I didn't have time to blog yesterday, so I missed these insightful comments from the Honorable Senator Clinton.

"When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run - it has been run like a plantation," she said. "You know what I'm talking about."
I really don't. Other than that she wished to invoke some extremely negative imagery, and stoke racial resentment by choosing images associated with slavery, I can't imagine what the analogy is supposed to be. At least when people compare Bush to a Nazi, they can point to the Reichstag fire and compare it to 9/11. It's a false comparison, but at least there's something for the conspiracy theorist to hang his hat on.

The New York Times version offers the next line in her quote, which clarifies the thrust of her argument without clarifying what the analogy is supposed to be:
"It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary point of view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument."
According to the clerk of the House, there were more than six hundred roll call votes in the last session. Glancing through a few of the pages recording them, I can see that a number of these votes passed, and a number failed. The existence of failed votes suggests that the majority, though it is not necessarily passing laws it disagrees with (why should it?) is letting such legislation come to a vote on a regular basis.

If you know anything at all about Congress, you know that no important vote occurs without endless debate, starting pre-committee and carrying on to the final vote. So, I would suggest that the Honorable Clinton is wrong to say that there is no chance to make an argumen, or to present legislation.

It is true, no doubt, that it's difficult to pass legislation when you are in the minority in both houses of Congress. That's rather different from being on a plantation, however, where there is no such thing as a vote at all. Indeed, even if you were not a slave but a cousin or child of the owners, there's no reason you should expect to get a vote in how things were run.

There is no obvious insight into the problem of being a minority party in a democratic republic that arises from this comparison. As such, I suppose it was only an expression of resentment and an attempt to stoke the same in the hearts of others. Yet, if your major means of influencing the system is through argument -- because you are a minority party, you have to persuade others to join your position -- this is a poor way to carry on with it. A little more thought, and a lot less bomb-throwing, would go a long way to easing the problem Sen. Clinton faces.

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