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Monday, December 14, 2009

Broken System?

At the UK Guardian, Michael Tomasky says that the constitutional system is broken:

We Americans have always been proud of our constitution and the principle of separation of powers. The system has always ensured that the minority party has certain rights and that the executive branch cannot just muscle through Congress any old thing that it wants. Our founders wanted a system that moved slowly.

Do they ever have it. In fact, we now have a system that barely moves at all. Watching American politics through British eyes, you must be utterly mystified as to why Barack Obama hasn't gotten this healthcare bill passed yet. Many Americans are too. The instinctive reflex is to blame Obama. He must be doing something wrong. Maybe he is doing a thing or two wrong. But the main thing is that America's political system is broken.

Tomasky blames the Senate filibuster, which effectively requires a 60-vote majority for passage of most major bills, as well as GOP opposition to the Obama agenda.

The president, however, tells Oprah Winfrey that he has earned "a good solid B plus." Among other things, he cited the very large stimulus bill that he persuaded Congress to pass early in his administration. The White House website offers more detail on his legislative record.