Sunday, September 11, 2011

Republicans Responsible For Gridlock in Washington

Pundits love to apportion blame for partisan hostility equally to both sides. But as The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky shows, the GOP deserves the lion’s share of the blame.  You'll see, both sides do do it. It just so happens that Republicans opposes the major proposals of  President Obama seven times more intensely than the Democrats opposed President Bush's major proposals.  Here's the numbers based on support or lack of support for the four signature pieces of legislation of both President Obama and former President Bush. The four Bush bills Tomasky chose: the first tax cut; No Child Left Behind; the Iraq War vote; and the 2003 Medicare prescription-drug bill. The four Obama bills: the stimulus; the health-care vote; the Dodd-Frank financial reform; and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal.

1. First Bush Tax Cut: Here, not much Democratic support—just three of 43 voting senators, and 13 of 210 voting House members; 7 and 6.2 percent, respectively (percentages in all cases reflect the percentage of actual voting members, because some people missed some votes).
2. No Child Left Behind (NCLB): Democrats rallied to Bush here, supporting him, interestingly, by larger margins than even the Republicans did. Forty-seven of 50 Senate Democrats and 197 of 210 House Democrats backed NCLB; 94 percent in both cases.
3. Iraq War Vote: More than half, 28 of 50, Democrats backed Bush here, while 82 of 208 House Democrats voted yes. That’s 58 and 39 percent.
4. The Medicare Bill: Democratic support wasn’t very high, but was higher than I’d remembered, with 11 of 48 senators backing the bill and 16 of 203 House members in support; 23 and 7.9 percent.

Now let’s look at the other side of the ledger:
5. The Stimulus: Three of 41 GOP senators backed it, and zero of 177 House members, for support levels of 7.3 and 0 percent.
6. Health Care: Zero of 39 senators and one of 177 House members; 0 and 0.6 percent.
7. Dodd-Frank: A little better! Three of 40 senators and three of 178 House members, equaling 7.5 and 1.7 percent.
8. DADT Repeal: Mon Dieu, a few votes! Eight of 39 senators and 15 of 179 House members, or 20.5 and 8.4 percent.

Here’s what theses numbers tell us: levels of partisanship are not even remotely close.  

Here’s how it all adds up:
Average Democratic Senate support for Bush: 45.5 percent.
Average Democratic House support for Bush: 36.8 percent.
Average combined Democratic support for Bush: 41.1 percent.
Average Republican Senate support for Obama: 8.8 percent.
Average Republican House support for Obama: 2.7 percent.
Average combined Republican support for Obama: 5.75 percent.
Well now.   Republicans are responsible for the gridlock in Washington that in a recent poll earned Congress a 13% approval rating.  I just want to know who were the 13% that approved of Congressional performance.                

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