I remain intrigued by the prospects for the 2014 elections in the U.S. Congress. Republicans are getting the brunt of the blame for a "do nothing" 113th Congress that is particularly good at doing nothing.
The link above is an NPR interview with New York Times congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman, who had this to say about how much Congress had accomplished leading up to its August recess:
"Their rate of passing laws is about half the 112th Congress' rate, and the 112th racked up fewer laws than any Congress since World War II. So we are really on pace to have one of the least productive, if not the least productive, Congresses in history."
By the measure of congresspeople on the far right, and presumably the people who elected them, this isn't a bad thing. Weisman again:
"This is just a House of Representatives made up of quite a few people — quite a few Republicans — who just don't believe that they were sent to Washington to pass laws."
Reporter Weisman has a definite opinion of this tea party position:
"That is somewhat contradictory, however, because you can be a conservative and pass laws as well. There are conservative laws. Frankly, this is just a dysfunctional Congress."
Weisman goes on to say there is a real risk that the Republicans will shut down government at the end of next month or block the raising of the debt ceiling in November, as some sort of rebellion against Obamacare.
One might surmise Republicans will end up paying a price for their obstructionism in the 2014 elections. Not so, says Bloomberg columnist Albert Hunt.
He reports that, despite all the animus leveled against the Republican Party today, the GOP could add to its lead in the House of Representatives and perhaps even take over the Senate.
Hunt attributes this to congressional redistricting after 2010 that favored Republicans, a generally older and whiter electorate in non-presidential election years, and the fact that many more of the Senate races that are close are in red states.
It's worthy to note that the mostly Republican commenters at the top of the story comments bash Hunt for overlooking the significant damage Obamacare is doing to the popularity of Democrats as well as their chances in 2014.
"This Obamacare mess was passed without a single GOP vote, and every single Dem that voted for it is going to have to defend it a year from now," DaGeek wrote in the comments. "Good luck with that."