Gridlock groove

By AL DIAMON  |  October 31, 2012

The GOP hadn't been in charge of any part of the Legislature in so long, it couldn't recall how to do it. Its dazed leadership decided the best way to solidify their gains was to stop everybody else from doing anything. It didn't matter whose idea it was — King's (last seen, I think, driving off in an RV to see America) or the Dems' (last seen, I think, nominating Libby Mitchell and Cynthia Dill to run for major office) — Republicans were against it.

Nothing got done.

As noted earlier, there's much to be said for that approach in terms of spectator sport and taking a laissez-faire approach to solving the state's problems. But after two years of incessant sniping, backbiting, eye gouging, and groin pummeling, the public turned its back on bipartisanship and returned legislative control to the Democrats.

The lesson: It's not enough to be against what the other guys are trying to do, no matter how stupid that might be. You have to stand for something, too.

If a similar scenario develops after this election, the GOP should recover quickly from its whacking at the polls and stand a reasonable chance of rebounding in 2014. The Democrats, showing no signs of having learned from Republican mistakes in '94, are prepared to block all motion in any direction except backwards. They believe they'll be in full command of the Legislature in '14 and dealing with a governor who doesn't have to be restrained with tranquillizer darts.

As history has shown, that strategy can backfire.

But until it does, make some popcorn, crack open a cold one, and settle in for two years of unsportsmanlike conduct and almost no scoring.

I ended this column with sports metaphors. Lame. Blow the whistle on my flagrant foul by emailing  aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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