The Republicans were ready to ban the filibuster after we tried to block the most extreme of Bush’s judicial nominations.
Since the Democrats regained control of the Senate, Republicans have abused the filibuster rule like never before. Until 1970, no session of Congress had more than ten votes on cloture to end a filibuster. Until 2007, the record was 58. But since Democrats regained control of the Senate, filibusters have skyrocketed. The last session had a new record of 112.
In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes needed to end a filibuster from 67 to 60. Now, with the Party of No blocking majority rule on virtually everything the country needs, we need to do it again.
Why not? Because it’s somehow a contradiction that Democrats wanted to keep the filibuster (when they weren’t abusing it)? What about the contradiction of the Republicans who wanted it gone when they had power, and now have used it more than any Congress in history?
They’ve turned the Senate into a de facto 60 vote body, and the press has simply rolled over. We have 55+ Senators willing to vote for cloture and then let the actual vote occur.
Why else would the filibuster vote be so hugely symbolic for Senators like Lieberman? Because they know the bill would pass. Lieberman and the Republicans are going to filibuster precisely because they’d lose the vote if debate were allowed to end.
These guys have taken a procedural loophole and turned it into the rule. Why can’t the loophole be closed? Why can’t we ease the requirement to 55? Why shouldn’t it be 50? Because the Republicans will say the word “fascism” again, but louder?
I say to Hell with it all. If they want it to be a war of procedure, use procedure against them. Of course, while the press rolls over for a Republican filibuster, it’ll be BAD NEWS FOR DEMOCRATS if they use procedural retaliation.
So we’re back to the paradigm of chickenshit Democrats vs. batshit crazy shameless Republicans and a press still afraid of being called liberal (memo to press: Unless you’re willing to be a literal propaganda machine ala Fox, you’ll never escape being called liberal).
So somehow we have 55+ Senators, fairly elected, willing to let Obama follow through on what he was elected to do, with a bill so staggeringly compromised you’d expect to see 75 votes in favor, but if a minority of teaparty zombies and corporate hacks
led by Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin, can create a roadblock…
…well, just guess who will get the blame if meaningful health care reform fails to pass?
Really, folks, if you’re worried about the economy, and losing your jobs (which means losing your health care), and you’re sitting around swallowing a single line of bullshit from the Republicans, I don’t know how you live with yourselves or try to lecture me about “real” Americans, or “freedom,” or the Constitution. Recently we’ve had a guest troll try every line he could glean from Limbaugh, and fail spectacularly (and behaving like a disgusting human being in the process).
Every chance I’ve had to corner one of these people and make them stand up for what they say they believe in, and try to get them to explain coherently why I should believe anything they say, it’s a complete blow-out. They can’t do it. They just go running back to their winger friends and assure each other that they’re the REAL AMERICANS WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR WHAT OUR COUNTRY REALLY REPRESENTS AND I DON’T EVEN THINK OBAMA IS AN AMERICAN YOU KNOW…
If Beck, Limbaugh, Palin and the like really represent this country, then face facts, America: this country has jumped the shark. We are no longer serious. We are no longer grown-ups. We are no longer governed by reason. We are no longer wise. We have surrendered to our worst.
But I don’t think they do, and so we haven’t. Yet.