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The Grand Obstructionist Party

Looking over this week’s headlines thus far, a trend emerges — Republican blocked a habeas corpus bill from coming to a vote. They also blocked a

Looking over this week’s headlines thus far, a trend emerges — Republican blocked a habeas corpus bill from coming to a vote. They also blocked a bill to give DC residents a voice in Congress from coming to a vote. Republican are looking at Jim Webb’s amendment to give troops equal time off for the time they spend in combat and they want to block it from coming to a vote. The Senate Democratic leadership is working on a funding bill for Iraq that includes a withdrawal timeline, which Republicans will block from coming to a vote.

And that’s just from news items yesterday. Kevin Drum highlights the problem we’ve been watching all year.

Republicans aren’t just obstructing legislation at normal rates. They’re obstructing legislation at three times the usual rate. They’re absolutely desperate to keep this stuff off the president’s desk, where the only choice is to either sign it or else take the blame for a high-profile veto.

As things stand, though, Republicans will largely avoid blame for their tactics. After all, the first story linked above says only that the DC bill “came up short in the Senate” and the second one that the habeas bill “fell short in the Senate.” You have to read with a gimlet eye to figure out how the vote actually broke down, and casual readers will come away thinking that the bills failed because of some kind of generic Washington gridlock, not GOP obstructionism. […]

Would it really be so hard for reporters to make it clear exactly who’s responsible for blocking these bills?

Good question. The only resolution to GOP obstructionism is public outrage, which might encourage the GOP to allow the Senate to start voting on bills again, and which might happen if reporters gave it to us straight.

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