The Argument for a <em>Free</em> Congress ...

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Sep 30, 2008 4:57 PM
JERRY: Hey, do you know what the Whip does?

KRAMER: What whip?

JERRY: The Whip. In the Senate, in the House.

KRAMER: Well, you know in the old days, when the senators didn't vote the way that the party leaders wanted 'em to... they whipped them.

... A lot is being written and talked about today regarding the failure of Bush, Pelosi, and Boehner to lead

This is ironic, inasmuch as many of the same people who are criticizing the lack of party discipline today have in the past excoriated Republican leaders for heavy-handed internecine tactics -- and for genuflecting to Bush.

So here are a few a questions to consider...
 
When it comes to how Congress is to behave, do we want to go back to the days when Republicans were "good soldiers" who took marching orders from House Leadership and the president?  Or do we want a free Congress who exercises their Constitutional independence from the Executive Branch?  Lastly, do we want to go back to having arm-twisting party leaders tell Members that if they vote wrong on a bill, they are "off the Appropriations Committee!" -- or whatever? 

Lastly, should we put a premium on simply getting bills passed?  If so, Lyndon Johnson was pretty darn effective at that, too ...