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The President of the Senate

By Bruce Walker
web posted June 4, 2001

Senator Jeffords, the modern American Quisling, who felt compelled to give an utterly corrupt political party an unelected shot at power, has returned nominal organizational control of the Senate to the non-majority Democrats.

What a rogue's gallery are Senate Democrats today! Jean Carnahan acquired her seat by the resignation of the John Ashcroft, the duly re-elected Senator in November 2000, and she then proceeded to vote against that very man whose honor allowed her to be appointed to her Senate seat. Hillary! is a synonym for hubris. Noble Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, who ran in 1990 with a solemn pledge to seek only two terms, and who has now decided that he is too important to America not to seek six more years of power. Robert Torrecelli is facing prison. Robert Byrd, the former Klansman, who not too long ago had Daschle's job, speaks about "White Niggers."

These are not Democrats, but Ku Klux Krats. Conspicuously are good guys. No Sam Nunn, David Boren, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Mike Mansfield, Hubert Humphrey, or Harry Truman.
Ku Klux Krats seemed to have diminished every branch of federal elective office: House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski was convicted and imprisoned, not kicked out by the Ku Klux Krats. Slick's ethical descend into muck never seemed serious enough to Ku Klux Krats to do more than mildly reproach.

Not that the Ku Klux Krats "control" the Senate, what can the President and Republicans do? Legislation and appointments go through the Senate, and Daschle has the power to bottle up any legislation....or does he? The Constitution gives each House of Congress the right to determine its rules, and it gives the House of Representatives the right to choose its Speaker, but the President of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States whether anyone in the Senate wants him to be or not. By contrast, the Constitution says nothing about "Floor Leaders" or "Majority Whips" or anything like that.

This offers the President of the Senate a unique opportunity. Tom Daschle's putative power is that to keep the Senate from voting on any measure. But what would keep the President of the Senate from calling a vote on any issue? Republicans can make an argument that the President of any body "presides" over it.

We have just won a huge tax victory, and if we can simply freeze federal spending - without taking great political heat - then surpluses will grow, pay-offs to leeches on the bloated federal corpus will shrivel, and the pressure for more tax cuts will increase. So say that the House of Representatives passes a Federal Fiscal Year 2002 Budget that funds every single line item in the federal government at exactly the same level as last year, with the provision that Congress can increase any line item after this initial budget passes.

What kind of argument can intelligently be made against this? It will not only prevent a shutdown, but also insure that government "services" continue with no reduction at all, and Republicans can promise to stay in session until Doomsday after it passes to work with Democrats to find ways to add more money to good programs. In short, it reveals the preposterous nature of "increases" as "cuts."

Dick Cheney
Cheney

Two weeks after the House of Representatives passes this budget bill, President Cheney begins a roll call votes of Senators on this bill. What is the first Senator whose name is called going to do? Nothing, and be passed by? Complain and whine on national television? Vote "no" and so justify Senate President Cheney's power to call the vote, while at the same time making Senate Democrats - if the measure fails - clearly responsible for any federal shutdown? Vote "yes" and so not only justify the Senate President's power to call votes, but also had Republicans a huge victory?

America will be watching. This would be high drama, and Republicans should, if anything, make this more dramatic and confrontational. What sinister plot, what "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" will America see? The dignified President of the Senate formally asking members of a body over which he presides to cast their votes - pretty scary stuff! This would change our political system, and Republicans should present it as a revolution in the way Washington works, but Americans have shown that reforms like this are very popular.

When House Republicans early in 1995 passed procedural reforms, House Democrats were terrified of voting against those reforms and the reforms passed overwhelmingly. People are not going to worry much about what biased and phony professorial liberals say about how awful this all is to our Republic. They are, instead, going to see things happen and politicians accountable for their votes.

Indeed, House Republicans might take this opportunity to simply abolish the hoary, wasteful, and confusing process of legislative committees. One single House vote could do this, and that would shift even more pressure on the Senate to stop fiddling around with critical national problems for reasons no more noble than getting perks and power. Senate President Cheney could help this process by calling for votes on matters that have not gone through committees.

Would laws and appointments passed this way be overturned by the Supreme Court? No. The President of the United States, the House of Representatives, and the President of the Senate - the only three officers in the legislative process specifically mentioned in the Constitution - would all be saying this is valid.

Hardball? Yes, but the sort of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart hardball that Americans love. Watch Tom "Alan Alda" Daschle fume and fluster and stutter on the Sunday talk shows that party politics is what America is all about, while Dick Cheney sits calmly and explains that voters have a right to have their Senator vote on bills, and he will insure that this happens. The good guys would have common sense and rolling up our sleeves to solve problems openly on our side. The bad guys would have defense of the privileges of arrogant and isolated nabobs on their side. Who will win that argument? We will the court of public opinion, if the Ku Klux Krats are stupid enough to duke it out with us...and they probably are that dumb.

Bruce Walker is a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.




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