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jerv's avatar

Is Congress more concerned with partisanship than in what is best for the nation?

Asked by jerv (31034points) December 18th, 2009

From what I’ve seen over the last few years, it seems like politicians have largely disregarded both the best interests of the nation and the people who put them into office in favor of Machiavellian schemes, back-stabbing, sniping, and just plain-old playground fights.
The latest example of this I’ve seen is this Washington Post article about how the GOP is going to filibuster an Iraq/Afghanistan funding bill in a deliberate attempt to delay healthcare legislation.

So, am I just being jaded and cynical, or are they really more interested in spiting each other than in serving we the people?

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29 Answers

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

In my opinion, partisanship is part of the kabuki theater played to engross/excite/entertain people who think that the differences between the two parties are actually significant. What they (again, my opinion) are actually concerned about is figuring out what the majority of the corporations and PACs that provide their donations want and handing it to them on a silver platter, while not appearing too obvious about it.

bricklayer's avatar

I think they are after the greatest amount of “political gain”, or “what will keep me in office”, for the most part. I agree with hiphiphopflipflapflop on the kabuki theater thing. It’s not hard to find politicians who voted one way to appease their constituents (or corporate interests) one year, then voted another way to appease other interests the next year.

dpworkin's avatar

The opposition opposes, and they have made a political decision that they can hurt Obama by forcing Health Care legislation to fail.

I am more upset by the people in the Democratic Caucus who have been voting the way they are paid, rather than representing their constituents. (Prime example, Lieberman.)

YARNLADY's avatar

So What’s new? Politicians as a whole have always been more interested in their own agenda, and convince themselves that what they want is for the good of the country.

Cotton101's avatar

Nothing ever really changes in Washington. It is a people with huge egos and a politician will always do what is in their best interest!

stratman37's avatar

to answer the question, yes, apparently.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

The GOP’s only agenda is to bring down Obama, no matter what it does to the country. They don’t really have to. His own party is doing it for him.

Cotton101's avatar

excuse me, should have read….hate it when i do this…Nothing ever really changes in Washington. Politicians are people with huge egos and a politician will always do what is in his/her best interest!

janbb's avatar

You have to ask?

jerv's avatar

@janbb I had a rare moment where I was willing to give them the benefit of a doubt.

janbb's avatar

@jerv Ha! And I’m not usually a cynic.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Does a bear move its bowels in the woods?

dpworkin's avatar

The New York Times has an interesting article on the extreme partisanship we have been seeing lately. Apparently things have gone so far that the Senate Private Dining Room is not being used, because it used to be a place of collegiality among the differing sides, but now no Democrat wants to associate with a Republican, and vice versa. I think this is quite dangerous, and could lead to very bad governance.

jerv's avatar

@pdworkin ”...could lead to very bad governance.” Compared to what? :P

dpworkin's avatar

Compared to the way things would be run if I were the Tsar.

tincansailorforever's avatar

Did you watch Obama’s State of the Union Address? If you did and missed what occured on the GOP side of the aisle, you didn’t pay attention.
The members of the GOP ( I refer to them as the “Grand Old Pathetics”) were ‘One large lump, on One large log’. The only time any of them moved their hands, was to ‘Pick Their Nose’. The answer is: the GOP is for the GOP period.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Even Justice Alito, who is supposed to be “above” politics, showed his true colors. He didn’t yell out “You lie!”,but he did mouth, “Not true” when the President spoke about the recent Supreme Court decision.

thekoukoureport's avatar

This congress has had to have a supermajority to enact any legislation, AND THEY HAVE! This has been a very successful house and senate for “the people”. hopefully we will continue along this path. Vote democrat.

jerv's avatar

@thekoukoureport Fifty-nine votes in the Senate is not a supermajority. They may have had 60 for a while, but shit happened and then the vacant seat went to a Republican.

Oh, wait… we have a few Independents in there too, so it’s 57–41-2 in the Senate (and never been 60 if for no reason other than Bernie Sanders, even though he usually votes with the Democrats) and 255–177-3 in the House.

I see no supermajority.

thekoukoureport's avatar

A supermajority is a filibuster proof 60 votes which was needed for the stimulus package, healthcare, financial reform, and any other program that was passed by this administration. Thats what I was talking about. but thanks for the breakdown.

Since you put it that way it is also nice to see a president finally bring bipartisanship to Washington. To have Republican, Independent and Democratic voters all come together and approve such major legislation is nothing short of a miracle in todays “supposed” political climate. He promised change and looks like he’s delivering.

jerv's avatar

Ah. That makes sense now.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I agree wholeheartedly with hiphiphopflipflapflop on this. Partisanship is like kibuki theater because of the lack of difference between the two political parties. History shows that, no matter which of the two parties are in power, the successive party most often continues the policies of the former regime, even though the rhetoric doesn’t reflect that. (This becomes most apparent after November 22nd, 1963.) This leads one to surmise that there is, in effect, only one political party in the US and it’s purpose is to concentrate power into the hands of a few. But democracy prevents the concentration of political power into the hands of an oligarchy, right? So this can’t happen in America. That is, unless American democracy has been hijacked by the aforementioned few.

Our democracy has been gradually taken from the hands of the citizens through a lobbying system that is weighted thoroughy on the side of corporate interests over individual citizens, Supreme Court decisions giving individual rights to corporations since the 1870s, the erosion of the middle class through real salary reduction and civil rights in the last 30 years, a mainstream news media owned by eight to ten international corporations with a homogenous political view that does not represent or serve the interest of American citizens and has supplanted their responsibility as our Fourth Estate to inform with a policy to indoctrinate, the control of the money supply in the hands of a cartel of private banks (the Federal Reserve System) which is more than 60% foreign owned that also do not serve the interest of American citizens, a two party political system that history shows supports the policies of each successive regime no matter which is elected, thus ensuring no real change in the march toward undemocratic corporatocracy; a congressional and presidential election campaign process that guarantees candidates will be compliant political whores of the corporatocracy by the time they reach Washington: an inefficient school system that produces a somnolent, ignorant, politically apathetic constituency devoid of the ability to detect fact from fallacy and obsessed by entertainment and celebrity—enabling all the above to occur with very little notice. leaving us with an illusion of democracy.

josie's avatar

The more partisanship, the less they can really do to screw up our lives. Gridlock is good.

josie's avatar

Although I like @Espiritus_Corvus answer! Especially the part about the school system. Totally true!

jerv's avatar

@josie I don’t know. I find that the randomness and half-baked “compromises” that happen whenever they manage to actually pass anything to be rather scary to say the least.
Personally, that is why I prefer a multi-party, coalition style government. At least that way politics is reduced to what it’s meant to be; pure greed and corruption without any other nonsense getting in the way.

zzc's avatar

Thekoukoureport, I wish more people understood the supermajority/fillabuster thing. I’m so tired and discussed by the GOP blocking legislation, but the Dem’s getting the blame for not getting things passed. I have to agree with the saying, “the GOP is the party of NO.”. . .Oh, don’t get me started!

DWW25921's avatar

I fear that the polarized bunches in the United States tend to identify themselves more with their political party than with their country. We now have, Republican Americans and Democrat Americans. That makes me ill.

Neither party has gone out of it’s was to be a promoter of patriotism and thusly we have problems with identities. You may be jaded but you’re not cynical. This is reality my friend. Our only option is the hope that a 3rd party will rise up and replace the functionally obsolete.

jerv's avatar

@DWW25921 Bear in mind that the Democrats have always been a bit fractious, so getting them to act in unity is like herding cats. The one uniting factor is opposition to the Republicans, but beyond that… well, the simplest way to put it is that Democrats are merely anybody who oppose the Republicans and feel that it’s best to unite behind one candidate instead of letting the Republicans win because none of their 254 opponents could get enough support individually.

DWW25921's avatar

@jerv I’d say that’s a fair assessment of the situation. I honestly think we’re going to have a no confidence government until a third party gets in there… Somehow…

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