We are living through the Californiafication of America--a country in which the combination of a determined minority and a procedural supermajority legislative requirement makes it impossible to rationally address public policy challenges. And thus the Democratic president and his allies in Congress are evaluated on the basis of extreme compromise measures--supplicating to dispassionate Wise Men like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman, buying Olympia Snowe a vacation home, working bills through 76 committees and countless "procedural" votes--rather than the substantive, policy achievements of bills that would merely require a simple majority to pass.
It is sheer good fortune that the Democrats had 59/60 Senate seats this cycle and thus were able to pass any stimulus at all, albeit the inadequate one they did. Think about it: With a robust 56 Senate Democratic seats, the stimulus would have failed--and otherwise, Galston/Brooks would be talking not about Obama’s "going too far," but, rather, about a "failed Obama presidency." And they would be wrong. What we would be witnessing--and are still witnessing--is a failed system of democratic governance. It’s something procedural liberals should be deeply concerned about and should remedy as quickly as possible.
- from Richard Yeselson's Op-Ed in The New Republic