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21 November 2013


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Dr. K

How so?


Dr. K

IMO he will seek to apple this kind of rule change to the movement of his favored legislation. pl


Dr. K

Ah, I see. You ask how they will rue the day. There will be a time when a Republican president and a Republican Congress will do whatever they want without regard for the rights of the minority. pl


Yes indeed. Yet another example of short term thinking.

Will Reks

Democrats have decided that if the Republicans are not willing to pass any legislation then at the very least they will not nullify the President's prerogative as to judicial and executive nominations for the next three years.

Most likely they will not rue anything as we already know what the Republicans plan to do once in power. One only needs to look at the Ryan budget and the nature of today's Republicans so there is no reason to keep playing by their rules. This group would not tolerate such obstruction from Democrats.

Changing the balance on the DC Court will have huge significance and will make the Republicans very uncomfortable. They should have let Obama have at least one new appointee to that court. Oh well.


will reks

"playing by their rules" Their rules or the senate's rules? pl

Medicine Man

I understand why the Dems did what they did. I'm not sure if there is any precedent for blocking all of the sitting president's court nominations and at any rate the Republicans didn't even bother to offer any reasons as to why the candidates put forward were unacceptable.

Regardless, a precedent has now been set. Even should the current congress leave the filibuster intact for supreme court nominations and legislation there is now plenty of cover to revise the rules under a Republican administration with only 50 votes + the vice president.

Will Reks

Both. Minority rule and the Senate rules which they were taking full advantage of until now.

I don't see anything in Article One about rules on filibustering of judicial nominees. The trick for Republicans was to obstruct as much as possible within limits.



"They will rue the day. pl"

I doubt it. The Congressional Republican position is to filibuster just about everything. Extreme obstruction requires extreme measures.



If the Republicans regain control of the government, they will screw the Democrats to the wall. pl


Perhaps the democrats are afraid of the results of Obamacare and the next election. They are moving to get something done while they have the opportunity?


The Republicans are already screwing the Dems to the wall insofar as they can, exploiting and abusing the filibuster power to a degree where even this set of less-than-fiery Democrats couldn't take it any more.

It is indeed likely that the next time they're in the driver's seat they'll say "The Democrats did it first," and abuse their majority rights in ways we've not yet seen. Harry Reid knows this as well as anyone. But the provocation was simply too great. An analogy might be to the wife who makes a husband's life hell and then when he can't take it any more says accusingly "YOU left ME." (This works with the sexes reversed as well.)



You have no idea how much more "screwed" you can be. pl

The Twisted Genius

PL said, "If the Republicans regain control of the government, they will screw the Democrats to the wall."

I believe that is true no matter what the Democrats do or don't do. The idea of a loyal opposition is fading away quickly and I have no idea what catastrophe has to befall us before that idea comes back into fashion. Lenin's idea of the vanguard party seems to be goal of both parties.



The republic for which we fought is dying. pl


ok, I'm for it. Now lets begin the negotiations to put the procedures back to where they were most of the pre-and post- WWII period. Give that option to the Republicans...back to the old rules, or live with this, come what may. And I do have some concerns about it. But not to the level where we have to endure this paralysis for ever.

And we can start with jettisoning the use of the word Democrat to describe the Democratic Party. I sure the GOP has their own beefs....but start by calling a national Party by it correct name. And I don't like Obama....I did not vote for him the second term. I don't like liberals...modern day liberals that is. But what the GOP has been doing in the Senate has to be stopped.


"The republic for which we fought is dying". How can it be saved??

Will Reks

You're right. It's probably important to note that this was likely the inevitable outcome of the increasingly toxic polarization that grips our politics. I'm biased as to who bears the majority of the blame but not so blind as to see that this is a threat to our governing stability.

Hank Foresman

Pat, I must demure from the commentary that sees this as a woeful breech of Senate custom. The woeful breech of Senate custom and I would argue what is constitutional is the notion that a minority can hold up a Presidential nomination. The Constitution requires only a super majority in the case of conviction by impeachment, proposing an amendment to the Constitution, and to override a veto. While jealous of the power of the people and their representatives, I believe that the minority has no right to hold up a nomination because of politics. In my estimation there must be good cause for such a move that a President's nomination should be approved. While I found his judicial philosophy horrid, I saw no good reason for Judge Bork not to have confirmed. The case of Senator Tower is interesting. While clearly qualified to fill the position, there were sufficient democrats and republicans who knew of his drinking and womanizing who believed he should not be Secretary of Defense. We have turned the whole process into a zoo. Democrats are equally to blame as Republicans, neither party is pure, however while it eventually bite the Democrats in their fourth point of contact as a whole this was the right move.


will reks.
An honest statement. pl


But another way of looking at this is that if major changes are easy to enact, with just a majority in the Senate, then it will actually promote moderation and bipartisanship.

Otherwise, if you try to enact controversial legislation, then next time your party is out of power, it will get undone.

Right now, with the Senate functioning as it is (supermajority required always), there is neither a method nor incentive for the parties to cooperate on anything. And if a party does get to the magic sixty, there is every incentive to ram as much partisan legislation through as possible, knowing that, no matter how hostile to it the other party may be, they are unlikely ever to undo it.



Perhaps not. IMO we are in the equivalent of the 1850s. pl


Col: No, loneliness is being a Texas Democrat!


It's going to be a long, long time before the Republicans control the executive branch again. There simply aren't enough old, angry white guys who want to return to the 1850's in enough places to get the required electoral votes. Plus, in 2016 there are going to be a lot of Senate Republicans up for reelection who were elected in 2010 which was not a presidential year. There isn't going to be much 'screwing' going on.

This is all much ado about nothing. The president has a right to fill out the executive branch and the judiciary by virtue of winning the election. If the Republicans want to try to nullify the results of the election through use of the filibuster then there is a far greater probability that Democrats will control all three branches before the Republicans and that kind of 'screwing' can work the other way.

Kudos to Reid for finally doing something about the obstructionism.


One can not but agree . Obstructionism begets what we are witnessing. If the other party is actively obstructing all things Obama regardless of their value and/or origin (i.e. healthcare is Heritage Foundation child, yet treated as an unwanted orphan by GOP) then as you suggest there is no need to bend over backwards in the senate to accommodate them. As for when the tables turn, well that will be another day and the tables, as we all know are like merry go rounds ..... what goes around comes around , and more than once.

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