Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Insitutions, Partisan Politics and Oversight

Going back to the earliest days of this blog, I have occasionally gotten into arguments with people about the supposedly spinelessness of the Democratic party. It is something of a cliche now to refer to the Democrats as spineless. A major reason given for this assertion is their impotence with regard to Congressional oversight roles during the Bush administrations many inept failures.

However, I've consistently argued that the Democrats were at a serious institutional disadvantage because they were in the minority. They could not determine the schedule or agenda of hearings. They could not summon executive branch officials to testify without GOP cooperation and even cooperation from the White House. These limits pretty much prevented any sort of effective oversight because the Republicans would not cooperate in their own political embarrassment.

Things are different now. The Democrats have majorities in both houses. The current unfolding scandal of the US Attorney firings is about to present us with an example of what the Democrats will do when those institutional limitations are gone. They have already proved much more aggressive. Information about high level involvement in the firings is coming out very quickly in response to Congressional investigation. Hearings are about to be called that could reveal direct, political involvement in the firings of Karl Rove and even Bush himself.

This sort of thing is why institutions and elections matter. We are about to watch democracy reassert itself! Enjoy!

1 comment:

Dustin said...

I'm of the opinion that the Democrats don't have a unified voice as opposed to being "spineless". I believe that the last 8 years, the most vocal Democrats haven't had a clear message and the rest of the Union went with the group who kept pounding the same message over and over.....now that the Democrats have both Houses, yes as you've mentioned, they are getting aggressive and shedding this "spineless" label people have given them....