Posts Tagged ‘Blue Dogs’

Naming Names (or: Selecting a Super Congress with the Superpower to Agree)

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Here’s my humble idea for how to increase the chance that the “Super Congress” will come to an agreement.


Will the Super Congress have the will and the power, gridlock to circumvent,

Or will it end up being just another powerless Clark Kent?


One of the problems with the “Super Congress” is that if the majority and minority Congressional leaders all appoint hardliners, the committee is almost sure to deadlock, triggering the automatic cuts that nobody (supposedly) wants.

How to solve this problem? The majority and minority leaders in each body, in addition to selecting members of their own choosing (i.e., base pleasers), should also be encouraged to chose a moderate from their ranks.

My regular readers know that I don’t particularly like Conservadems (although I do share some of their views), nor do I view there as being much left of the “moderate” wing of the Republican Party (although I do strongly believe that the GOP would benefit from its resurgence). Still, moderates from both sides of the aisle are useful in this kind of a bipartisan committee.

But how to operationalize that goal? Here’s my idea.

Each leader would give his/her counterpart a list of 5 names, from which that leader would have to chose at least one committee member. For example, McConnell’s list for Harry Reid might include Senators Mark Warner, Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin, Kent Conrad, and Gabby Giffords (after all, who doesn’t love Gabby). Reid would then chose at least one from that list, and the other three based on his own preferences. The same would apply to minority leaders McConnell and Pelosi and Speaker Boehner, which means that the “Super Congress” would include four (relative) moderates (two from each party).

Ideally, this approach would have been included in the debt deal bill, but unfortunately, I hadn’t thought of it yet. But it could still be implemented by asking each of the four leaders to pledge to do this.

If that happened, this one small change to the selection of members for the debt committee would greatly increase the chance that a deal could be reached. Which is what the leadership supposedly wants, right?


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