Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The "Nuclear Option"? Please USE it, DEMS!
Another kerfuffle has erupted in D.C., this time around Harry Reid and the Dems "changing the filibuster rules" to allow a simple majority of 51 Senate votes to pass legislation and especially, allow eight of Obama's nominations (some of which have been pending for 2 years) to go through. Why the hell is this even an issue? ANY president merits having his nominations, especially for crucial federal agencies, positions, to be approved without obstruction. But the Repukes have made an art of impeding thanks to a bogus filibuster rule only implemented relatively recently that demands a super majority of 60.
This is plain nuts!
How has it come to be that our government is essentially tied in knots, and a measure (filibuster) once used sparingly (as intended by the Founders) is now used at every opportunity by the opposition GOP – and requiring 60 votes to pass anything? The answer is a re-interpretation and casting of the filibuster - from an actual act which one had to perform in public (e.g. reading from the D.C. phone book for 14 hours on the Senate floor) to a passive “intent to filibuster”. As comic George Carlin often framed it: “And since when did this transpire? No one has informed me, no one has told me of this new way of doing things!”
Well, it appears it transpired some years ago in some secret Senate Cloak room where a tacit agreement was made by the corporate-owned Senate sleazebags that “henceforth we shall not actually demand you to get up and filibuster- but shall stand in awe and abeyance as you merely threaten to do so. And we shall call it 'intent to filibuster' and it shall replace the actual standing up and doing!”
No wonder the government is damned near paralyzed across the board.
Now, finally, after Reid punked out back in January and refused to alter the rules when he had the optimal chance, he's determined to finally do it now. Of course, just like the Edward Snowden whistleblowing, the corporate media is going bat shit crazy with hysteria and referring to it as "the nuclear option". Nuclear what? It's the sensible option! It ought to have been done ages ago!
Does the "nuclear option" really blow up the filibuster? Hell no! It merely insists those who would tie up the business of the Senate, or block presidential nominations get off their fat duffs and actually stand and talk as the filibuster had always been intended! (Think Wendy Davis recently in the Texas State Senate over an egregious abortion bill that would prevent it even in the cases of rape and incest.)
Thus, Reid's strategy is merely to force the Reeps to actually get up off their asses and FILIBUSTER, as opposed to phoning in the "intent" from their personal spas! Make them read their bibles, the DC phone book, "War and Peace"….whatever. No MORE “intention to filibuster”!
If you threaten to filibuster, say against a bill mandating a climate change provision for EPA or a health reform bill, or a presidential nominee, then you are obliged to actually get out on the Senate floor and do it – for 57 hours or 57 days (as the Rs had to do it in 1964 when they sought to prevent the Civil Rights Bill from passage)) The weasly acceptance of the intent to filibuster as a true filibuster destroys the basis of functional government and can no longer be tolerated.
The Republicans are lying, therefore, when they assert the Dems are "trying to destroy a centuries old tradition". NO, they are not! They are simply returning that tradition to what it always had intended: that Senators stand up and speak at length to block legislation or nominees, not merely phone in an "intent". Jeezus peace, what have we come to as a nation? Has all the remaining logic, rationality been hurled out the window? Are we no longer capable of parsing BS from actual historical facts? Evidently, for the Rs, we aren't, (But let's also make clear the Ds have been part of this "intent" meme as well, so they can't be fully let off the hook, despite their protestations.)
Will actual filibustering make things messy and take longer to get to the objective? Of course, but that’s the way it was meant to be – and WHY it’s historically been used so infrequently. When you make filibustering neat and tidy – so any idiot can invoke it any time and by long distance- you not only trivialize it but tie up government to serve a bastardized agenda via whim or special (read: corporate) interest mandate.
Reid is supposed to have more "meetings" with the 'pukes and Mitchie McConnell, but he and his lot must not now punk out like they did 7 months ago! Ignore the media's howling "nuclear" this and that, and just do it! The Dems finally need to return the filibuster to what it was meant to be: an actual ACTION requiring active participation - using phone books, bibles, long novels…whatever. Where REAL Senators had to stand up and babble on for hours or days, not even being able to use restrooms (well, ok- they could relieve themselves in glasses.)
Do not let the Reeps or the media force you to back down, Harry! Grow a pair for once and fight for that "nuclear option" because in the end it's the only common sense option to get out of protracted government dysfunction and paralysis!