Is that rumble the sound of ice breaking up in Washington?

(AP)

Many strange things are afoot up in Washington, the latest being U.S. Rep. John Lewis leading his fellow House Democrats in a sit-in of the House chambers Wednesday night and into Thursday, protesting Republican refusal to allow votes on rather mild gun-control measures.

Such a takeover is unprecedented, but what’s really interesting is the issue that precipitated it. For years, a lot of Democrats cowered in fear at the prospect of having to take a vote on gun-control bills, considering it a no-win proposition. Now they’re going to extraordinary measures — including a filibuster last week in the Senate — to demand the right to be heard on such issues, while Republicans are clearly on the defensive.

Yes, part of that’s attributable to the recent mass shooting in Orlando, as well as the recognition that in the week after that shooting — a week much like any other in this country — another 500 Americans were killed or wounded with firearms. Gun-safety advocates have long had the polling numbers on their side — in a new Morning Consult poll, 68 percent of Americans and 57 percent of Republicans said they would support banning assault weapons — but they failed because they could never match the emotional intensity of the NRA and others opposed to such regulations.

That might now be changing.

However, I suspect that what we’re seeing goes well beyond the gun-control issue. When Democrats look at their opposition these days, they see a badly divided party led by the likes of Donald Trump, with some Republicans still muttering about a contested convention in Cleveland. They see Hillary Clinton raising tens of millions of dollars for the general election campaign and putting campaign staff in every one of the 50 states, eying red-state opportunities such as Georgia and Arizona. On the other side they see Trump with a smaller campaign chest than many House members, still struggling to hire staff even in the swing states.

They look to the crucial state of Florida, where Sen. Marco Rubio announced his re-election bid this week with an explicit repudiation of his own party’s nominee. They see other Republican politicians fearful of even uttering the name of their presidential nominee, and Wall Street and corporate America fleeing from any association with the GOP.  They watch the job approval ratings for President Obama — a man the Republicans have slimed for years as little short of a traitor — rising to levels exceeding those of Ronald Reagan at the same point in his presidency, and they note that just 30 percent of voters approve of the GOP’s performance. (Their own job-approval rating averages 45 percent.)

They know that the social issues that Republicans long used to their advantage have now become big burdens for the GOP, and that Trump’s bigoted rhetoric has set back the Republican outreach to minority voters for a generation or more. They see that income inequality, an issue that Republicans used to haughtily dismiss as “the politics of envy,” is now high on the agenda for both parties, and they can’t help but observe that the primary GOP solution remains more tax cuts for the wealthy, an approach not likely to find traction. The surprising and message-driven success of Bernie Sanders and the popularity of Elizabeth Warren have also not gone unnoticed.

Traditionally, a sit-in is the tactic of the weak and powerless, attempting to turn that weakness into a form of strength. I don’t think that’s the case this time.

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This time, it’s an expression of growing confidence and of a belief that the ice that has long bound the American political system might finally be breaking.  It’s an indication that Democrats have lost their fear of the Republicans, and that for the moment at least, the Republicans are too confused and divided to do much about it.

Reader Comments 0

1401 comments
Calvin Davis
Calvin Davis

The time for the voters of America to clean house. Term Limits for congress is an absolute must. Term limits should be enacted in both houses of congress. We,the voters, are getting a bunch of bull---t and it has the country in a distorted environment The American voters send these CLOWNS to Washington to represent their interests and we, the voters, are getting nothing positive. IT'S TIME FOR A SHAKE-UP.

Jerry Watkins
Jerry Watkins

Democrats agenda is so unAmerican today that it takes importing unAmerican voters to support them... why can't they all move to Cuba and live in victimization?

Bob Bruce
Bob Bruce

your brother john lewis and his democratic family at the sit in are all trouble makers like you.

Lisa F. Austin
Lisa F. Austin

I disagree. I respect what they did. They made their point.

Joe Hamilton
Joe Hamilton

What point was that, Lisa? Elected officials are openly calling for citizens to be stripped of rights without due process. Get a grip.

Pashtoon Lodin
Pashtoon Lodin

The childishness is republicans getting elected and paid to sit around and pass nothing to improve the nation. Obamacare? People don't need health insurance. Guns? NOBODY TOUCHES THE GUNS.

Keith Martin
Keith Martin

And..wait for it .... yes! The bought and paid for GOP!

Mike Dills
Mike Dills

the rest of the headline should read " their little childhood stunt may have cost them their reelection "

Jan Marynowski
Jan Marynowski

Jay Bookman based on your comments we can safely say that you are not the sharpest tool in the shed and you want to take away rights from Americans. You are a bigot.

Calvin Davis
Calvin Davis

Thank You for beating me to the same conclusion.

Bill Snapp
Bill Snapp

This article is unusually delusional even for Jay. Once again, Jay blows the trumpet of Democrat victory in the House because of pathetic, fruitless sit-in tantrums by Democrats all the while his obeisance Obama once again gets the stuffing knocked out of him by way of the Brexit vote. The best part is that Dems like Jay constantly bashes Republicans all the while his beloved party nominates a corrupt old hag who is (now) under criminal investigation by the FBI. Hillary = the pride of the Left!

Lisa F. Austin
Lisa F. Austin

Trump is your boy ...how many bankruptcies? Where are his tax returns? Oh yeah...he's being investigated by the IRS. How many wives? How many of those from the USA? How many ridiculous & racist comments have spewed from his mouth? How many people did he swindle with his bogus University? He has cheated sooooo many people...the man that started off with a small loan (a million) in the seventies...all the Republicans have done in the past several years is line their pockets...

Bob Bruce
Bob Bruce

trump all the way. at least he loves America. and unlike killary, he has never caused a soldier to be killed. does not lie about emails. has not had private citizens who were to testify against him killed. but killary, on the other hand has done all this, and you like her? y0ur brain must have been fried on drugs.

Calvin Davis
Calvin Davis

Lisa & Bob, I am still laughing at your hit's because you guys are absolutely off the charts. Donald Trump will never be president as long as he keeps putting his foot in his mouth. On more than one occasion he has made blanket sexist remarks about female voters. I am always amused by his out of control mouth.

Tommy Jones
Tommy Jones

More accurately: they are overcoming their fear of the right wing mainstream media and its corporate bias.

Debra Fish
Debra Fish

They had a communist fundraising slumber party on our dime in an attempt to overthrow the rules and get secret lists with no due process. The 'civil rights' leader was attempting to take away your rights.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Mary Elizabeth Sings

I have never believed Obama was an imperialist, because I read his words and watched him deliver them with intent for years). 

-

Good god. Do you always judge people based on their words and not their actions? 

I'm guessing you don't. 

So why do you extend such a blank check of trust to political leaders?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Donnie_Pinko


I do not extend "such a blank check of trust to political leaders."  That generality of thinking is beyond my taking seriously.


And, as I have said often on this blog, if one takes the time to read and absorb Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Speech, one can see that he has acted during his presidential tenure to fulfill his words or his philosophy of humankind's progression in actions.


The Nobel Peace Prize Committee had the insight to see years ago that Obama would do that in being true to his own consciousness.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

It is occurring to me that by Great Britain's leaving the EU, that, as the analysts are saying, now Scotland and Northern Ireland may leave GB and do more business with the EU, even if they do not technically leave GB, they may become more identified with the EU over time, leaving England, just a pittance of what it was at one time in terms of world power.


That seems to me to be in line with seeing the world becoming more interconnected and global.  The U.S. and G.B. have been two of the last so-called imperialistic nations of the West to survive into the 21st century.


So, what happens with the U.S.?  We could do as the Brits and vote for nationalism through Donald Trump in November or we could vote for Hillary Clinton in November who will carry forth Barack Obama's egalitarian vision for our world. (Contrary to popular opinion by some, I have never believed Obama was an imperialist, because I read his words and watched him deliver them with intent for years).  I only hope and pray that our nation will elect Hillary Clinton even if most of the people of our nation do not share the vision I have for our common future.  Otherwise, the U.S., too, may well become a thing of the past, like England.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@MaryElizabethSings 

...leaving England, just a pittance of what it was at one time in terms of world power

Well it's already been that since the 1940s.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Donnie_Pinko @MaryElizabethSings


Nothing is static, Donnie.  That may be true but it is a matter of degree and of evolution in time to England's having a weaker degree of power than it had even in 1940.


God works in mysterious ways.  The rising of world egalitarianism is coming, as I see it, if only humanity will learn to see others as equals as brothers and sisters and not keep seeking to dominate others. Moving from vertical to lateral consciousness takes the voluntary releasing of power, as George Washington knew and acted upon almost 3 centuries ago.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder


 Nope, it was either CNN or MSNBC. I rarely watch Fox during the morning because they are too much like ABC or NBC with fluff. 


It's good to know that Osmium Man watches both CNN and MSNBC and thinks they are fluff-free outlets of fact-based reporting with gravitas!


Also, kudos to Osmium Man on the correct usage of the word "too."  


Notwithstanding what's going on here and abroad, I'm actually now optimistic for the future of humankind.  If Osmium Man can see the light, everyone can.

Peachs
Peachs

Walter Cronkite is dead, and I ain't feeling so good myself

Peachs
Peachs

What most conservatives fail to realize is there is a minority class of Americans that are larger than their group.

When you talk about a down trodden America, you failed to represent the underclass that really is downtrodden. No movement of any nature is going anyplace without this population being part of the equation.

Kamchak
Kamchak

SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS !

Peachs
Peachs

About as worthless as Confederate money!

TBS
TBS

@Kamchak 

Jay has his new article waiting to post but he is just sitting back watching and laughing at those of us wondering where his next article is and what it will be about. 

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Maybe Mayor Reed can advise the Brits on how he revived the Atlanta economy by putting in the Streetcar

TBS
TBS

@Infraredguy 

Or how you advised PaulinNH about the goings on in his home country.

Epic fail... But it wasn't exactly a surprise to anyone to include yourself.

Peachs
Peachs

Or Governor Deal can take their hand and show them how to really wreck an economy!

Kamchak
Kamchak

I hope the new sheetz are something state or local -- maybe even MARTA. Won't take long to turn even that into something about Brexit.

LOL!

TBS
TBS

@Kamchak 

Brexit will be today or Monday.  I'm guessing how it could relate to the US election.  

honested
honested

@TBS @Kamchak 

I am baffled as to how the Brexit would imbue chump with some new magic powers, even to those dense enough to have ever considered voting for him.

TBS
TBS

@honested @TBS @Kamchak 

I personally don't think it is going to move the needle much at all but there are people speculating about it.

And not just in right leaning circles.

HuffPo I think has an article about it

Kamchak
Kamchak

@TBS 

The drama queens are certainly drama queening today, that's for sure.

TBS
TBS

@Kamchak @TBS 

It is a huge story so from across the political spectrum the speculation, theories and maybe even a few facts are getting thrown out as quick as articles can be typed and edited.  

Peachs
Peachs

The ultimate spin! Poop doesn't smell!

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

The longer Bookman waits to post the more that current title takes on an unexpected alternative meaning.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

"CNN hires Trump's dumped campaign manager. He's best known for assaulting journalists, so no one at CNN has a thing to worry about." 

Heh

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Obama comments to the Brits sure went over like a lead balloon on the issue of staying in the EU, seems they see through his BS just as most Americans do  

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Infraredguy Obama is an educated idiot.

His administration has out foxed Repubs in Congress time and time again.

However, it is clear that is not coming from him.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Donnie_Pinko @Infraredguy not on out foxing the Repubs.

Sometimes I wonder what McConnell has being doing all those years and how he got elected Repub Senate leader.

He let Harry run all over him.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@Infrared,

The American an people voted for him twice. .you can't rewrite history

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@OriginalProf @Infraredguy 

No, Obama made a very high profile intervention in an attempt to shore up the Remain campaigns uncertain fortunes. 

His intervention paid lip service to the vote being a British decision, but clearly strongly urged a Remain vote.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Infraredguy 

Really insular. Obama had nothing to do with this. This was an internal British decision, with many European factors.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Donnie_Pinko @OriginalProf @Infraredguy 

I always thought that Obama here really knew the futility of his "intervention," but did it as required of a U.S. leader. As if all those stubborn Brits were going to pay attention to him!

Peachs
Peachs

Highest favorable ratings since Ronald Ragan, but what are facts in the path of a redneck revolution?

foo2u
foo2u

Apparently the Brits don't slobber all over Obama the way our wingnuts slobber all over Bibi...