Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 4:46 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Party unity in two graphs

By Ezra Klein

This is really good stuff from CQ:

cqpartyunity.PNG

The increase in party unity helps explain why the filibuster has become so unmanageable: A minority senator's individual incentives are often to collaborate with the majority on legislation so they can add items and rules that are important to constituencies back home. A minority party's collective incentive is almost never to collaborate with the majority on legislation, because that makes the legislation popular and it makes the majority party look effective and it makes you less likely to win the next election. And you don't have to take my word for it:

“We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,” [Sen. Mitch] McConnell says. “Because we thought—correctly, I think—that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan. When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there’s a broad agreement that that’s the way forward.”

What's good about the filibuster in a Senate where everyone wants to get things done is that it provides a reason to bring a lot of people into the process. What's bad about the filibuster in a Senate where 41 or more members have a reason to want things to not get done is that it provides a reason for a lot of people to refuse to participate in the process. As I've said before, the filibuster is an impediment to bipartisanship, not a protector of it.

By Ezra Klein  | January 5, 2011; 4:46 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The welfare state for the middle class
Next: Reconciliation

Comments

Ezra, Ezra, Ezra...do you actually READ what you write before you send the bits and bytes to the intertubes?

"A minority party's collective incentive is almost never to collaborate with the majority on legislation, because that makes the legislation popular..."

So, "collaboration" makes legislation "popular?" Is THAT all it takes? No wonder you think the Constitution is confusing.

Posted by: karl-keller | January 5, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Ezra's point here is so obvious and clear, I have a hard time understanding how/why you don't get it. Of course unanimity (or near unanimity) makes legislation more popular. The sun also rises in the east and sets in the west.

Posted by: LarryMason1 | January 5, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

What else would you expect from somebody who, a la Ted Stevens, thinks the internet is a "series of tubes".

Posted by: kantcould | January 6, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

God you guys are dense. Look, think cause and effect. It's this little thing called "cause and effect." McCain Feingold was "collaborative" but if popular -- a dubious proposition -- was it popular BECAUSE of the collaboration? Legislator may collaborate because the THINK the legislation is or will be popular -- but the collaboration doesn't CAUSE collaboration. Since you don't seem to understand this basic level of logic, I suggest you go back to the schools you attended, assuming you attended them, and ask for a refund.

And, just so we're clear -- the intertubes thing was sarcasm.

Posted by: karl-keller | January 6, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Revised -- typed too fast.

God you guys are dense. It's this little thing called "cause and effect." McCain Feingold was "collaborative" but if popular -- a dubious proposition -- was it popular BECAUSE of the collaboration? Legislator may collaborate because they THINK the legislation is or will be popular -- but the collaboration doesn't CAUSE popularity. Since you don't seem to understand this basic level of logic, I suggest you go back to the schools you attended, assuming you attended them, and ask for a refund.

And, just so we're clear -- the intertubes thing was sarcasm.

Posted by: karl-keller | January 6, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The 1968 number for Democrats at 51% is interesting. It couldn't go any lower, or, by voting against themselves, the Democrats would be voting with themselves.

Posted by: dpurp | January 6, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company