No progress on ending the war. No advances on new energy policy. No movement on health care costs. Why is Congress gridlocked?
There has been much smart debate over this vexing question at Yearly Kos, the annual convention of the country's progressive bloggers, currently taking place in Chicago. Different factors prevail but a main one is the GOP's conscious strategy of tying up any potential progress that could come out of Congress as an amusing and effective new video starring Jason Alexander and made by Julie Bergman-Sender suggests.
The video premiered yesterday at the confab with the sponsorship of the Campaign for America's Future. Bergman-Sender is the innovative film producer and media strategist who was responsible for the great Will Ferrell ACT video from two years ago. This time around she's transformed Alexander into a Harry Potter-inspired character called Rovemort who stands at the center of the vast right-wing conspiracy. In her presentation at Yearly Kos Bergman-Sender talked about her hopes that the video will be useful as a tool to pre-empt the Republican contention that this Democratic Congress is a "do nothing" body.
The truth is, as she explained, that as far back as January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that he would insist on a 60-vote majority, rather than a simple 50-vote majority, for getting bills through the Senate, claiming that this is "the ordinary procedure." But it's not, as the Campaign for America's Future has painstakingly documented. The reality is that McConnell's abuse of Senate procedures to block the majority will on legislation is "unprecedented" according to CAF. Senate Republicans have launched 43 filibusters on popular reforms in the first seven months of this Congress. That's on pace to triple the previous record. McConnell and Senate Republicans like the filibuster now, but they felt differently when Democrats used it far more sparingly in the 109th Congress against President Bush's most extreme judicial nominees.
Watch the video, pass it on and then click here to tell the Senate obstructionists to stop blocking progress on Iraq, energy policy, health care and more. And check out Ari Melber's Nation reports as well as Garance Franke-Ruta and Ezra Klein at Tapped, among many others, for more on Yearly Kos.