12 August 2010

The moribund Senate

'Filibusters, once rare, are now used to block the most routine procedures, ensuring minimal cross-pollination of ideas. The obstructionism and crankiness are laughable. Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, while vowing not to leave the chamber as a procedural move to hold up unemployment benefits for millions, complained about the personal hardship he suffered for his parliamentary stunt — missing a college basketball game on TV.

“Free smoothies for crazy people in the lobby,” was Jon Stewart’s suggestion to get Bunning out of the chambers, not an unreasonable idea for this gilded nursing home of people muttering into C-Span cameras [...]

Little has changed since Mark Twain offered this assessment: “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”'

- Timothy Egan, New York Times, 11 August 2010

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