Saturday, February 20, 2010

A reflection on U S Senate rules in a time of political disillusionment America

A friend wrote to me, expressing disillusionment about the state of US political discourse at the national level. Singapore provides an interesting vantage point for viewing one’s one society - which is by no means to say that everything about politics in Singapore is ‘good’ and everything above US politics is ‘bad.’ Personally, I do think that the degree to which members of Congress sell their souls for campaign contributions, despite being recently affirmed by the Supreme Court,is ‘bad.’ Here the response I wrote to my friend.

I follow the US news occasionally but it is a bit depressing at the moment. On a talk show to which I listen, The Diane Ream Show (available as a podcast - that’s the way I listen), there was a discussion of Senator Richard Shelby’s ‘hold’ on about 70 government appointments because of some budget dispute. The commentator observed: “you have to appreciate that these arcane Senate rules are established solely to benefit incumbent Senators. It it is a self perpetuating oligarchy.”

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