We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This is a 4 year old story discussing why reconciliation is "good", in particular as it applied to the ACA.
Now go to MoveOn.org and take a look at their scare tactics. MoveOn is trying to frighten Democrats and fence sitting voters into a misguided belief the Republicans will misuse reconciliation because reconciliation is "bad".
It is a certainty, as Lord Acton once said, that power corrupts. In many cases of political activity, that corruption isn't just apparent in bribes, graft or other rackets that take place. It's visibly evident in the hypocrisy of power. In reality, reconciliation is probably bad every time it is used. I say this because it was mainly designed to overcome filibusters. Filibusters exist in order to extend debate on contentious issues on which neither side can claim a clear and overwhelming majority agreement (read as "bipartisan" - a term I despise since I view it as a means to push a slow growing Progressive agenda, but which many people think is a "good").
Basically, both parties have plans and don't want the other side getting in the way. Each party has an agenda which is "the other party is bad and will only use these tools that I use to hurt you."
Fact remains, both parties use these tools to hurt us. While MoveOn's hypocrisy is on full display, the Republicans have hidden theirs slyly. Few remember their fight with Harry Reid, slightly over a year ago. Ancient history, to most folks.
If a system's success depends on having the 'right people' in place, there's probably something wrong with the system. As our republic is aging, it seems there is a distinct and overwhelming stench coming from Washington because both parties are putting people in place who are perceived to be the 'right people'. Yet things just keep getting worse.
Over a hundred years since the "Tool" of direct election of Senators replaced the direct intent of the Framers. I don't think that one is being changed back anytime soon. But did the 17th Amendment prove to be a constructive change or not? Since the original purpose of Senators going to Washington being elected by state legislatures was to ensure a anchor to their home state and a stronger loyalty to the same, this had the effect of reducing the power of a national political party to put together a national coalition with common goals. Even goals that in some cases opposed the interests of a Senators home state. Hence today, Coal State Senators voting for Barack Obama's anti-coal agenda.
In the name of "Democracy" and waving the flags of the "Common Man", step by step the United States (about due for a name change there, don't you think?) has been reduced to a battlefield of the forces of Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
To borrow from Will, "Neither a Republican or a Democrat be". Is it possible to rule a nation this large without political parties? I'd sure like to try.
In Hoboken, at least long ago when I lived there, you were NOT allowed to run on a party platform. Candidates could form 'temporary parties' and run on a platform with a slate of other candidates.
Were they all Dems and all Reps? Sometimes, in fact many times they were. But not always. Sometimes, many were just very good friends who had different allegiances but shared a particular goal (better roads, better schools, etc.).
I think we should eliminate party affiliations and force candidates to run on their own merits.
I also think Senators should be elected via the Single Transferable Vote method - if not entirely giving the nomination process back to the states themselves.
It is false, Lord Acton not withstanding, that "Power corrupts". The causality runs the other way.
Corrupt people are attracted to power, and will do anything to get it. Honorable and decent people usually won't descend to such depths, and as a result, more corrupt people than honorable people are elected. The more corrupt the legislature and the government in general becomes, the easier it is for corrupt people to force honorable people out.
So as the government becomes more corrupt, it's easier to attract more corrupt people - or even just corruptABLE people - to run for office, or seek government jobs, or support other corrupt government officials.
Good people are forced out of government, and the scum rises to the top.
I think even honorable and decent people get corrupted by the nature of power and government and the others it attracts.
I believe Jimmy Carter was an honorable and decent man, and by the end of his 4 years he was thoroughly corrupted. Reagan was perhaps less honorable and decent, but he was certainly corrupted.
I agree that power attracts corrupt people. I agree they drive decent people out. But I also believe power corrupts. I've had many good friends move up in the business world. As they increased in power and position, their level of corruption increased as well. In business, it's a different kind of thing. Corruption is really things like cover your ass, protect your turf, throw someone lower on the totem pole under the bus, etc. But I've seen all these people corrupted in some way. If they weren't, they were jettisoned by someone else who was more corrupt and able to move up faster.
This isn't to say it's ALWAYS that way. Some decent people in business do move up the ladder. Usually in their own business, or by finding a way to get rid of the worst offenders around them. But it's always temporary. The best guy I know who still runs his organization within a large corporation and has a high level of autonomy still has had to bring in a few people who were less decent. He brings them in to do dirty work he's incapable of doing, and then eventually has to jettison them too. He's had a revolving door of these dirtbags, but he's aware of it. His point is "you can't do business without getting some dirt on your hands, so I let them do the dirt and before they pile it too high, I get rid of them."
I think it's just worse in government. Much, much worse.