As many of my regular readers know, I often find myself frustrated by something that's happening (or, more often, not happening) in the United States Senate. Over the past several years, I've been repeatedly stunned by the near-complete absence of skill, competence, or leadership demonstrated by Harry Reid - particularly when it comes to actually getting the Senate to do anything more than twiddle, fiddle, and resolve.
Given that, I was mostly pleased with E.J. Dionne's take on the Senate problem in his most recent WaPo column. His analysis of the issue, the way he hi-lighted the Republican obstructionism even on bills that they ultimately voted for, and his suggestion that voters are getting fed up with the problem were all spot-on. Unfortunately, however, his conclusion did not quite manage to hit the mark dead-center:
The rules have changed. The extra-constitutional filibuster is being used by the minority, with extraordinary success, to make the majority look foolish, ineffectual and incompetent.
Sorry, E.J., but you missed it there. But don't feel bad - it was an easy mistake to make. You just got the cause and the effect mixed up.
The minority is not using the filibuster with extraordinary success in order to make the majority look foolish, ineffectual, and incompetent. The minority is able to use the filibuster with extraordinary success because the majority is foolish, ineffectual, and incompetent.
Hope that helps.