Yes, There’s Something Worse Than Gridlock

Republicans in Congress are high-fiving each other over their hard-won, gimmick-filled, phony baloney FY 2016 budget resolution, which is said to show they are indeed a great big adult party that can govern the nation.

But now comes the part that’s real: actually implementing the resolution via appropriations bills and maybe a reconciliation bill. The former are subject to filibusters while the latter are not, but both require a presidential signature.

As that difficult process moves towards a dubious conclusion, I’ll probably chortle along with other progressives at Republican divisions on this and that, which could even conclude at the end of the fiscal year with another government shutdown crisis and all the intra-GOP Kabuki that would involve.

It is important, however, to keep in mind there is something worse than gridlock, and something worse than a Republican-controlled Congress that cannot get its act together to “govern.” It’s a smoothly operating Republican-controlled Congress working hand in glove with a Republican White House to “govern” according to the fiscal principles of various Ryan Budgets, the defense spending buildup insisted upon by Tom Cotton, the everybody’s-gotta-eat revenue throwaway of the Lee-Rubio budget, and a political impetus to do as much damage to the Obama legacy as possible before elections happen again. Compared to that sort of scenario, what we are witnessing right now is right out of the Age of Pericles.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.