by Kagro X
"Only in Washington," we were once lectured by petulant Gingrich Republicans, "would a smaller increase be called a cut." Whether the issue was the Earned Income Tax Credit or school lunches, Republicans were, literally, reading from the same page on this point. "Only in Washington."
Well, "only in Washington" would Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's plan to respond to the Republican-triggered nuclear option by bringing a positive agenda of legislation to the floor be called a "shutdown."
Eager as they are to tag the Democrats with the "obstructionist" label, and to tie their response to the use of the lawless nuclear option to Newt Gingrich's spectacular flamout in the 1995 government shutdown, it's just not gonna fly. In 1995, Americans taking their families out for a Sunday picnic in the National Park found locked gates and chains barring their way, the parks closed in a fit of Republican pique. Ten years later, it promises to be a different story:
SEN. DICK DURBIN: We're not going to shut down the Senate. We're not going to shut down the government. I can tell you we learned our lesson watching Newt Gingrich. That hapless tactic was terrible. It's not going to happen again. But I will tell you this. If they decide on the Republican side to break the rules in order to change the rules, then sadly we have no choice but to enforce the rules and live by them.
It will be a different Senate. Senators will be at their desks more, on the floor more, in session more. The key legislation for the defense of America and our troops and important appropriations bills will still pass, but the agenda of the Senate and the procedure of the Senate will change.
In 2005, Americans curious about the alleged "shutdown" of the Senate will be able to tune in to C-SPAN2 and see... more Senators at their desks, doing more talking and more voting on more issues than ever before. Only on the strange and distant Gingrich planet would that be considered a "shutdown."
I might also add that as the media pretends to be confused about the origin of the term "nuclear option," and in fact lets Frank Luntz edit their work by agreeing to swap it for the highly conclusory (and equally false) "constitutional option," let us hope they've not been so bamboozled they're fooled into buying the Republican logic that would brand the key ingredient in Rule XIV procedure, the "motion to proceed", a dilitory tactic. Motion to proceed. You tell me what that means.
Only in Washington.