It is amazing how many people still don’t get it. One of the benefits of living in a Corporatist State is that we have a well mannered Congress. Gone are the barbaric days of destructive debates and brutal canings.
Yesterday, I read an article that failed to appreciate this new Congressional mentality. (At least I think I read it. Yesterday isn’t too well seated in my meth-mashed memory bank.)
The author pointed out that Senate Republicans have consistently filibustered any bill that would subsidize alternative energy initiatives.
As the author pointed out, these days filibuster is used in a highly symbolic way. Traditionally, a filibuster meant that minority senators stood and talked 24/7 until their colleagues became sick and tired of listening to them read from the Washington DC phone book and let them have their way.
The Senate hasn’t seen a real filibuster in forty years.
What really happens is that if the Republicans don’t like a bill because it might do something good, they simply threaten to filibuster and the Democrats bow, pull on their forelocks and return to their desks like the well-behaved children that they are.
The author’s rather radical idea is that the next time an alternative energy bill comes up; Senate Democrats should call the Republican’s bluff and force them into a real filibuster. In an age of 24/7 news coverage the Republicans would come out looking like the Luddite monkeys that they are.
Ah, the innocence of it all!
There are two reasons this idea will never fly. In the forty years since the last real filibuster, Congress has increasingly absorbed the mentality of its corporate handlers. The good corporatist would never rock the boat by doing something as crass as forcing a real filibuster. This would leave the Democrats open to charges of obstructionism, a charge the Democrats equate with being accused of having the clap.
Second, when our corporations say “Shit!!”, Congress squats and asks, “What color?” Now the author correctly points out that alternative energy is a $13 billion a year industry. However, this is chump change to Big Oil, and Big Oil doesn’t want to see alternative energy subsidized until it’s sucked the last drop of oil out of the ground. So, the Republicans oblige Big Oil by threatening to filibuster the bill every time it comes up, and the Democrats oblige Big Oil by not forcing the issue.
It’s so much nicer this way than the bad old days when Congress actually debated issues.