The recent behavior of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has given me an opportunity to learn a lot more about how our government works or, more appropriately, does not work.
We have outlasted the Constitution
It is pretty clear that we have outlasted the wonderful constitution that our founding father’s provided. Yes, it was a flawed start with slavery still permitted and women not having rights, but it had the ability to evolve and improve. That is over now. The Constitution provides for two Senators per state independent of population which means that Wyoming with less than 600,000 people has the same number of votes in the Senate as California with a population of almost 40 million. One in eight people in the USA live in California, by the way. The House of Representatives is supposed to be allocated on population but redistricting by Republican-controlled state governments has distorted that. The result is that the House of Representatives has 234 Republicans and 194 Democrats even though the Democrats won the popular vote in 2012 by more than two million votes.
Ted Cruz lights a fire and the Republicans burn
The recent crisis lead by Senator Ted Cruz has demonstrated a major flaw in our system of government. The house leader, currently John Boehner, decides what can be voted on. So even though there are enough Democratic votes in the house between the Democrats and some rational Republicans to resolve the government funding crises, they do not get a chance to vote on that. Instead the Speaker is only putting up for a vote things that his caucus approves for fear that they will vote him out of office. The result is a minority of the House holding the government ransom. The President is rightfully not giving in. If he does, that could spell the end for our democracy. A minority of one half of one of the three branches of Government could then dictate all Government policy.
Speaker über alles
The key thing to understand is this has all to do with the role of the Speaker. I was surprised to learn that the Speaker does not even have to be a member of the House. In fact, I am not sure the Speaker has be even be alive or a human but I need to research that more.
John Boehner will do anything to preserve his speakership it seems. He would rather go down in history as the worst Speaker ever (the house has done next to nothing since he has been their leader) than not be the Speaker. What makes someone be like this is beyond me. But, good news!
I have found the solution
The Democrats should commit to Boehner that they will vote for him if his leadership is challenged. Together with many Republicans in the house, he will easily win. He can stay in power by acting rational and tell the Tea Party folks that they will be drinking green tea from now on.
The second civil war
If something does not change soon, we may have a new civil war. President Obama will have to take action as commander and chief to protect our country from our own home grown terrorists. He has control of the military and the treasury. He can close down Congress. Congress does not have an army. So as long as the army accepts his leadership he will be in control. But eventually the army will take over.
Let’s hope this does not happen. Armies do not make for good governments. But neither do the Koch Brothers.