For about 200 years, the Polish parliament, or Sejm, consisting of about 135 people, actually required that laws pass by unanimous vote within six weeks and also win the approval of the king. To make such unanimity even remotely possible, exhaustive discussions were necessary. Also, for most of this period, if a bill was vetoed in a particular session, then all of the legislation from the entire session could be nullified, because the body of law passed in that session was considered to be one unit.
By the late 1600s the Polish government was paralyzed. Finally in 1791 the veto rule was abolished. But it was too late: by the time the Poles fixed the problem, Russia, Prussia and Austria had taken advantage of the Polish chaos to rip Poland to pieces and annex its territory. Poland ceased to exist because, in two hundred years, its leaders couldn’t figure out how to build a flexible governing body.
The Poles set up this system out of stupidity and excessive optimism. It was one of the first national constitutions ever written, and they really thought it would work. Today’s Republicans in the Senate, however, are trying to destroy our legislative process deliberately – just because they don’t control it anymore.
They blocked dozens of perfectly good judges and other officials, blocked the stimulus which saved a million jobs, blocked jobs bills, blocked unemployment bills, blocked efforts to protect your health care, blocked student loans, blocked a plan to prevent crooked bankers from stealing your house or your money, blocked financial reform, blocked repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, blocked the border security bill they said they wanted, blocked energy reform while thousands of gallons of crude were washing up in Louisiana….all while trying to make up new rules, insisting that no legislation is legitimate unless it has GOP input and widespread GOP support. Because, ya know, the GOP represents the Real America. So unless a bill passes with 70-80-90 votes, it’s a big ol’ fraud. Straight from the Polish playbook – unanimous or bust!
Perhaps their aim is to destroy America entirely, like Poland 200 years ago, in a fit of pique because they don’t control the country anymore and they know the American people will never trust them again.
Apres nous, le deluge! If we can’t play with the dolly, nobody can! It’s mine, mine, mine!