As the media whiners exhibit their usual shtick, which is abundant cluelessness, the Dem Party and Sen. Harry Reid merit commendations for finally growing a pair in the (52-48) passage of the so-called "nuclear option" (another media term). Does the nuclear option imply blowing up everything with a tactical nuke? Of course not! It merely means putting sense and rationality back into the Senate Filibuster - which the Reepos have used to block most of Obama's judicial appointments.
At this rate, and if somehow these rabid warthogs take the Senate next year, it would mean none of Obama's current appointees get through. Hence, Reid had little choice other than to exercise this filibuster change. Even so, despite the media's hysterics - as on 'Morning Joe' this morning- the filibuster change is limited: it only applies to current appointees, not to any Supreme Court nominees, and not to any legislation. In other words the Reeps still have 90% control over who and what gets through.
Reid's measure was also needed to show that government is not totally paralyzed, and believe me it is if a sitting President's own nominations can't get through because the other side has opted to be 100 percent obstructionist.
Nearly 5 months ago I also warned about this, and that some kind of change was necessary. ('The Nuclear Option? PLEASE Use it, Dems!', July 16). As I wrote:
"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!"
And it is! Given Obama's appointments have been blocked at a rate far exceeding any other president's.
How has it come to such disruption?
The process over time became perverted from the intent of the framers of the Constitution- who viewed the filibuster only as an extreme measure to disrupt or impede the passage of legislation. They also envisaged would only be used sparingly so they demanded the Senator(s) who would prevent legislation actually stand on the Senate floor and occupy time by discoursing at length about their reasons- or reading from some extensive source. For a fictional portrayal, see the Jimmy Stewart movie, 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington'- wherein Stewart's character had to speechify until literally blue in the face to attempt to halt a vote.
And now? The requirement that an objecting Senator "hold the floor" has gone the way of coonskin caps and muskets. Today, in these times, an objecting Senator need only place a cell phone call from his jacuzzi in the Senate gym and make clear his "intent to filibuster". The expedient and efficient has overtaken Constitutional principle and the result? Gridlock!
Made worse, is the demand for a supermajority of 60 votes - as opposed to the 51 always required before.
Does the "nuclear option" really blow up the filibuster? Hell no! It merely requires the simple majority of 51 to get a filibuster through. In other words it removes the insanely high hurdle of 60 votes which amounts to a blatant vote obstruction - used by a rabid minority to try to eviscerate the nominations of a president they despise.
In their screeching the hyper-ventilating media insists this will "come back to bite the Dems" and that may well be. If so, we will cross that bridge when we get to it. The point is we can't NOW have 76 Obama nominees, already held up an average 147 days, ending up in a limbo - essentially neutering Obama's administration for the rest of its duration.
The Reepos, true to their lying ways - insist they "will lose leverage" but that is bollocks. They can have any leverage they want so long as it passes muster at the 51 vote level.
If they had any sense, they'd understand this bespeaks the opportunity for the "bipartisanship" they are always yapping about. After all, if they can get even 4 Dems to vote with them - say from the conservative phalanx that includes Max Baucus et al, they can get their filibuster. They just can't use 60 votes as a permanent threshold to block any and all nominees.
If they don't like it, fuck 'em! That goes for the corporate media blabbers too!