Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is threatening to block all bills that have not been cleared by his office, potentially freezing pending legislation until after the November midterms. The Senate is scheduled to adjourn Thursday until after the elections, so DeMint could disrupt Democrats' plans to pass stopgap spending bills needed to keep the government running after Sept. 30. But he could also stall even noncontroversial bills Republicans and Democrats alike were hoping to pass before Election Day. Can one senator really bring Congress to a halt?
Yes, but this makes a mockery of democracy: This petulant, "undemocratic" nonsense accomplishes nothing, says Paul Thornton in the Los Angeles Times, other than turning "Congress into a sort of legislative dictatorship," with DeMint in charge. By potentially even denying his own party leaders "the ability to negotiate with Democrats," DeMint has become the "poster child" for changing the Senate's absurd rule structure.
"Jim DeMint: The most undemocratic senator?"
Somebody has to rein in Democratic lame ducks: Democrats want to cram through a mountain of bills before voters show them the door, says Paul Chesser at The American Spectator. Republicans should be happy that Jim DeMint had the courage to say, "not so fast!" Now, nothing will sail through on unanimous consent unless DeMint is certain senators from both parties have read and approved the legislation. Ah, "the beauty of obstructionism."
"DeMint: Not so fast, ye lame ducks"
This takes obstructionism to a new level: Senators have long had this power, though they have "usually hesitated" to exercise it, says Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic. But Republicans have made "unprecedented use of the filibuster and deployment of anonymous holds to block" Obama's nominees and agenda. This amounts to "nothing short of a breakdown of the old norms" that both parties followed "to keep the government functioning." DeMint's grandstanding just shows he craves power, but doesn't "take governing seriously."
"Your government, held hostage"