Gridlock and Opportunity

The next session of Congress is either going to be complete gridlock, or an era of great bi-partisanship. I say this based on this chart from Nate Silver. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s Nate “the man who got all the numbers right when everybody else got them horribly wrong” Silver:


Let me point out the obvious. It takes 218 votes to get most things done in the House of Representatives. Neither the mainstream Republicans nor the Democrats (with or without the Blue Dog crowd) have those votes. The Tea Party has become a de-facto third party. To get anything done, there will have to be a coalition and/or a compromise: either between the two parties, or with the Tea Partiers. This should be obvious to both Mr. Boehner and Ms. Pelosi. The President already said it out loud. As Mr. Silver points out, on this and pretty much every bill in the next session, Mr. Boehner “will need to win the support of at least some liberal Democrats. And a bill that wins the support of some liberal Democrats will be an even harder sell to Mr. Boehner’s Republicans. For each vote that he picks up from the left, he could risk losing another from his right flank.”

Nobody knows if the glass is half-empty or half-full. Was Mr. Boehner’s ill-named “Plan B” a symptom of his increasing irrelevance, or an attempt to enter a Post- Norquist political world? Will the 113th Congress be a more sane and bi-partisan body, or a place where the right hand and the left hand quite literally don’t know what the other is doing? Let’s hope for sanity.

In Closing: military research saving lives on battlefields and eventually on American streets; why re-invent public education with things we aren’t even sure work when we can just crib off Massachusetts?; yeah, it turns out there were good guys with guns at Columbine and it didn’t help (at least the good guys didn’t injure more students); and maybe this deserves more thought.

4 thoughts on “Gridlock and Opportunity”

  1. Armed guards at Columbine weren’t successful… so let’s not try it at all eh? What other “firsts” weren’t successful, but with perserverence or merely more opportunities for application, WERE successful? Space flights? Medical trials? BLOGGING? (nudge,nudge)

    But let’s get back to the real issue: deranged individuals. Blaming an objet de force (gun, knife, automobile) evades the real reasons and prime movers of violence – sick or twisted human beings. And at the expense of the rights and priviledges of the law-abiding.

    Here in Seattle there is a woman who was being treated for violent ‘tendencies’ by the esteemed public mental health officials… who didn’t keep track of her despite the treat to others ( agun doesn’t do violence on it’s onw volition) Said woman walks into a random office and up to the receptionist… STABS her in the EYE and then procedes to filet her further… outlaw KNIVES? Is that the solution? Really?

    Wayne La Pierre says that many states do not report the names of the mentally ill to the NICS system which is supposed to screen out the mentally ill and prohibit their ability to purchase firearms (I assume that it would still be legal for them to purchase knives)

    So what you need is another (broken, or under used) law on the books, to prohibit evil inanimate objects and burden the law abiding?

    Gun-free zones and arms bans limit MY INALIENABLE right to self defense. (And, Yes, I do need military style weapons for that defense; who knows what threats may occur; anyone remember Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol pot or read about the former Honduran military figures operating as Mexican Drug cartels just a few miles from or even within our borders?)

    Violence has been a part of human nature since Cain slew able (a design flaw if ever there was) and proscriptions of objects will not remove that from the minds and abilities of sick or evil people. But outlawing the means of defense and availability to the innocent will only serve to make them more vulnerable to such sickness and evil.

  2. and apologies for the mis-spellings and grammar. Typing is a trail without the tip of my left index finger. It would also help if I took time to proof…mea culpa (I should be banned; call Diane Feinstein and get her to work on that ban too)

  3. “Gun control is a very minor, though not entirely irrelevant, part of the solution to the violence problem, just as guns are of only very minor significance as a cause of the problem. The U.S. has more violence than other nations for reasons unrelated to its extraordinarily high gun ownership. Fixating on guns seems to be, for many people, a fetish which allows them to ignore the more intransigent causes of American violence, including its dying cities, inequality, deteriorating family structure, and the all- pervasive economic and social consequences of a history of slavery and racism. And just as gun control serves this purpose for liberals, equally useless “get tough” proposals, like longer prison terms, mandatory sentencing, and more use of the death penalty serve the purpose for conservatives. All parties to the crime debate would do well to give more concentrated attention to more difficult, but far more relevant, issues like how to generate more good-paying jobs for the underclass which is at the heart of the violence problem.”

    Guns and violence: A summary of the Field
    Gary Kleck
    School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
    Florida State UniversityTallahassee,
    Florida 32312
    Prepared for delivery at the 1991 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association,
    The Washington Hilton,
    August 29 through September 1, 1991.
    Copyright by the American Political Science Association.

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