Rod St. Aubyn: New Congress, Same Gridlock

At the federal level we have faced continued gridlock during the past few years.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid famously refused to take up hundreds of House-passed bills, several with bipartisan support.  Senate Republicans were accused of putting up numerous legislative roadblocks to the point where Sen. Reid and his Democrat senators changed the rules to work in their favor.  The President’s favorability rating continued to plunge.

Then the 2014 election took the public’s pulse.  That election showed that the public was not happy with the President’s and the Democrats’ leadership.  The public demanded changes in the federal government.

Now observe the following:

Pre-Election 2014

  • President – Barack Obama
  • Democrat Senate Leader – Harry Reid
  • Democrat House Leader – Nancy Pelosi
  • Republican Senate Leader – Mitch McConnell
  • Republican House Speaker – John Boehner

Post-Election 2014

  • President – Barack Obama
  • Democrat Senate Leader – Harry Reid
  • Democrat House Leader – Nancy Pelosi
  • Republican Senate Leader – Mitch McConnell
  • Republican House Speaker – John Boehner

Even though the majority has changed in the Senate, giving the Republicans control of both the House and the Senate, overall leadership remains the same.

Albert Einstein whimsically defined “Insanity” as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]After the significant losses that Democrats had during the 2014 Election, I was shocked that Democrats rewarded their leaders with another stint as their leaders.  Even though a few of their members reportedly voted against their leaders, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, these inept leaders were rewarded another term of gridlock.[/mks_pullquote]

After the significant losses that Democrats had during the 2014 Election, I was shocked that Democrats rewarded their leaders with another stint as their leaders.  Even though a few of their members reportedly voted against their leaders, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, these inept leaders were rewarded another term of gridlock.  Personally, I wanted new Republican leaders as well.

It is as if the President and leadership learned nothing from this election.  We have the same leaders charting the same course for this country.  Now the President decides to arrogantly “go it alone” on immigration reform.  What was the rush to do it now?  Why did he make the political decision to delay his executive actions until after the 2014 election?  If it was so urgent, why didn’t he do it prior to the election?

We will have to wait to see how all of this unfolds, but one thing is for sure.  He has “poisoned the well.”  Whether this has an impact in the presidential election in 2016 is way too early to predict.  But one sign that is rather obvious is that we are faced with continued gridlock during the next two years.  Many will argue that gridlock is good and that “the fewer laws that are passed, the better.”  But if you look at it honestly, the ever changing world and political environment demands new legislation.  We need new policies to strengthen our economy.

We need proper appropriations to ensure an effective defense.  How Republicans use their new power in the Senate and work with the House will have a major impact on our country.  If the President changes his ways and does as President Clinton did after his party’s major congressional losses and works with the new Congress, then the country will benefit.

However, I am not optimistic.  The President appears to have no intention in working with the Republicans in Congress. The President’s recent immigration decision and the re-election of the democrat leaders displays that they don’t believe that the American voters want change in the political environment.

Depending upon how Republicans govern during the next two years, 2016 could chart a totally new course in American politics.  But until then, expect continued gridlock and American frustration.  I fear that Albert Einstein was right.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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