On this eve of Federal Government Shutdown, gridlock is on my mind for a moment. So here’s a thought (that has probably been thunk before).
Currently members of the minority party in the U.S. House of Representatives are under pressure by their parties to vote strictly on party-lines. Yet this means that the members of the minority party essentially throw away their votes and miss a strategic opportunity to elect a more bi-partisan Speaker. Voters should insist that their representatives make Congress more bi-partisan by having all members vote for their *best* choice from the majority party.
This seems like a good recipe for choosing a more collaborative Speaker. House Speakers are way too powerful to be controlled by a single party. Getting the House to work together should be the Speaker’s job.
And as we sometimes remember, the Speaker is also 2nd in line for becoming President.
Of course, other democratic reforms are extremely important – maybe especially getting rid of legalized corruption by changing election campaign funding laws and practices.
Election campaign funding is, however, complex, and likely to be hard to come up with the right formula that can’t be skirted by new methods. So it will take take longer to enact.
Reforming the way top Congressional leaders are chosen (including committee chairpeople) is much easier for the public to understand and get behind. There may even be enough Senators and Representatives who are sick of gridlock and could get behind the idea as well.
Please Sign this Petition asking Democrats and Moderate Republicans to elect a bi-partisan Speaker of the House.
Related content – Washington Post, 10/1/2013: