THORSDAY THUNDERBOLT: Gridlock on the Rainbow Bridge

Mjolnir_the_Mighty_Hammer_of_ThorGridlock. During commuting hours it doth drive mortals mad, sitting and watching time pass and not getting anywhere. Now imagine a political body getting funded by your taxes spinning its figurative wheels in the same fashion. Also, for Surly Thor to paint it another way: government gridlock is a pissing contest plain and simple, but it doth break down into a few distinct chunks to scrutinize. Enough of the witty banter, shall we?
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Winning and losing: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” E’eryone doth remember the quote from Mitch McConnell (here on out to be known as Sadly McTurtlepants) in 2010. On the offset thou hast an elected official saying that things the President doth want to pass ought not come to fruition, no matter how good they may be for America, because—Asgard forbid—the people might like him and re-elect him. Now in the spirit of silencing those who doth say the quote is taken out of context Surly Thor presents the next line from Sadly McTurtlepants: “If President Obama does a Clintonian back-flip, if he’s willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him.”  Now there is a novel concept in Washington these days, the C word, compromise…
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Except for one small thing, President Obama hath repeatedly met Sadly halfway on several issues, and where hath it gotten him or you for that matter? Nowhere really. Tax breaks were extended for the rich, but where is the GOP on meeting halfway on lowering taxes to bring businesses back to the States United? To Sadly and the GOP it’s about winning a political victory instead of victory for the people they doth represent. The perception of power or at least the perception of winning hath become more important than actually fixing the multitude of problems. The problem comes from overplaying thy hand as Sadly hath done. Just ask him what sort of position he is in now being more concerned with winning that governing. Roughly two-thirds of Americans dislike the man, and his home state popularity fluctuates between roughly thirty-six to fifty percent. Not to mention his name oft pops up when referring to the fifteen percent approval rating of Congress. This at least says for the moment Americans are not o’erly thrilled with this sort of gridlock for gridlocks sake. ‘Tis a schoolyard attempt for dominance; you push enough people down for their lunch money, and eventually you don’t have to push. They just give you what you want for fear of the fall.
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Fillibuster:  the closest thing Surly Thor can use to describe the Filibuster is that ’tis oddly like your power play in hockey except in reverse. In the case of government the team with less players holds a tactical advantage and an almost unlimited ability to stall. A bill which simply needs a majority vote—meaning 51-49 passes—still somehow requires 60 people thou know more than needed to pass it, to even get it to the point of being voted upon. Now, back in the good ole days in order to enact this filibuster officials would actually have to stand up in session and talk for the stall to occur. Read the phone book, recite the works of Dostoevsky, or sing “The Song That Never Ends” (verily, thou art welcome for that stuck in thy head now), whatever thy pleasure, but thou had to own up to thy want to stall and actually put forth effort to make it happen. Now, however, all thou hast to do is get 40 of thy friends, and you can put anything thou dost not like to sleep with the fishes.
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Verily tis a bit sickening sure thy government tis based on the concept of making sure the minority tis not pressed upon by the majority, but tis a big difference between that and the minority holding up the works for their own end. The real kick to the codpiece here tis that Harry Reid a few months ago had the option to fix the filibuster by returning it to the ole-timey talking filibuster and possibly put to rest some of the gridlock, and what did he do, he backed off before pulling the trigger in a move that e’en left most Democrats wondering what side Reid was working for. He left the silent filibuster in place and struck a different deal with Sadly McTurtlepants, and what did he get for the troubles? More filibusters. Go figure, the more things doth change…
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Rifts between parties: in 2012 The National Journal did a study, and they determined that the most right-leaning Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska was still many steps to the left of the most left leaning Republican Senator, Susan Collins on Maine. So what one would perceive as a body with some sort of common ground, no matter how loud the wing-nuts on either side scream, is actually closer to the no mans land between trenched armies. Both camps hath circled the wagons and hunkered down for fear that reaching across the aisle will end up getting them blown to bits. Look at the last attempt at the bipartisan measure on background checks; the final vote came out 54 to 46 almost entirely on party lines: ok, five democrats against and four republicans for but in essence voting with thy camp.
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If you ask Odinson, the two most dangerous words to the average American art Career Politician, someone who will choose the thing that keeps them in a job o’er the right thing e’ery day of the week. They doth know they can play the partisan game and use the bully filibuster with almost impunity. Pay close attention to the elections in 2014, and if possible with a strong enough candidate get active. Sadly could find himself out on his shell for the way he hath spent the last few years, John Boehner hath a tough run in 2014 as the great orange face of gridlock, and his opponent Andrew Hounshell has many things going for him, including the fact that he’s not a career politician.
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As always the pleasure hath been mine.
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Surly Thor
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