The New Stalemate

More

In his latest column for National Journal, Ronald Brownstein makes the case that, with Republicans controlling 41 votes in the Senate, partisan culture and the looming threat of filibusters renders Congress almost useless when it comes to passing big legislative initiatives:

...Obama's larger difficulty is that he's pushing so much change at a time when filibuster threats are so common that it requires 60 Senate votes to pass almost everything -- and the minority party won't provide the president votes on almost anything. We are operating in what amounts to a parliamentary system without majority rule, a formula for futility.

There's little incentive, politically, for Republicans to work with the president or give him any votes at all: they will take Massachusetts as a sign that flat-out opposition to his policies (some would call it obstructionism) plays pretty well with the voting public.

Obama's playbook from here on out, Brownstein says, will likely include lowered sights, more executive actions, attempts at bipartisanship, and tying Republicans to corporate interests when they don't cooperate:

The White House is likely to respond to the roar of discontent from independent voters by focusing more on jobs, stressing long-term fiscal balance, and conspicuously pursuing bipartisan agreements wherever possible. Where they aren't, Obama will likely argue that Republicans are blocking reform to protect powerful corporate interests, such as banks. The increased Republican presence in the Senate also will encourage Obama to pack more of his priorities into reconciliation legislation that can't be filibustered. And like Clinton after the 1994 Republican landslide, Obama is likely to focus more on executive actions that allow him to advance his priorities without legislation.

Read the full column at National Journal.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In