Reid justifies his inaction by justifying his fear of a future time when Democrats are no longer the majority party in the Senate. Nice try, Hari, but your legacy will be that you abandoned a damaged, failed system begging for reform. The outcome will remain continued Senate gridlock.
So filibuster lite remains the accepted practice. Not so far off, the 2106 presidential election looms. With a goal of taking back the White House, Republican leaders will resort to any and all means of maintaining gridlock just to make Democrats look bad. They do this regardless of harm to our country, its people, its perception by the rest of the world.
Reid had said that he had the 51 votes to pass a talking filibuster rule, which would have required a senator to continuously hold the floor if he or she wanted to hold up legislation, nominee appointments, funding federal agencies–the filibuster famously depicted by Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. When the talking filibuster had been in effect, it was rarely used.
McConnell and the frighties go beyond the tradition of the filibuster, creating filibuster lite. All they need do is lodge an objection to prevent discussion of an issue. They have filibustered 130+ bills to date.
Ezra Klein interviewed Reid who responded, I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid (of the filibuster). With the history of the Senate, we have to understand the Senate isn’t and shouldn’t be like the House. If gridlock persists it will be on Reid’s head having passed up a grand opportunity. He claims he had reached a handshake agreement with the GOP that they would not remain committed to filibuster lite if Reid would back away from reform.
So, what does the GOP leadership do? It employs filibuster lite to prevent the president’s nominee for Secretary of Defense (of all the cabinet positions to be delayed with what is happening in Iran, North Korea, et al!) from receiving an up-or-down vote. Frighties say they need to know more about Hagel–who was and is a member of their party–a week or two. This in spite of Sen. McCain’s plain as day admission that blocking Hagel’s approval is a matter of GOP resentment over the nominee’s disagreement with the Iraq War and his description of President Bush as ‘the worst president since Hoover’. Actually, I think Hagel deserves a big party for demonstrating integrity and reason during a time the Republican’s had lost touch with reality.
Sticks and stones. McCain was at his best as a prisoner of war–courageous and resolute. He was far from his best when he rambled about the stage during the 2008 presidential debate and, embarrassingly so when he volunteered that he was befuddled about the economy just as the recession was exploding all around him. He is a continued impediment to progress as he vacillates between nice guy image and behind-the-scenes puppeteer. Why do the dirty work himself when he can send out his marionette Lindsay Graham to do the dirty work for him? With Lieberman gone, it is left to Graham to play the jerk, preserving what may be left of McCain’s dignity. Notice Graham’s resemblance to the Jerry Lewis stooge?
Nevertheless, the greater shame falls less upon McCain and McConnell than upon Reid. The GOP claims it is not filibustering Hagel’s nomination. They merely want to extend debate. Right! Their dishonesty knows no bounds. And Harry Kari should have known that. Actually, he did know that but remains shamefully and transparently committed to his self-preservation, his re-election.
Apparently his shame has not reached–for him–the necessary level of unbearable that the act ofseppuku demands.. What more will it take?
Add to this that a coalition of labor unions, environmental groups, voting rights groups, and progressive legions had embraced filibuster reform. They lobbied hard in the Senate and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote a talking filibuster. Now they’re left empty-handed. Reid let them down.
The power of the majority came this close to reality just a month ago. Unfortunately filibuster literemains the game in the Senate. Passing legislation, approving nominees, and funding agencies, will remain dysfunctional and flawed. Reid passed up an extraordinary opportunity to restore accountability and deliberation to the Senate.