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(Talking Points Memo)   Five reasons we should celebrate the death of the filibuster. Come for the deserved jabs at racist confederates, but stay for the genuinely profound final point about the very nature of government   (talkingpointsmemo.com) divider line 131
    More: Interesting, filibusters, political animals, political journalism, Washington Monthly, seniorities, partisan polarization, parliamentary system, profound  
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3576 clicks; posted to Politics » on 26 Nov 2013 at 5:23 PM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-26 02:56:48 PM
If America's political genius is, as professional "centrists" sometimes insist, to foster the competition of conservative and liberal ideas and constituency groups operating dialectically like swings of a pendulum, the pendulum must be allowed to swing. Parties must be able to govern--succeeding, failing, adjusting, rethinking--before they can meaningfully be countered or restrained. A motionless pendulum halted by legislative obstruction means a dead mechanism: a feckless government, a directionless bureaucracy, and a democracy where voters express contempt for both parties and for government itself.

Excellent writing.
 
2013-11-26 03:04:15 PM
*sign*

It's just for judicial nominees for courts lower than Supreme.  Not every piece of legislation that comes up.

Or did that change in the last couple of days?
 
2013-11-26 03:06:35 PM

ManateeGag: *sign*

It's just for judicial nominees for courts lower than Supreme.  Not every piece of legislation that comes up.

Or did that change in the last couple of days?


It didn't, but many people, like me and this author, hope that this is just the first step towards complete abolition of the filibuster.
 
2013-11-26 04:37:02 PM

DamnYankees: ManateeGag: *sign*

It's just for judicial nominees for courts lower than Supreme.  Not every piece of legislation that comes up.

Or did that change in the last couple of days?

It didn't, but many people, like me and this author, hope that this is just the first step towards complete abolition of the filibuster.


Did you feel the same way in the 80's?
 
2013-11-26 04:41:39 PM

EatenTheSun: Did you feel the same way in the 80's?


In the 80s my main concerns were getting my diaper cleaned and not having my older brother pee on me.
 
2013-11-26 04:44:35 PM

EatenTheSun: DamnYankees: ManateeGag: *sign*

It's just for judicial nominees for courts lower than Supreme.  Not every piece of legislation that comes up.

Or did that change in the last couple of days?

It didn't, but many people, like me and this author, hope that this is just the first step towards complete abolition of the filibuster.

Did you feel the same way in the 80's?


How many filibusters occurred in the 80's? IMO, it's not the use, but the abuse.
 
2013-11-26 04:45:10 PM

DamnYankees: EatenTheSun: Did you feel the same way in the 80's?

In the 80s my main concerns were getting my diaper cleaned and not having my older brother pee on me.


Truly a simpler time.
 
2013-11-26 04:53:27 PM

DamnYankees: EatenTheSun: Did you feel the same way in the 80's?

In the 80s my main concerns were getting my diaper cleaned and not having my older brother pee on me.


Also relevant for your 80s.

Seriously, though, the concern about the "nuclear option" wasn't so much about the filibuster in particular, but about using the Senate majority's power to change the rules by circumventing the rules committee and the 2/3 vote required to regular rule change. By doing what he did, Reid set precedent for the majority party to rewrite whatever Senate rules they want to say whatever they want, which could potentially lead to the Senate having a Calvinball-like rule system that changes with every change in leadership.
 
2013-11-26 04:57:16 PM

nmrsnr: By doing what he did, Reid set precedent for the majority party to rewrite whatever Senate rules they want to say whatever they want, which could potentially lead to the Senate having a Calvinball-like rule system that changes with every change in leadership.


The Senate always had this potential. So does the House. Doesn't happen very often. I'm not worried about chaos descending on the legislature.
 
2013-11-26 05:04:03 PM

DamnYankees: The Senate always had this potential.


You are correct, but nobody has done it before, and the Republicans have all but taken a blood oath to abuse this power when they are in control in order to punish Democrats for this. I'm worried that it'll lead to a tit-for-tat retaliation cycle, because I do not think I can overestimate the childishness of the Senate at this point.
 
2013-11-26 05:05:37 PM
Holding a vote to see if they can go ahead and vote on something is absurd.
 
2013-11-26 05:05:42 PM

nmrsnr: DamnYankees: The Senate always had this potential.

You are correct, but nobody has done it before, and the Republicans have all but taken a blood oath to abuse this power when they are in control in order to punish Democrats for this. I'm worried that it'll lead to a tit-for-tat retaliation cycle, because I do not think I can overestimate the childishness of the Senate at this point.


Yeah, I've heard those GOP threats. Consider me unconvinced. I'm not sure how the GOP could possible break the Senate more than they already have.
 
2013-11-26 05:08:01 PM

DamnYankees: nmrsnr: DamnYankees: The Senate always had this potential.

You are correct, but nobody has done it before, and the Republicans have all but taken a blood oath to abuse this power when they are in control in order to punish Democrats for this. I'm worried that it'll lead to a tit-for-tat retaliation cycle, because I do not think I can overestimate the childishness of the Senate at this point.

Yeah, I've heard those GOP threats. Consider me unconvinced. I'm not sure how the GOP could possible break the Senate more than they already have.


I think we'll find out, unfortunately.
 
2013-11-26 05:24:15 PM

Mitch Taylor's Bro: I think we'll find out, unfortunately.


Not for another few election cycles, I don't think. 2014 is hard, since they have to pick up 7 seats, and 2016 is even harder, being a Presidential election year, and the year the 2010 "Republican Wave" candidates face reelection.
 
2013-11-26 05:28:09 PM
TFA might be interesting if the 'death of the filibuster' had occurred.

/DNRTFA
 
2013-11-26 05:28:14 PM
Why does this read like someone thinks the filibuster ended for legislation and not just all Presidential appointments except the Supreme Court?
 
2013-11-26 05:29:53 PM
That article was unreadable.  Sheesh.  Where have all the good men gone and where are all the English majors?
 
2013-11-26 05:30:42 PM
The filibuster is still a huge waste of government resources, and sends the message that it's better to go "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" in lieu of actual debate.

Get rid of it, period.
 
2013-11-26 05:31:10 PM

meat0918: Why does this read like someone thinks the filibuster ended for legislation and not just all Presidential appointments except the Supreme Court?


Don't worry, it'll end for legislation in January 2015.
 
2013-11-26 05:33:42 PM

sammyk: Holding a vote to see if they can go ahead and vote on something is absurd.


And up to now, we've had a hard time getting them to do even that part.
 
2013-11-26 05:34:08 PM

elchip: meat0918: Why does this read like someone thinks the filibuster ended for legislation and not just all Presidential appointments except the Supreme Court?

Don't worry, it'll end for legislation in January 2015.


I expect the cloture one to be gone, and them actually have to filibuster with words rather than just paperwork.
 
2013-11-26 05:34:44 PM

MorrisBird: That article was unreadable.  Sheesh.  Where have all the good men gone and where are all the English majors?


I had no problem reading it. Thanks for making me feel smart!
 
2013-11-26 05:40:15 PM

whidbey: The filibuster is still a huge waste of government resources, and sends the message that it's better to go "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" in lieu of actual debate.

Get rid of it, period.


While I hate the abuse of the filibuster, getting rid of it entirely makes the senate entirely irrelevant unless it holds a majority opposite of the House. Being only a potential stop-gap to largely regional interests due to gerrymandering is hardly the kind of government I want. If somehow the GOP should win the White House in 2016 and get 50 seats in the Senate... do you really want there to be no filibuster?
 
2013-11-26 05:41:51 PM

theknuckler_33: If somehow the GOP should win the White House in 2016 and get 50 seats in the Senate... do you really want there to be no filibuster?


Yes. Because I believe in democracy. If the GOP manages to convince Americans to elect them to control the House, Senate and White House, they should get the opportunity to govern.
 
2013-11-26 05:46:33 PM

theknuckler_33: whidbey: The filibuster is still a huge waste of government resources, and sends the message that it's better to go "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" in lieu of actual debate.

Get rid of it, period.

While I hate the abuse of the filibuster, getting rid of it entirely makes the senate entirely irrelevant unless it holds a majority opposite of the House. Being only a potential stop-gap to largely regional interests due to gerrymandering is hardly the kind of government I want. If somehow the GOP should win the White House in 2016 and get 50 seats in the Senate... do you really want there to be no filibuster?


Actually, I want the gerrymandering issues resolved, as that would eliminate a lot of derp. No, I don't really want a power that allows for the opposition to read his mother's recipes for hours to Congress.
 
2013-11-26 05:46:37 PM

nmrsnr: Mitch Taylor's Bro: I think we'll find out, unfortunately.

Not for another few election cycles, I don't think. 2014 is hard, since they have to pick up 7 seats, and 2016 is even harder, being a Presidential election year, and the year the 2010 "Republican Wave" candidates face reelection.


Agreed, perhaps I should've said "eventually," not "unfortunately." It'll take time, but politicians have long memories when it comes to undoing their opponents.
 
2013-11-26 05:48:05 PM

whidbey: Actually, I want the gerrymandering issues resolved, as that would eliminate a lot of derp.


The Senate is just as dysfunctional as the House, and its not gerrymandered at all.
 
2013-11-26 05:49:22 PM

theknuckler_33: whidbey: The filibuster is still a huge waste of government resources, and sends the message that it's better to go "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" in lieu of actual debate.

Get rid of it, period.

While I hate the abuse of the filibuster, getting rid of it entirely makes the senate entirely irrelevant unless it holds a majority opposite of the House. Being only a potential stop-gap to largely regional interests due to gerrymandering is hardly the kind of government I want. If somehow the GOP should win the White House in 2016 and get 50 seats in the Senate... do you really want there to be no filibuster?


Do you really think, it that scenario, that the Republicans would not immediately remove it themselves? Really?
 
2013-11-26 05:51:34 PM

nmrsnr: DamnYankees: The Senate always had this potential.

You are correct, but nobody has done it before, and the Republicans have all but taken a blood oath to abuse this power when they are in control in order to punish Democrats for this. I'm worried that it'll lead to a tit-for-tat retaliation cycle, because I do not think I can overestimate the childishness of the Senate at this point.


They'd have to take over the House, the Presidency, AND hope that the Supreme Court goes along.  And the demographics don't look like they're playing along for the Repubs no matter how much they gerrymander and jerry-rig.
 
2013-11-26 05:51:58 PM

DamnYankees: whidbey: Actually, I want the gerrymandering issues resolved, as that would eliminate a lot of derp.

The Senate is just as dysfunctional as the House, and its not gerrymandered at all.


Well obviously some other rules need to be changed there besides the filibuster, like the Supermajority bullshiat. It needs to be a real place where people work to change their country, not this stupid circus that wastes money and resources.
 
2013-11-26 05:57:56 PM

DamnYankees: EatenTheSun: Did you feel the same way in the 80's?

In the 80s my main concerns were getting my diaper cleaned and not having my older brother pee on me.


Hm, sounds like we may have gone to the same coke parties...
 
2013-11-26 05:58:43 PM

DamnYankees: ManateeGag: *sign*

It's just for judicial nominees for courts lower than Supreme.  Not every piece of legislation that comes up.

Or did that change in the last couple of days?

It didn't, but many people, like me and this author, hope that this is just the first step towards complete abolition of the filibuster.


Complete abolition is probably not best. Some restraint would be nice. I guess if we can't get restraint, we'll have to do away with it.
 
2013-11-26 05:59:18 PM

DeltaPunch: DamnYankees: EatenTheSun: Did you feel the same way in the 80's?

In the 80s my main concerns were getting my diaper cleaned and not having my older brother pee on me.

Hm, sounds like we may have gone to the same coke parties...


I remember you!
 
2013-11-26 06:00:49 PM

nmrsnr: DamnYankees: The Senate always had this potential.

You are correct, but nobody has done it before, and the Republicans have all but taken a blood oath to abuse this power when they are in control in order to punish Democrats for this. I'm worried that it'll lead to a tit-for-tat retaliation cycle, because I do not think I can overestimate the childishness of the Senate at this point.


republicans were going to eliminate the filibuster anyway. Might as well do it now.
 
2013-11-26 06:01:49 PM

nmrsnr: DamnYankees: EatenTheSun: Did you feel the same way in the 80's?

In the 80s my main concerns were getting my diaper cleaned and not having my older brother pee on me.

Also relevant for your 80s.

Seriously, though, the concern about the "nuclear option" wasn't so much about the filibuster in particular, but about using the Senate majority's power to change the rules by circumventing the rules committee and the 2/3 vote required to regular rule change. By doing what he did, Reid set precedent for the majority party to rewrite whatever Senate rules they want to say whatever they want, which could potentially lead to the Senate having a Calvinball-like rule system that changes with every change in leadership.


I'm reminded of what happened to the Massholes after they decided to change the rules on what happens when they lose a Senator while they temporarily had a Republican Governor in office.

Under the existing rules at the time, if Massachusetts lost a US Senator, the Governor would appoint someone to serve out the Senator's term. A not terribly unusual arrangement. However, they decided to change the rules so that there would be an instant election instead.

Years later it bit them on the ass when Senator Kennedy died while they had a Democratic Governor. Under the new rules, they had to hold an immediate election and Republican Scott Walker took away their working supermajority.

Changing the rules only to have the change bite them on the ass is a Democratic tradition.
 
2013-11-26 06:04:45 PM

whidbey: theknuckler_33: whidbey: The filibuster is still a huge waste of government resources, and sends the message that it's better to go "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" in lieu of actual debate.

Get rid of it, period.

While I hate the abuse of the filibuster, getting rid of it entirely makes the senate entirely irrelevant unless it holds a majority opposite of the House. Being only a potential stop-gap to largely regional interests due to gerrymandering is hardly the kind of government I want. If somehow the GOP should win the White House in 2016 and get 50 seats in the Senate... do you really want there to be no filibuster?

Actually, I want the gerrymandering issues resolved, as that would eliminate a lot of derp. No, I don't really want a power that allows for the opposition to read his mother's recipes for hours to Congress.


I think in the case of legislation and SCOTUS noms, the filibuster is perfectly legit, as long as it is an actual filibuster and the Senator stays on topic. Props to Wendy Davis for following those rules.
she would be better for America as a US Senator than as a Texas governor. Not a Texan anymore, but I will follow her political career with interest.
 
2013-11-26 06:06:17 PM

nmrsnr: Mitch Taylor's Bro: I think we'll find out, unfortunately.

Not for another few election cycles, I don't think. 2014 is hard, since they have to pick up 7 seats, and 2016 is even harder, being a Presidential election year, and the year the 2010 "Republican Wave" candidates face reelection.


There's also the difficulty of not being able to Gerrymander entire states. Unless the electorate majorly swings the other way, the population trends are not good for Republicans on a statewide and national level.
 
2013-11-26 06:07:40 PM

whidbey: DamnYankees: whidbey: Actually, I want the gerrymandering issues resolved, as that would eliminate a lot of derp.

The Senate is just as dysfunctional as the House, and its not gerrymandered at all.

Well obviously some other rules need to be changed there besides the filibuster, like the Supermajority bullshiat. It needs to be a real place where people work to change their country, not this stupid circus that wastes money and resources.


#6) my party is currently in the majority.
 
2013-11-26 06:09:04 PM

BullBearMS: nmrsnr: DamnYankees: EatenTheSun: Did you feel the same way in the 80's?

In the 80s my main concerns were getting my diaper cleaned and not having my older brother pee on me.

Also relevant for your 80s.

Seriously, though, the concern about the "nuclear option" wasn't so much about the filibuster in particular, but about using the Senate majority's power to change the rules by circumventing the rules committee and the 2/3 vote required to regular rule change. By doing what he did, Reid set precedent for the majority party to rewrite whatever Senate rules they want to say whatever they want, which could potentially lead to the Senate having a Calvinball-like rule system that changes with every change in leadership.

I'm reminded of what happened to the Massholes after they decided to change the rules on what happens when they lose a Senator while they temporarily had a Republican Governor in office.

Under the existing rules at the time, if Massachusetts lost a US Senator, the Governor would appoint someone to serve out the Senator's term. A not terribly unusual arrangement. However, they decided to change the rules so that there would be an instant election instead.

Years later it bit them on the ass when Senator Kennedy died while they had a Democratic Governor. Under the new rules, they had to hold an immediate election and Republican Scott Walker Brown took away their working supermajority.

Changing the rules only to have the change bite them on the ass is a Democratic tradition.


Fixed.
 
2013-11-26 06:09:36 PM

pueblonative: They'd have to take over the House, the Presidency, AND hope that the Supreme Court goes along. And the demographics don't look like they're playing along for the Repubs no matter how much they gerrymander and jerry-rig.


Umm, I don't know how to put this delicately, but pretty much nothing you said was correct. We're talking about the Senate changing its own rules. The Constitution very clearly states that each House will have the ability to set its own rules, so the President, the Supreme Court, and the House have absolutely nothing to do with it. Also, gerrymandering doesn't affect Senators, because their elections are always state-wide, so districting makes almost no difference (the only difference it could possible make is the amount of campaign money spent in each district, which may have a knock-on effect of changing who shows up the the polls).
 
2013-11-26 06:10:12 PM

Mad_Radhu: nmrsnr: Mitch Taylor's Bro: I think we'll find out, unfortunately.

Not for another few election cycles, I don't think. 2014 is hard, since they have to pick up 7 seats, and 2016 is even harder, being a Presidential election year, and the year the 2010 "Republican Wave" candidates face reelection.

There's also the difficulty of not being able to Gerrymander entire states. Unless the electorate majorly swings the other way, the population trends are not good for Republicans on a statewide and national level.


There is a movement among "Conservatives", (read Tea Party Republicans), to repeal the 17th amendment.
 
2013-11-26 06:11:07 PM

a_bilge_monkey: I think in the case of legislation and SCOTUS noms, the filibuster is perfectly legit


It's also dead as a doornail.

Senator Levin pointed this out to his colleagues before th vote, but was roundly ignored.

"If a Senate majority demonstrates it can make such a change once, there are no rules which binds a majority, and all future majorities will feel free to exercise the same power, not just on judges and executive appointments but on legislation," Levin said Thursday.

The only thing that previously prevented the majority from changing the rules any way they like was a hundred some odd years of tradition.

A tradition that is now no more.
 
2013-11-26 06:11:41 PM

USCLaw2010: whidbey: DamnYankees: whidbey: Actually, I want the gerrymandering issues resolved, as that would eliminate a lot of derp.

The Senate is just as dysfunctional as the House, and its not gerrymandered at all.

Well obviously some other rules need to be changed there besides the filibuster, like the Supermajority bullshiat. It needs to be a real place where people work to change their country, not this stupid circus that wastes money and resources.

#6) my party is currently in the majority.


It would be nice if the government functioned properly regardless of which party was in power.
 
2013-11-26 06:12:33 PM

USCLaw2010: whidbey: DamnYankees: whidbey: Actually, I want the gerrymandering issues resolved, as that would eliminate a lot of derp.

The Senate is just as dysfunctional as the House, and its not gerrymandered at all.

Well obviously some other rules need to be changed there besides the filibuster, like the Supermajority bullshiat. It needs to be a real place where people work to change their country, not this stupid circus that wastes money and resources.

#6) my party is currently in the majority.


It sure doesn't feel like it.
 
2013-11-26 06:12:35 PM

Mitch Taylor's Bro: BullBearMS: nmrsnr: DamnYankees: EatenTheSun: Did you feel the same way in the 80's?

In the 80s my main concerns were getting my diaper cleaned and not having my older brother pee on me.

Also relevant for your 80s.

Seriously, though, the concern about the "nuclear option" wasn't so much about the filibuster in particular, but about using the Senate majority's power to change the rules by circumventing the rules committee and the 2/3 vote required to regular rule change. By doing what he did, Reid set precedent for the majority party to rewrite whatever Senate rules they want to say whatever they want, which could potentially lead to the Senate having a Calvinball-like rule system that changes with every change in leadership.

I'm reminded of what happened to the Massholes after they decided to change the rules on what happens when they lose a Senator while they temporarily had a Republican Governor in office.

Under the existing rules at the time, if Massachusetts lost a US Senator, the Governor would appoint someone to serve out the Senator's term. A not terribly unusual arrangement. However, they decided to change the rules so that there would be an instant election instead.

Years later it bit them on the ass when Senator Kennedy died while they had a Democratic Governor. Under the new rules, they had to hold an immediate election and Republican Scott Walker Brown took away their working supermajority.

Changing the rules only to have the change bite them on the ass is a Democratic tradition.

Fixed.


I swapped my Wisconsin with my Massachusetts :oP
 
2013-11-26 06:16:48 PM

BullBearMS: a_bilge_monkey: I think in the case of legislation and SCOTUS noms, the filibuster is perfectly legit

It's also dead as a doornail.

Senator Levin pointed this out to his colleagues before th vote, but was roundly ignored.

"If a Senate majority demonstrates it can make such a change once, there are no rules which binds a majority, and all future majorities will feel free to exercise the same power, not just on judges and executive appointments but on legislation," Levin said Thursday.

The only thing that previously prevented the majority from changing the rules any way they like was a hundred some odd years of tradition.

A tradition that is now no more.


I didn't say I thought it was inviolable, only that I thought it was legitimate.
 
2013-11-26 06:19:37 PM

BullBearMS: I swapped my Wisconsin with my Massachusetts :oP


Everyone knew what you meant, but I had to do it. Governor Walker makes the bile rise in my throat while Senator Brown didn't do anything to nauseate me during his half-term.
 
2013-11-26 06:21:03 PM

BullBearMS: The only thing that previously prevented the majority from changing the rules any way they like was a hundred some odd years of tradition.

A tradition that is now no more.


Hewing to tradition while the Republicans ignored it didn't work out too well for the Democrats. I think everybody knows which party opened this can of worms.
 
2013-11-26 06:22:33 PM

Wooly Bully: BullBearMS: The only thing that previously prevented the majority from changing the rules any way they like was a hundred some odd years of tradition.

A tradition that is now no more.

Hewing to tradition while the Republicans ignored it didn't work out too well for the Democrats. I think everybody knows which party opened this can of worms.


Yes they do.

The Democrats have established that the Senate is now just like the House where a simple majority is all that is needed to do whatever you want.
 
2013-11-26 06:22:40 PM

BullBearMS: a_bilge_monkey: I think in the case of legislation and SCOTUS noms, the filibuster is perfectly legit

It's also dead as a doornail.

Senator Levin pointed this out to his colleagues before th vote, but was roundly ignored.

"If a Senate majority demonstrates it can make such a change once, there are no rules which binds a majority, and all future majorities will feel free to exercise the same power, not just on judges and executive appointments but on legislation," Levin said Thursday.

The only thing that previously prevented the majority from changing the rules any way they like was a hundred some odd years of tradition.

A tradition that is now no more.


Abiding to your word when making a gentleman's agreement was also a Senate tradition. How'd that turn out again? The thing that would have prevented the need for the rule change in the first place?
 
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