What Is A Majority Anyway?
Okay, I think it’s a legitimate question, and I’m not the first one to ask it. Everyone has been so quick to jump on the Democrat bandwagon proclaiming a “sweep” of Congressional power in the House and Senate. But let’s get real. A Democrat majority was NOT elected last week in the upper house of congress. With 49 Republicans and 49 Democrats, most folks that have passed first grade math would call that a tie.
Without the two Independents, Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman, there is an equal number of Democrat and Republican representatives in the Senate. Now everybody knows that the two “independent” independents have said they will caucus with the Democrats. Of course they will – they are both liberals after all. But, if these guys want to be known as “independents” then why do they have to commit to either party? I’m certainly not one to split hairs or play on semantics, but the Democrat Party REJECTED Mr. Lieberman in the primary. Mr. Sanders has served 15 years in the House as an Independent, so I don’t see any Democrat shackles on him – liberal definitely, but not Democrat. So why do the Democrats get to call the shots in the Senate for the next two years?
The Constitution does not address the question of party power. This concept has evolved as American governance slipped further away from the Constitutional principles of a Representative Republic. If I am beating a dead horse here, it is with good reason. As I have said before, we will fail to preserve American Heritage if we continue to squander it on party power squabbles. The idea of Majority and Minority Party leadership only came into being in the second decade of the twentieth century. That is when party privilege overtook equal representation in the U.S. legislature. The problem with this system of government that we have allowed to evolve is the single most important contributing reason for government corruption.
As for the Independents – the only president ever elected as a true independent was George Washington. Every other has acquired the office through affiliation with a party of some sort. Parties come and parties go depending on how effective they are at maintaining a power structure in government procedure. The truth is that party politics is usually always in some sort of “meltdown” because politicians increasingly refuse to divorce the party concept.
Don’t get me wrong - I certainly can see the value in a two party system, as can most observers with any ability to think clearly about politics. The party becomes an identifier of sorts as to even an honest politician’s core beliefs. That is until that identifier gets lost in a power war instead of the code of ideals it is supposed to identify.
The bottom line in this dissertation is that for all the hoopla immediately following this election, for all the proclaiming of political power victory, the one glaring fact is this: the most powerful politician in the legislature today is, without a doubt, Joe Lieberman. He is holding all the cards in the game of party power, and he currently wears the definitive label of neither major party. He is a liberal, but he is a liberal with some principles. He is also very good at playing the power games of Washington. The electorate of Connecticut handed him a personal victory, which was made possible by Herculean bipartisan efforts to elect him. The long and short of it is that Joe Lieberman was kicked to the curb by the party of his choice and got a hand up from the other one.
Time will tell if Mr. Lieberman is as independent as he could be. Stranger things have happened in politics than a politician who decides to grow a spine in the eleventh hour, but we shouldn’t hold our breath. Meanwhile, I’ll ask my question again. Just what is a majority anyway?