JIM CREES: Dealing with continuing gridlock

As the continuing mid-term election cycle grinds slowly but ever so surely away, participants in the process — from both parties — are enthusiastically blaming each other for the “gridlock” that has typified Washington of late, (and Lansing, for that matter.).



1. A traffic jam in which a grid of intersecting streets is so completely congested that no vehicular movement is possible.

2 A situation resembling gridlock (as in congestion or lack of movement) e.g. political gridlock.

In distant past columns, and once again in this, I have offered a suggestion for resolving at least some of the gridlock that is plugging up the system in our national and state capitals.

Downsize the government.

Substantially. Physically.

Get rid of archaic and useless governmental functions — the Senate for example. (And the Lieutenant Governor and Surgeon General as well.)

This isn’t, by-the-way, just another crazy Jim Crees idea.

It has been suggested by far better than I. Many, many, many academics and political scientists, (including former politicians), have suggested the nation could well do without the extra added encumbrance of a Senate.

And this from both the Right and the Left.

Getting rid of the Senate would simply ease the gridlock in Washington and Lansing and effectively put the people — the voters — back in control of the U.S. government.

It’s simple. If the party of the sitting president is also the party enjoying a majority in the House, the president becomes the leader of a unified operation — as determined by the voters.

If the president and his party are not doing the job, then the House would go to the opposing party and the president would be in a leadership bind - forced to work with the new majority party in order to get things done.

There would not be the extra Senatorial wrench tossed into the works with every shift of governmental control.

No more stand-offs of power, (or at least a lot fewer.) There would be — of necessity — lot more compromise and cooperation.

It is simple, really. If folks throughout the nation vote Republican for the president and the House, then that same president and the House majority would be fulfilling the will of the people without a Democratic Senate kiboshing the leadership team at every turn.

And vice versa, obviously.

Look. Historically the Senate was created largely as the rich landowners’ branch of government — balancing and largely controlling the more working class, rough and ready, grubby and scruffy House of Representatives.

Government then involved something of a “us” against “them atmosphere — and not a lot has changed with the passage of time.

The Senate was supposed to supply a “salutary check” on the House if it proved to be incapable of doing the job correctly.Think about it. The system of checks and balances was set up to offer some control over the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Not one legislative branch and the other.

There is no effective check or balance with two legislative branches. There is simply gridlock.

Some say the Senate was a form of safeguard saving the people from foul-ups brought about by ill-considered legislation.

That simply isn’t the case today.

The United States simply has two branches of legislative government which carry out the same function, but actually end up stymieing each other more often that not and create a situation of non-legislation rather than positive action. Gridlock.

It’s simple math.

One president.

One judiciary,

And ONE legislative body.

What’s the problem?

Ask yourself this? In this day and age — with all the strident calls to shrink government — do we really need two entirely separate bodies of legislature doing the exact the same job, and basically sticking administrative spokes in the wheels of the other groups’ functioning - simply because they can?

Do we need the expense, (millions, Millions, and MILLIONS of dollars), of a fully decked out Senate with all of the support mechanism in place, when the House is perfectly able to do the same job on its own?

The Senate is a vestigial appendage of the Federal government. There is no reason for it to exist today.

So, as the mid-term election cycle rolls on, if we’re are really serious about dealing with gridlock in this and future administrations — both Republican and Democrat — we could well begin with an effective elimination of the Senate.

I’m just saying.