Filibuster “reform” pretty much going as assumed

posted at 9:30 am on January 4, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Surprise!  Despite the clamor on the Left to “reform” the filibuster now that Democrats have lost most of their Senate majority, some Democrats have looked ahead to the next election and balked at making the majority omnipotent.  A flurry of proposals to change the rules to end or neuter the filibuster have clogged the process, with none of them gaining a consensus.  “Reform” backers have become so desperate that they want to change the definition of a day in order to get more votes:

The debate rests around a series of proposals put forward by several Democrats, including one by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who says that the Constitution gives the Senate ability to set its rules – and that on the first legislative day, such changes can be made by a simple majority of 51 senators. Since rule changes typically require support from two-thirds of the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is facing new pressure to simply extend the first legislative day by recessing the chamber at the close of business – rather than adjourning. That move could extend that first legislative “day” for several weeks and could give Democrats more time to build support for their proposal. …

Sixty-seven votes would be needed to change Senate rules, a highly unlikely scenario in a polarized chamber where Democrats hold a 53-47 majority. But the Constitution allows each house of Congress to set its own rules, and on the first day of the new Senate, a simple majority of 51 senators may be allowed to vote to change Senate rules after parliamentary rulings are made by the presiding officer, Vice President Joe Biden.

Udall, the New Mexico Democrat, has long planned to push on the first day of the new Congress what he calls the “constitutional option” – to allow future rule changes to be made by a simple majority vote. That would allow for subsequent changes to the filibuster rule to be made if Democrats limit their defections to just two members.

Why, that’s exactly what voters had in mind during this past midterm election!  They turned out in droves to vote for even more chicanery and posterior-protecting absurdities, like insisting that a day can last for weeks.  That has an additional, practical complication; it would appear to require Joe Biden to continuously preside over the Senate, as the Vice President does on the first day in a session.  It’s not as if Biden is especially busy, of course — Wreckovery Summer is long over — but even Senators can only take so much of Sheriff Joe.

Republicans have wasted no time in casting this as a power grab.  The Senate Republican Policy Committee has already begun circulating their argument for defending the filibuster as is.  It attacks Harry Reid for trying to stop the minority from having influence in the upper chamber, and for being the root cause of the problem:

The Senate is a unique legislative institution, designed to guarantee that the minority party – and the large block of Americans they represent – has a voice. The Senate‟s rules are written to require minority participation, which tends to result in legislation with bipartisan and broad public support.2 Two distinctive features of Senate procedure are the right to debate and amend. The Democrat majority has made a habit of squelching both of these features, preferring to use procedural gambits to force a partisan agenda through the chamber.

The Majority Leader has used his powers to block Republican input on legislation. The Majority Leader is always the first to be recognized on the Senate floor, and he can use that power to offer a series of Democrat amendments to pending legislation in a manner that prevents Republicans from offering any of their ideas. This is called “filling the tree.” According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Majority Leader Reid has employed this tactic a record 44 times.3 He has used it to block minority input into legislation three times more often than the previous Majority Leader, and more than the past six Majority Leaders combined.4

The Majority Leader has made a habit of shutting down debate before it even starts. In the Senate, the majority can force an end to debate on any matter by a procedure known as cloture. Majority Leader Reid has indicated his lack of interest in deliberation by moving to shut down debate the very day measures are first considered on the Senate floor. According to CRS, the majority has done this nearly three times more, on average, than the previous six majorities.5 In fact, the current majority in its two Congresses in power has moved to end debate on measures a total of 29 times prior to any amendments even being voted on.6 The previous majority did this less than half as often—only 12 times in the preceding two Congresses.7

The Majority Leader also has limited discussion of his agenda by short-circuiting the committee process. In the Senate, legislation generally is referred first to a committee of Senators with specialized experience in the matter at hand. The committee process typically involves hearings and legislative “markups” where a small group of Senators can discuss proposed legislation in detail and consider a wide range of amendments. This process can allow for significant minority party participation. However, the current majority has completely eliminated the committee process for important matters.8 According to CRS, this majority has set a record for bypassing the committee process, doing so 43 times total.9 In fact, according to CRS, it has done this almost 50 percent more than the last majority and, on average, twice as much as was done in the prior seven Congresses (1993 to 2006).10

The letter concludes:

The Senate, and the rules under which it operates, performs a unique and beneficial function in our legislative system. Democrats, fresh from an electoral “shellacking,”14 should respect both the Senate‟s role in the system and the will of the voters by working with Republicans in the 112th Congress on commonsense, consensus measures that most American support. Unilaterally changing the rules of the Senate by a bare majority would be unprecedented – no Senate Majority Leader has ever done such a thing. Moreover, it would forever change the nature of the Senate and constitute a naked partisan power grab. Such a move would disrespect our bipartisan system and the will of the American people.

Interestingly, Republicans offer no defense for secret holds in their argument.  They aren’t even mentioned.  If Reid wants to conduct a reform that would generate bipartisan support and a lasting improvement to the upper chamber, he should propose the elimination of the secret hold, a process that takes place in the dark, rather than attack the filibuster, which takes place in the open.  That, at least, would demonstrate that Reid and his caucus paid some attention to the message sent by voters in the midterms.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Udall, the New Mexico Democrat, has long planned to push on the first day of the new Congress what he calls the “constitutional option” – to allow future rule changes to be made by a simple majority vote. That would allow for subsequent changes to the filibuster rule to be made if Democrats limit their defections to just two members.

Allow me to ReWrite™ that for the benefit of your source, Ed:

Udall, the New Mexico Democrat, has long planned to push on the first day of the new Congress what he calls the “constitutional screw Republicans option” – to allow future rule changes to be made by a simple majority vote. That would allow for subsequent changes to the filibuster rule to be made a full-out return of the filibuster rule and a renewed supermajority requirement on any future rule changes to whatever point is necessary to prevent the Republicans from doing anything if Democrats limit their defections to just two members lose the Senate in 2012.

steveegg on January 4, 2011 at 9:39 AM

That, at least, would demonstrate that Reid and his caucus paid some attention to the message sent by voters in the midterms.

Hmmm….someone is assuming that they care what the people want…..

search4truth on January 4, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Who’s up for another Shellacking? I am!

WordsMatter on January 4, 2011 at 9:41 AM

I don’t understand the motivation to do this. Prior to 2006 thew fillibuster was god’s gift to Democrats, now suddenly it’s as outdated as the second ammendment?

Mord on January 4, 2011 at 9:42 AM

These communist wannabe’s have no respect whatsoever for America or her people. The ends justifies the means is tatooed on their foreheads.

darwin on January 4, 2011 at 9:42 AM

steveegg on January 4, 2011 at 9:39 AM

You are saying they want to eliminate the fillibuster now, then put it back in place before the next election? I’m not even surprised.

Mord on January 4, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Chaos baby…

….release the Kracken!

Skandia Recluse on January 4, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Why even go through this? Just have Pelosi dust off her 2004 “Minority Bill of Rights” and let the demorats have the power of two votes for each actual vote. Go**am I hate all of these people.

Bishop on January 4, 2011 at 9:49 AM

I think a 6 year national boycott of Nevada would be a fitting response to the folks that thought Harry should be returned to the Senate.

belad on January 4, 2011 at 9:50 AM

That, at least, would demonstrate that Reid and his caucus paid some attention to the message sent by voters in the midterms.

You are assuming, of course, that the Democrats care what voters want or think.

Good Lt on January 4, 2011 at 9:51 AM

It would be political suicide for the Dem Senate to change these rules, especially with 2012 coming up where Republicans will, in all liklihood, control that very chamber, and strengthen their numbers in the House. Doesn’t make any sense.

Indy82 on January 4, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Agree with on scrapping the secret hold Ed…..but highly doubtful it will be with thesre bunch of maroons

cmsinaz on January 4, 2011 at 9:51 AM

You are saying they want to eliminate the fillibuster now, then put it back in place before the next election? I’m not even surprised.

Mord on January 4, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Give that guy a cee-gar :-)

Semi-seriously, I was shocked, SHOCKED that Udall would be that blatant.

steveegg on January 4, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Go**am I hate all of these people.

Bishop on January 4, 2011 at 9:49 AM

I do too.
I am so sick of all of this deceptive lying crap I could just puke.

Badger40 on January 4, 2011 at 9:54 AM

The debate rests around a series of proposals put forward by several Democrats, including one by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who says that the Constitution gives the Senate ability to set its rules – and that on the first legislative day, such changes can be made by a simple majority of 51 senators. Since rule changes typically require support from two-thirds of the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is facing new pressure to simply extend the first legislative day by recessing the chamber at the close of business – rather than adjourning.

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. This might be the stupidest, most overtly hateful thing I have ever heard of Democrats doing. Seriously? “It depends on what the meaning of ‘day’ is”? For the love of God! I hate these monsters so much!

WesternActor on January 4, 2011 at 9:57 AM

I think a 6 year national boycott of Nevada would be a fitting response to the folks that thought Harry should be returned to the Senate.
belad on January 4, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Easy now, let’s not go overboard. Vegas has a nice Harley shop/bar and playing craps at 0400 at the Tropicana with a beer in each hand is the stuff of life.

Bishop on January 4, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Gap Theory comes to the United States Senate.

Gov98 on January 4, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Now, I know the filibuster is useful when we are in the minority, but in reality it is pretty undemocratic. And, frankly, it saves liberal senator’s bacon quite a bit by allowing them not to have to vote yes or no on things.

for instance, Obamacare repeal. Assuming it could be brought to the Senate floor for a vote, it will likely be filibustered, saving democrat Senators in conservative states from having to cast an actual vote. If they vote to repeal – primary from the left. If they don’t vote to repeal, ammunition against them in the general.

The same does not really work in the reverse too often. There are not as many votes that republicans are scared of taking.

So, not only does the filibuster prevent conservative policy from moving forward when republicans control the senate, and prevents consevative judges from being confirmed, it also prevents dem senators from having to make difficult votes.

Yes, when the dems have control as they do now, the absence of the filibuster would allow them to pass things we could potentially stop.

But, the reality is, a huge majority like what the dems had the last 2 years rarely happens. So, most of the time we are going to have a split close to what we have now. And the reality is that most of the time, there are enough squish republicans to overcome any republican filibuster. And the reality is ultra liberal things won’t be passed on a yes-or-no vote b/c dem Senators in conservative states won’t vote yes. Or, if tehy do, they will pay.

So, I think the positives of the filibuster for conservatives are far outweighed by the negatives of the filibuster. I think the opposite is actually true for liberals. I think we should support the dems in getting rid of the filibuster.

I think a clean system where we can say Senator A voted for “x” and voted to confirm “y” judge is better than a system where politicians can hide behind arcane parliamentary procedures that the general public does not understand.

Monkeytoe on January 4, 2011 at 10:03 AM

It attacks Harry Reid for trying to stop the minority from having influence in the upper chamber, and for being the root cause of the problem:

I remember when democrats were all about “the minority.”


Obama:



“You need 60 votes to move something forward….so you have to ask…do we want to move an American agenda forward or a democratic and Republican agenda forward.”


“Who can build a movement for change….who can get it done…who can build a 60% majority in the Senate….that is not just a 50 + 1 majoritiy.”


“ You have to break out of the ….what I call…the 50 + 1 pattern of Presidential politics.”

“This notion that we should function…like …..kind of like Karl Rove. We identify our core base….we throw them red meat….we get a 50 + 1 victory.

But see…Karl Rove does not need a broad consensus because he doesn’t believe in government. If we want to transform the country though…that requires a sizable majority.

Harry Reid:

Reid shot down the option in his 2008 book The Good Fight. Recalling the “nuclear option” debate in 2005, Reid compared lowering the filibuster threshold to “opening Pandora’s Box.”

“It was just a matter of time before a Senate leader who couldn’t get his way on something moved to eliminate the filibuster for regular business,” Reid wrote. “And that, simply put, would be the end of the United States Senate … A filibuster is the minority’s way of not allowing the majority to shut off debate, and without robust debate, the Senate is crippled.”


•    REID:

“Mr. President, The Filibuster Is Not A ‘Procedural Gimmick.’ The Filibuster Is An Important Check On Executive Power And Part Of Every Senator’s Right To Free Speech In The United States Senate.”

(Sen. Harry Reid, “Reid Floor Statement On Nuclear Option,” Press Release, 5/17/05)


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY)

On Any Threat To The Filibuster: “The Basic Makeup Of Our Senate Is At Stake. The Checks And Balances That Americans Prize Are At Stake. The Idea Of Bipartisanship, Where You Have To Come Together And Can’t Just Ram Everything Through Because You Have A Narrow Majority, Is At Stake. The Very Things We Treasure And Love About This Grand Republic Are At Stake.”

(Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.4801, 5/10/05)

…of course democrats treat this just like war,lobbyist,and sucking up to special interest…..
…..It’s all about scoring political points and nothing to do with what’s best for America.

Baxter Greene on January 4, 2011 at 10:04 AM

It will not end until these crapweasel’s are gone. Dingy Harry is the most despicable person in the senate, with Schumer in 2nd and trying hard to catch Dingy.

Wade on January 4, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Since Reed doesn’t think the last election means anything maybe we all should Fed Ex (UPS, DHL) him a bucket of tar, a bag of feathers and a railroad tie with a sweet card saying that we will ride him out of town if he doesn’t bend to the will of the people.

chemman on January 4, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Interestingly, Republicans offer no defense for secret holds in their argument. They aren’t even mentioned.

It’s called “keeping your eye on the ball”. They are smart not to go after the “decoys” in dealing with what Reid proposes to do.

I agree with you about how secret holds obscure transparency in the governing process for both us and the Senators not privy to why the hold was placed — but that’s another battle for another day.

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Obama:
“You need 60 votes to move something forward….so you have to ask…do we want to move an American agenda forward or a democratic and Republican agenda forward.”

But My agenda is the American agenda so go ahead and end the Filibuster. BHO

chemman on January 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM

It will not end until these crapweasel’s are gone. Dingy Harry is the most despicable person in the senate, with Schumer in 2nd and trying hard to catch Dingy.

Wade on January 4, 2011 at 10:09 AM

It was difficult limit your comment to just two…next week you could probably find another two just as despicable…Waters, Jackson, the list is endless and will on “rotation” throughout the year.

right2bright on January 4, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Now, I know the filibuster is useful when we are in the minority, but in reality it is pretty undemocratic. And, frankly, it saves liberal senator’s bacon quite a bit by allowing them not to have to vote yes or no on things.

Monkeytoe on January 4, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Are you sure you really want an up or down vote on some of the Democratic legislation, versus withdrawal of same under filibuster?

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Easy now, let’s not go overboard. Vegas has a nice Harley shop/bar and playing craps at 0400 at the Tropicana with a beer in each hand is the stuff of life.

Bishop on January 4, 2011 at 9:58 AM

That’s the problem with “Tough Love“, you have to endure some amount of pain to insure that the object lesson has its intended result. The casinos and unions put Harry where he is and they should be the ones to suffer the most.

belad on January 4, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Harry Reid rigging the playing field it’s what he does, ask Sharon Angle:)

Harry Reid is a lot like “Shingles” anyway he is a Pox on our House.

Dr Evil on January 4, 2011 at 10:24 AM

belad on January 4, 2011 at 10:21 AM

It’s the Tropicana. Close everything else if you have too, but not the Big T.

Bishop on January 4, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Payback will be sweet.

Reid will spend at least four of his six Senate term years in the minority, as of next election.

scotash on January 4, 2011 at 10:56 AM

The message of the last election was “Tinker with the CYA machine”? On what planet?

mojo on January 4, 2011 at 11:06 AM

If Reid wants to conduct a reform that would generate bipartisan support and a lasting improvement to the upper chamber, he should propose the elimination of the secret hold, a process that takes place in the dark, rather than attack the filibuster, which takes place in the open. That, at least, would demonstrate that Reid and his caucus paid some attention to the message sent by voters in the midterms.

Reid and the Democrats have ignored the wishes of the electorate to the extent they conflict with Democrat agendas while portraying themselves as servants of the people. They have no interest in reforming anything unless it serves their personal and political agendas.

The filibuster might prove inconvenient to Democrats in their current position, so it must be reformed. That “secret hold” thingy might come in handy to Democrats though, especially the “secret” part. Better keep that one.

novaculus on January 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM

It would be political suicide for the Dem Senate to change these rules, especially with 2012 coming up where Republicans will, in all liklihood, control that very chamber, and strengthen their numbers in the House. Doesn’t make any sense.

Indy82 on January 4, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Look at the proposal, he wants to make rules changes subject to majority vote. Just like Massachusetts voting laws, he’s going to set it up to change the rules each time it’s to their advantage. The assumption here is that they kill the filibuster now, then, when they lose in 2012, propose to re-instate the filibuster in order “to protect the will of the people and tyranny of the majority [for the children, to save the planet, etc.]” They will only need a majority approval to change the rules then. You know that with the Maine Twins, Grahamnesty, and a few other squishes, they will be able to invoke the “sense of fair play” and get the rules changed back to their advantage.

/Democrats — they fight dirty, are transparent about it, and our side is to @#$%’n stupid to catch on. They are Lucy with the football, we are Charlie Brown who just knows that this time he’s gonna kick it out of the stadium

AZfederalist on January 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Now, I know the filibuster is useful when we are in the minority, but in reality it is pretty undemocratic.

Yes, it is “undemocratic” because we were not formed as a democracy but as a republic!

If you have studied the history of the filibuster, you undoubtedly know that originally there was no limit to debate on an issue as long as any member of the Senate wished to take the floor and continue to discuss the matter.

It was not until the very early 20th c. that an end to debate/filibuster had any limit. There had to be 0 Senators objecting before a bill could go to a vote.

Then, rules were changed to say that agreement from 67 Senators to end debate was needed before a final vote could be taken. Later, in the 1970s, the number of Senators needed to end debate was lowered to the current 60 mark.

Our government is set up so that passing legislation will be a slow, deliberative, process so that mistakes like those just made in passing the START treaty do not happen. We are not supposed to pass any legislation unless it is agreed by all sides that it is truly needed. That was the point of the original Senate rules that worked just fine for well over 100 years.

Progressives changed the rules because they do not believe in the slow, deliberative process. They believe in the “never let a crisis go to waste process” that jams things through as if everything is an emergency. Progressives do not believe in the Constitution and they WANT this to be a democracy rather than a Republic.

We would be much better off to go back to the original all hands on deck, everyone must agree we should go to a vote scenario. It made compromises — hard compromises — take place. And plenty of legislation was passed before the first change to filibuster rules.

Greyledge Gal on January 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

That, at least, would demonstrate that Reid and his caucus paid some attention to the message sent by voters in the midterms.

“Paying attention” and following, as in obeying, the message sent by voters are two very different things.

Almost all kids “pay attention” to parental directives — they hear the directives, they fully understand the directives, but many choose willfully, for their own reasons, to disobey.

They think they can get away with it, and so does Harry Reid.

marybel on January 4, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Now, I know the filibuster is useful when we are in the minority, but in reality it is pretty undemocratic. And, frankly, it saves liberal senator’s bacon quite a bit by allowing them not to have to vote yes or no on things.

Monkeytoe on January 4, 2011 at 10:03 AM
Are you sure you really want an up or down vote on some of the Democratic legislation, versus withdrawal of same under filibuster?

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2011 at 10:16 AM

If you read my whole comment, I argue that the filibuster is a net negative to republicans and a net positive to democrats. I may be wrong, but I know of few circumstances where this is true. We keep some of their worst nominees off the bench, they keep some of our best.

I think it is more valuable to hang a “yes” vote for an ultra-liberal judicial nominee around Ben Nelson’s neck than keeping one guy off the bench (who in all reality, would not rule differently than any of the other dem nominated judges). Same thing goes with most legislation. Most of the time, such legislation would be defeated b/c seantors like Ben Nelson would not be able to vote “yes” and keep his seat. But he is protected from both his right and left flank by the filibuster.

And, ultimately, the filibuster is used far more often to block any conservative proposals then liberal proposals.

Monkeytoe on January 4, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Yes, it is “undemocratic” because we were not formed as a democracy but as a republic!

If you have studied the history of the filibuster, you undoubtedly know that originally there was no limit to debate on an issue as long as any member of the Senate wished to take the floor and continue to discuss the matter.

It was not until the very early 20th c. that an end to debate/filibuster had any limit. There had to be 0 Senators objecting before a bill could go to a vote.

Whether we were formed as a democracy or republic has no bearing on whether the filibuster is undemocratic. Even in a republic, the idea is that ultimately democracy is had through our representatives, which implies majority vote. Nothing in the constitution establishes a need for 60 or 67 or even 100 votes on somethnig to get passed. So, the history of the filibuster has no bearing on whether it is an anti-democratic tool and/or whether we should keep it.

Based on your argument, one nutty super liberal senator should be able to stop any and all legislation from a republican controlled Senate.

As I argued, I think the filibuster helps the dems more than it helps the GOP. Indeed, I believe the filibuster is enough of a net loser for the GOP that I see no problem with getting rid of it.

I think that if Senators were forced to actually cast votes on nominees and legislation it would elimninate many dem senators in conservative states. I don’t think it would have much effect on moderate republicans in left leaning states.

Certainly an argument can be made that we (conservatives) need the filibuster to stop the worst liberal ideas, I’m just not pursuaded by that argument. I think overall the filibuster operates as a net negative for conservatism.

Monkeytoe on January 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM

So here’s how I understand it: When Republicans lose, they lose; when Republicans win, they lose. When Democrats win, they win; when they lose, they win.
We have a president, who is going to bypass Congress and do everything by executive orders. He doesn’t need Congress at all.
What we have is Hugo Chavez in training pants.

silvernana on January 4, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Apparently Democrats have gone “all-in” now. They know Barack Obama is a one-term president and their Senate majority is done for in 2012. They are determined to wreck America and turn it into a third-world socialist craphole by any means necessary, cementing in place as much as they can before the people throw them all out.

Udall’s spearheading of this means that we know what this is really about: amnesty. It is the Democrats’ last best hope for winning any future national elections. If they can’t get it done by legislation they will let Obama do it by regulation and lack of enforcement, and if these rule changes go through all they need is 51 votes to kill any bipartisan attempt to stop it. Voila! 10 million new Democratic voters, and a welfare state second to none in the world.

rockmom on January 4, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Certainly an argument can be made that we (conservatives) need the filibuster to stop the worst liberal ideas, I’m just not pursuaded by that argument. I think overall the filibuster operates as a net negative for conservatism.

Monkeytoe on January 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM

If not for the filibuster, Cap and Trade would now be the law of the land and gasoline would be $5 a gallon. Obamacare would have been even worse than it is now, probably including a public option. The DREAM Act would have been passed, and possibly even a more comprehensive amnesty bill. Goodwin Liu would be sitting on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ready to help throw out what is left of the Constitution. The Defense of Marriage Act would have been repealed.

rockmom on January 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM

It would be political suicide for the Dem Senate to change these rules, especially with 2012 coming up where Republicans will, in all likleihood, control that very chamber, and strengthen their numbers in the House. Doesn’t make any sense.

The Dems must be thinking only in terms of ramming through as many judges as possible in the next 2 years.

mydh12 on January 4, 2011 at 1:22 PM

… and the political masturb4tion continues. If we think this kind of nonsense will ever end absent these people being forcibly removed from office, we’re kidding ourselves.

What we continue to witness is ample evidence that elections don’t matter anymore. Time for the next step, escalating to the final step if need be.

Midas on January 4, 2011 at 1:40 PM

The debate rests around a series of proposals put forward by several Democrats, including one by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who says that the Constitution gives the Senate ability to set its rules – and that on the first legislative day, such changes can be made by a simple majority of 51 senators. Since rule changes typically require support from two-thirds of the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is facing new pressure to simply extend the first legislative day by recessing the chamber at the close of business – rather than adjourning. That move could extend that first legislative “day” for several weeks and could give Democrats more time to build support for their proposal.

In the beginning, Reid created the Left and the Senate. And the Right was without form and void. And Reid said, “Let there be Left”, and there was Left, and Reid saw that the Left was good.

But there were Rules, which bounded the Left and the Right, and Reid saw that the Right was bad. And Reid said, “Let there not be Rules to Limit the Left”, and Reid said, “Let there be lights”, in the heavens and the Senate ceiling to divide the Day from the Night. And Reid said the Left, “You shall be as gods, if you shall destroy the Tree of Knowledge of Filibuster, before the Right shall partake of its fruit.”

And Reid said, “Let there not be Night, so that it shall be forever the first Day.”

And Reid said, let us create Rules in our image, in the image of the Left.

And it was the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
of the first day, and Reid created 53 Votes.

And Reid said, “Let this be the morning and the evening
of the first day”, and so it was.

And it was the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
of the first day, and Reid created more Votes.

And Reid said, “Let this be the morning and the evening
of the first day”, and so it was.

And it was the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
and the morning and the evening
of the first day, and Reid created more Votes.

And when Reid had rested from his creation of Votes, at the end of the first day, Reid said to the Right, “I told you you were naked–be thou banished from the Garden of Reid, so that thou shalt never partake of the Tree of Left and the Tree of Knowledge of Filibuster.”

And Reid said, “Let this be the morning of the second day,” and so it was. And Reid said, “Let the Right be forever silent in the Senate”, and Reid said this was good.

Steve Z on January 4, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Based on your argument, one nutty super liberal senator should be able to stop any and all legislation from a republican controlled Senate.

As I argued, I think the filibuster helps the dems more than it helps the GOP. Indeed, I believe the filibuster is enough of a net loser for the GOP that I see no problem with getting rid of it.

I think that if Senators were forced to actually cast votes on nominees and legislation it would elimninate many dem senators in conservative states. I don’t think it would have much effect on moderate republicans in left leaning states.

Certainly an argument can be made that we (conservatives) need the filibuster to stop the worst liberal ideas, I’m just not pursuaded by that argument. I think overall the filibuster operates as a net negative for conservatism.

Monkeytoe on January 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Yes, that’s right. And one crazy conservative senator could also stop any and all legislation in a Democratic controlled Senate.

On the flip side, a Dem could stop any Dem legislation, too. Think about Dems that didn’t think Obamacare was “liberal enough”? They might have stopped it from ever becoming a law.

Quickly, the voters would get tired of the “too crazy” extremes and vote them out. The rest of the Senators would work out the problems.

It’s disturbing to me that you don’t see the importance of the history of the filibuster. I think it is of paramount importance in understanding how our Senate has been dumbed down and corrupted.

Sorry, but I see the filibuster as a conservative rule. It makes the Senate be more conservative and deliberative in what it passes. Without the filibuster, the Senate elections will be more of a freak popularity show/contest than it is now as voters completely focus on single issues as a reason to choose a candidate.

Greyledge Gal on January 4, 2011 at 1:48 PM

demonstrate that Reid and his caucus paid some attention to the message sent by voters in the midterms

Pols like Reid that have been there too long have long ago dismissed the voters opinions as irrelevant unless they support that pol or his/her agenda. That’s the main trouble with career pols like Reid, they become a law unto themselves and feel entitled. They should be thrown out ever other election or so and sent back to the real world. Look what happened to the Kennedys, not only did Teddy feel entitled, the whole family did. Sort of…Oh, look here we’ve got this useless kid on our hands, lets send him into the family business. I suspect the Reid family feels likewise. Why Nevadans fell for this is beyond me.

jeanie on January 4, 2011 at 2:00 PM

It was difficult limit your comment to just two…next week you could probably find another two just as despicable…Waters, Jackson, the list is endless and will on “rotation” throughout the year.

right2bright on January 4, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Very true, however no one single turd has the power to bring bills to the floor like Dingy.

Wade on January 4, 2011 at 2:22 PM

671 Days
Gonna be a long winter if we do not end in a civil war.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 4, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Sure, Harry, go for it. Dump the filibuster just as the House goes to the other party. A Senate – House gridlock for 2 years might be a good break for taxpayers. At least they won’t give us any more Obamacares.

n0doz on January 4, 2011 at 10:17 PM