republicans in Congress follow the lead of a bunch of religious zealots who seem to forget that there is a Constitutional separation between church and state.

On the other side are the Democrats – feeling too entitled after successive wins in 2006 (during the midterm elections) and 2008, they are a polarized bunch with pretty much zero unity. In the party you find the extremely liberal, moderates and the so-called Blue Dog Democrats, who are part of the party in name only. Their views essentially follow the Republican party line, like Rep. Michael McMahon, Staten Island’s sad excuse for a Congressman, who only got his elected because Vito Fossella – the former occupier of that seat – got involved in a sordid sex scandal (so much for the family values he supposedly represented) and did not run for reelection.

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Oh, and there was also the fact that his strongest opponent died before election day. But I digress. Oh and then there are the Independents – another bunch whose ideals go from liberal to ultra-conservative and pretty much follow their whims. An example of that is Sen. Joe Lieberman, who got booted from the Democratic ballot only to reemerge as an Independent. The senator often ignores his own constituents – for instance, in spite of the fact that the majority of people in his state support Health Care, his stance has been more on the Conservative side. Oh, remember that he backed John McCain? Enough said. Until Senator-elect Brown won in Massachussets, the Democratic party had a comfortably (albeit shaky) filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. The situation has now changed, and now God only knows what the future will bring. In the meantime, bipartisanship becomes something for history books, since the parties are so damn polarized that no one can find a way to get anything done.

The Democratic party needs to learn a lesson from their counterparts across the aisle: without party unity, nothing will ever get done. For instance, the Health Care debate has been delayed for eons thanks not only to the very Red State democrats that the president’s election helped bring to Congress. But now we’ll be a nation in Gridlock — and that might cost the Democrats the White House after only four years. So much for balance in power.

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