The Oregon state senate, majority Democrat, needs a quorum to pass a cap-and-trade bill addressing climate change. Rather than cede the issue, state Republicans have elected not to show up for the vote, denying Democrats their quorum. Because to show up and allow a majority to pass a bill would be just a little too close to governance. Or, as Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger, Jr. puts it:
Pesky when you're bullied by the majority party into allowing a bill to pass because you're not the majority; I feel you, dog, I feel you.
From gutless coward-in-hiding Sen. Tim Knopp in this morning's interview with NPR: "...in order to do business, you need to be working in a bipartisan way with your colleagues." Never mind that cap and trade was originally championed by the Right as a market-based approach to climate change. Never mind that just two years ago, top Republicans were promoting the carbon tax as an appetizing alternative to top-down environmental regulation. Presumably, what Republicans mean by bipartisan at this point is "our way or the highway."
I don't know why this specific story gets me as worked up as it does. I haven't lived in Oregon for over a decade. As a current Kentucky resident, I would cream jeans at the prospect of a Democratic majority having to put up with minority Republican hijinx. I think ultimately, it comes down to: Republicans on local, state and national levels have relied on incrementalism to slowly boil the frog of democracy. Obstructionism, demagoguery, cronyism, kleptocratics; "let the people decide," as my state senator says, until the people decide against Republican principle, and then hide out until it blows over with no change to status quo. We've gotten too used to this. These rats are chewing away at our nation's moral fabric, increasingly at the very literal fabric of our infrastructure. And everybody's looking at the individual holes saying "huh, seems like that hole shouldn't be there," but ignoring the fact that the negative space is fast overtaking.