Thursday, January 31, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #93 - Part 5

Outrage of the Week: Harry Reid wimps out on filibuster reform

The Outrage of the Week this week will be short and to the point but certainly not sweet.

Last year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thought he had a deal with Senate Republican Leader Fishface McConnell to limit the use of filibusters. McConnell, to no one's surprise except, apparently, Reid's, burned him on the deal. Reid apologized to members of his caucus who had been urging him to rewrite Senate rules in order to restrict filibusters, especially to put an end to the so-called "silent filibuster" where a single Senator can block progress on any legislation unless there are 60 votes to overcome their objection - and can do it without even having to publicly acknowledge that they are the source of the delay. Reid said then and again after the election that he was going to force a change in the rules at the start of the new Congress.

Well, the moment came and to what should have been no one's surprise, Reid wimped out. He had by all but universal agreement the 51 votes - the majority - he needed to push through a real rule change. Instead, he opted for another gentlemen's agreement with McConnell, apparently having never heard the admonition "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." The deal made some minor changes but left the the rules largely unchanged with the silent filibuster virtually intact and the 60-vote threshold for final passage of legislation untouched.

In other words, it does pretty much nothing. But don't tell that to the Dummycrats, every single one of who voted for the thing on the floor.

Claire McCaskill said "It's a compromise, and I'm big on that." She also called it "progress," adding "we're starting on the right foot."

Carl Levin rather bizarrely remarked that "It'll give great momentum to working on a bipartisan basis in the Senate." Look how well that's worked before.

And Dick Durbin said the deal established "a very positive environment to start this session" while at the same time saying he didn't know if it would make it any easier to pass bills. "It can," he said. "It requires good will [and] good faith."

Did it ever occur to him that if there was already any supply of "good will and good faith," this whole discussion would have been unnecessary?

We are governed by fanatics on the one side and wimps and idiots on the other. It's an outrage.


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