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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

GOP blocks Senate debate on troop buildup

Republicans blocked a full-fledged Senate debate over Iraq on Monday, but Democrats vowed they still would find a way to force President Bush to change course in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. troops.

"We must heed the results of the November elections and the wishes of the American people," said Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid, D-Nev., spoke moments before the vote that sidetracked a nonbinding measure expressing disagreement with Bush's plan to deploy an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

There are a number of interesting aspects to this article. Only those who actually engage their brains when reading this will likely appreciate the various nuances.

First is the spin that AP puts on the story, characterizing the Republicans as obstructionist and pinning them with motives of blocking debate. In fact, it was the Democrats who chose to block the debate when they refused to consider the competing measure offered by the GOP. The Democrats are willing to debate as long as the terms of the argument guarantee only a favorable outcome for them.

Second is the illustration of the effectiveness of the GOP as an opposition party. It is painfully obvious that the GOP cannot operate as the ruling party, but when placed in a situation of opposition, they have been effective at forestalling the more egregious follies of the Democrats. Yes, the Democrats' resolution is complete folly. It is about as unconstitutional as it comes. This kind of outcome is reminiscent of better days when the Republicans effectively used the rules of the Congress to balance the runaway stupidity of the populist Democrats.

Third is the example of what is wrong with the current culture of democracy and the direction in which the left, both of Republican and Democrat stripe, is taking us. The Democrats are bleating about heeding the will of the voters, but the Senate's constitutional purpose was never to be a direct representative of the people or their will. The evil and degenerate seventeenth amendment has destroyed the careful balance of powers created by the founders in which the Senate was meant to be a carefully deliberative body and to represent the rights and wishes of the individual states. More than likely, if the seventeenth amendment was not in effect, the Senate would never take up the pointless chest-thumping of a "non-binding" resolution on the Iraq war.


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