Obstruct This

by digby

Just in case peope are having trouble seeing who's making it impossible to govern, here's a nice little chart from McClatchey that illustrates it quite nicely:

Seven months into the current two-year term, the Senate has held 42 "cloture" votes aimed at shutting off extended debate — filibusters, or sometimes only the threat of one — and moving to up-or-down votes on contested legislation. Under Senate rules that protect a minority's right to debate, these votes require a 60-vote supermajority in the 100-member Senate.

Democrats have trouble mustering 60 votes; they've fallen short 22 times so far this year. That's largely why they haven't been able to deliver on their campaign promises.

Here, we have Frank Luntz, spinning that in today's Baltimore Sun

The Democrats blew into Washington in 2006 as a breath of fresh air in response to Republican scandal, Republican budget mismanagement and a Republican war. But in recent weeks, that freshness has turned stale. Despite majorities in both houses, Congress is seen as having failed to set tough ethics standards, failed to stop wasteful spending and failed to fix illegal immigration.

And those failures offer a glimmer of hope for the GOP.

How convenient:

By sinking a cloture vote this week, Republicans successfully blocked a Democratic bid to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by April, even though a 52-49 Senate majority voted to end debate.

This year Republicans also have blocked votes on immigration legislation, a no-confidence resolution for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and major legislation dealing with energy, labor rights and prescription drugs.


Even Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who's served in Congress since 1973, complained that "the Senate is spiraling into the ground to a degree that I have never seen before, and I've been here a long time. All modicum of courtesy is going out the window."

Really? Remember this?

On Tuesday, Cheney, serving in his role as president of the Senate, appeared in the chamber for a photo session. A chance meeting with Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, became an argument about Cheney's ties to Halliburton Co., an international energy services corporation, and President Bush's judicial nominees. The exchange ended when Cheney offered some crass advice.

"Fuck yourself," said the man who is a heartbeat from the presidency.

Leahy's spokesman, David Carle, yesterday confirmed the brief but fierce exchange. "The vice president seemed to be taking personally the criticism that Senator Leahy and others have leveled against Halliburton's sole-source contracts in Iraq," Carle said.

Yes, those nasty Democrats have really degraded the "comity" of the senate. Boo hoo hoo:

Republican Senate leader McConnell said Friday in a news conference that when he became minority leader, "it was not my goal to see us do nothing. I mean, you can always use the next election as a rationale for not doing anything. But as you all know, we've had a regularly scheduled election every two years since 1788, so there's always an election right around the corner."

"A divided government has frequently done important things: Social Security in the Reagan period, when (Democrat) Tip O'Neill was speaker; welfare reform when Bill Clinton was in the White House when there was a Republican Congress. There's no particular reason why divided government can't do important things. We haven't yet, but it's not too late.

"And I think clearly the way to accomplish things is in the political middle, and I would challenge our friends on the other side of the aisle to step up and take a chance on something big and important for our country."

You know what Mitch? Go Cheney yourself. Hard.