If you’ve ever watched a motion picture that depicts the clash of armies in the old, old days -- at least before airborne bombing runs and “shock and awe” cruise missile-type all-out
assaults from the heavens -- you might’ve noticed that there comes a certain point in most battle scenes where nothing much can move in either direction.
For example, in the 2005 movie, “Kingdom of Heaven”, which imagines the struggle for Jerusalem (roughly between European Christians and Middle Eastern Muslims) during the Crusades in the 12th Century, the climactic act near the end shows the two sides coming together where a hole was blown in the wall that surrounded the city. Since there were no firearms back then, hundreds of men wielded swords, axes and shields, desperately trying to find enough space to swing them and inflict death upon the enemy.
If one man was killed there was another behind him. And another behind him. And another behind him… and so on, and so on, and so on. Logically speaking, who could ever prevail? The piles of bodies alone would prevent a resolution.
Similar stalemates were found in some of the battle portrayals in the movie “Braveheart”. Hand-to-hand combat was the norm when the participants weren’t being cut down by arrows or catapulted boulders or heavy horse cavalry charges. Neat stuff, right? But at the crucible of the hour, the two sides just fought with whatever leverage they could gain at close quarters.
The same thing appears to be happening in Washington these days, perhaps minus the bloodshed. With Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill each possessing nearly the same number of seats -- 218 (D) to 212 (R) in the House (with five vacancies), and 50-50 in the senate -- there’s little room to operate. Undeterred by the intimate nature of the contest, Democrat leaders are pushing through whatever they can manage -- but it’s a slow slog in the senate.
This is leading to tension between House liberals and their upper chamber colleagues. Unlike in the movie settings, however, the strife isn’t fun to watch. Jordain Carney reported at The Hill:
“Frustrations are building among congressional Democrats as the party’s priorities pile up in the Senate. Legislation granting statehood to Washington, D.C., approved by the House on Thursday, is just the latest big agenda item that is set to stall out on the other side of Capitol Hill.
“In the majority-run House, Democrats are passing the party’s big priorities along party lines. In the Senate, Republicans can block most legislation with the filibuster, putting the focus on approving President Biden's nominees and moving smaller bipartisan measures.
“Irritation between members of the same party over the differences between the chambers are a time-honored tradition, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying to those living through them.”
We want our way, gosh darn it! Nancy Pelosi exerts power over the House like a ringmaster brandishing a bull whip, and she’s used her slim majority to cram through big dreamy liberal pipedream projects without any input from Republicans. The tally is long, too. Carney listed the hopelessly disastrous privacy-squelching “election reform bill” (H.R. 1), a useless gun control bill (expanding background checks), amnesty for certain types of illegal aliens (described as “legal protections for some undocumented immigrants”) and their suck-up to the culture destruction crowd (“a measure strengthening the voting rights bill and LGBTQ protections”).
Even though these things have technically passed the House and could become the law of the land if they got through the senate and received senile Joe’s signature during his waking hours, they’re bogged down in Chucky Schumer-land like the Christians and Muslims grinding it out over a hundred foot expanse of crumbled wall in 12th century Jerusalem. (Here’s a terrific cinematic visual of what I’m talking about!) The only thing missing in today’s scrum is an Academy Award winning score and thousands of humans shouting at the top of their lungs!
As would be expected, House Democrats blame the filibuster tradition for the impasse and whisper under their breath that their senate pals should be man-enough (or woman-enough?) to vote to get rid of it. But even if the filibuster were lying on the chamber floor like a severed limb during an ancient battle, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that the biggest items -- like DC statehood, the bloated Green New Deal and expanding the Supreme Court -- would automatically skate through. Some Democrats are paying lip service to the notion of bipartisanship and it looks as though the (narrow) majority can’t just trample on the Republicans’ wishes in all cases.
No, a few liberals would get cold feet if pushed to the wall (pardon the pun).
If Democrats were truly interested in passing some of their agenda, they would break apart the issues into more palatable pieces so that perhaps they could get the requisite “bipartisan” support to move something along, one bite at a time. But liberals don’t do things like that. They’re akin to Freddie Mercury (of Queen) singing in 1989, “I want it all. I want it all. I want it all. And I want it NOW.” It’s a cool song and an attractive uncompromising concept, but it doesn’t work well in a representative body evenly divided along ideological lines.
Of course if Democrats were to sing, “I want amnesty, I want amnesty, I want amnesty. And I want it NOW” they’d lose their shirts in the next election. (Can I even say this anymore in our overly-sensitive #MeToo world?) Or how about, “I want to federalize elections, I want to federalize elections, I want to federalize elections. And I want it NOW!” This would soar like a lead balloon to people who follow the news and know what’s at stake.
Therefore, Democrats are pretty much stuck with the deadlock unless they scale back on the big government tyrannical takeover of the whole country. But they also feel pressure to get it done quickly, since who knows how long the American public will put up with being called racists and intolerant xenophobes (over the immigration issue)? Does the average person really support the greater Democrat push to defund the police?
And what about “climate change”? Most folks hear the drumbeat of “sky is falling” negative establishment media news and want the issue debated. But are Americans ready to sacrifice the country’s economy to do it? Clean burning natural gas is plentiful in this country. Want to risk freezing to death in the winter to supposedly reduce carbon emissions while China builds another hundred coal burning power plants?
I think not.
What the Democrats are doing these days kind of reminds me of how meals are prepared in an apartment occupied by four college guys. None of them knows how to cook, of course, and each of the tenants buys a ton of stuff that they’re not sure will ever get used. One invariably suggests grabbing a big bowl and tells each to dump the contents of his shopping trip into it. Employ a big mixing spoon and voilà, there’s dinner!
How else can anyone explain what the liberal party has done since seizing power? Conservatives warned against giving Democrats blanket authority to try and realize their wish-list. There’s no “unity” being mentioned anymore. It’s “just do it, baby.” They’re pushing at the wall and there’s no ground separating them any longer.
Unless Republicans suddenly surrender on all the matters they ran on, this isn’t going to happen. And the ones that do give up would face primary challenges and a watchful former President Trump to ensure visibility and accountability. Capitulating in the heart of battle is the mark of cowards. Who will blink first?
Democrat control of Congress
Green New Deal
COVID relief bill
Joe Biden agenda
China power plants