Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Thin Ice
The new House majority has been having it's way.

Accusations that the Dems are continuing some of the tactics pioneered by Republicans in marginalizing the miniority party are starting to arise:
"They're on thin ice now," Norman J. Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said of the new Democratic leaders. "I'm getting uneasy about this lack of amendments. . . . They're getting to the point where you're past the initial period where you've got an excuse to operate with a firm hand. It's going to be increasingly difficult to rationalize."
First, I think it's important to note that no matter what, the minority party will always be ... well ... in the minority. That carries with it a large degree of marginalization with it.

But given that, if the Dems are continuing a trend started by the recent Republican majority and counter to traditional House rules, that's not a good thing. Ornstein is a pretty good observer of such phenomena, so I'll take him at his word that the Dems are getting on thin ice.

The fact that the Dems might continue the abuse is proof that it's hard to go back. When power is expanded (like in the Presidency?) the genie gets out of the bottle. It's also why it's important for legal procedures to run their course in limiting power. Without a judicial curb, it will be very difficult for Pelosi to altruistically roll back the new precedents set by the Republicans. That doesn't mean she shouldn't. It just means that when it's really really really important legislation, those inappropriate actions are "on the table" for Pelosi to utilize.