Who’s in Charge

August 27, 2010

With all this election fervor going on, I keep hearing the phrase “party out of power”. It seems to refer to the Republicans, but that doesn’t seem right. I know they have the minority now, but when have they been out of power? They certainly seem to have a lot of power right now.

Surely, it’s not the Democrats continuing to fund two unpopular wars. Okay, so one is winding down and ending combat, but we still have people there, they are still in harm’s way, and we are still contributing to the corruption and destruction of a foreign country. Doesn’t sound like something Democrats would do. The other war is even escalating. In what world do Democrats escalate a war with no prize? There is nothing we can win there. There’s almost no there there.

Please don’t tell me the Democrats reformed Health Care and left the Insurance companies running the show. Democrats would have seriously pushed for a single payer system, and possibly settled for a Public Option, but they would not have allowed a watery gruel of Health Care reform to pass. For every abuse the Insurance companies are being denied, they have teams of lawyers whose sole purpose is to think up new ones. They still have a monopoly, no competition, and no reason to care about anything but their own profits. Democrats couldn’t have done that.

Democrats also would never have allowed Wall Street and Big Banks to continue the unsafe and risky trading and trickery that brought the financial system to the brink of collapse. Even with some new regulations, they are riddled with loopholes that yet another team of high priced lawyers will take advantage of, because the problem of “too big to fail” has not been dealt with. Democrats would have reinstated Glass-Steagall without a doubt. It’s just a no-brainer.

So I wish the Republicans would stop whining that they can’t do anything, and talking about what they will do when they take back the House and the Senate. From what I can tell, the Democrats haven’t had the Senate for several years. And until they censure the Republicans egregious abuse of the filibuster (aka The Tarantino) and fight back by using reconciliation and other perfectly legal tactics that they seem to forget they have at their disposal, no matter how many seats they have, the Democrats will not be IN power. The party IN power gets things done THEIR way. But for this session of Congress, the Republicans, minority or not, have been in charge.

If, traditionally, the party out of power gains seats in the midterms, perhaps the Democrats will regain the filibuster proof margin they need, because if you define power by what it can accomplish rather than the number of seats, it is the Democrats who are currently out of power. And if they don’t do something about it, they will be out of good will and political capital as well.