This past week Illinois State Representative Mike Bost lost it. After Democrats used a 1995 rule to block amendments and debate on a bill regarding changes to the states pension system, Bost started yelling and throwing papers around because, he said, “I’m sick of it.” … “Total power in one person’s hands—not the American way!” … “Let my people go! They sent me here to vote for them … but I’m trapped. I’m trapped by rules that have been forced down our throats.”
I don’t know much about Mike Bost or his politics, but I can say to some extent I agree with his complaints. Total power in one person’s hands historically is not the American way. What I find perplexing is that this only seems to be a concern because his party is in the minority. For instance, I haven’t heard too many Michigan Republicans complain about the Emergency Financial Manager law that gives one person the power to “sell assets like the water department, undo union contracts, abrogate collective bargaining agreements without discussion, and dissolve local governments.”
Similarly Republicans don’t seem very concerned about trapping Democrats with rules like the filibuster and holds that have led to the least productive Congress in history and the lowest percentage of judicial confirmations on record.
The real problem here is not that politicians are complete hypocrites. Everyone knows this. No, the problem is that the electorate blindly defends their party’s hypocrisies while simultaneously blindly attacking those on the other side.
Mike Bost’s statements may have been true in the past, since we used to live in a country where these political tactics were not the American way, but the American people no longer hold their party accountable for their actions. Instead we live in a time where the phrase “bipartisanship becomes Democrats joining Republicans” is an applause line.