The Anti-Nancy

Meanwhile, over in the cooling saucer:

Reid noted there has never been a filibuster of a defense secretary nominee, and he called the potential development “shocking” and “tragic.”

Those words should be saved for sudden events that couldn’t have been predicted, like a kid getting run over by a car, or spilling you third Manhattan on a white tablecloth. Filibustering Hagel on the flimsiest of pretexts should be no shock, because anyone listening to Grandpa McCain and Benghazi perseverator Graham could have seen it coming a mile away, and the only tragedy here is that Reid and the other traditionalists (DiFi, Levin and the rest) are always one step behind the Republicans.

We wouldn’t be having this discussion if those idiots had backed filibuster reform. And the notion that a Republican majority wouldn’t pass filibuster reform on their first day, just because Democrats played nice when they had a majority, is fruit of the same stupid tree that got us into the Hagel mess.

Harry Reid doesn’t seem implacably stupid, so I wonder if he’ll use this example to push the traditionalists into finally backing filibuster reform, but, unlike those fossils, I know that I’m engaging in some pretty serious wishful thinking by merely entertaining that thought.

131 replies
  1. 1
    JMG says:

    Reid himself wants to keep the filibuster. It will take a Republican controlled government to get rid of it, and even then it might not happen. No pol surrenders power willingly.
    Obama ought to call the caucus in and say the filibusters, or I’ll resign, and Joe Biden will, too, we’ll make Boehner President and we’ll name names of the Democratic Senators who made that happen.

  2. 2
    shortstop says:

    I get why you call them “traditionalists,” but it seems a better descriptor might be “people whose Senate tenure is older than dirt AND (because not all longtime senators are like this) who put some bizarre notion of inside-the-club etiquette above good policy every single time.”

    I admit it doesn’t really roll off the tongue, though.

  3. 3
    aimai says:

    From your pixels to Reid’s ear. First they showed us, then they told us, then they showed us again. Neither Reid nor the Dem holdouts like Levin and etc… have any excuse not to know this was coming. I only hope that they can pull their heads out of their asses and call Joe Biden and the house parlementarian in for a serious talk and end the filibuster right now.

  4. 4
    TooManyJens says:

    so I wonder if he’ll use this example to push the traditionalists into finally backing filibuster reform

    Absolutely. He’ll do that right after the Republicans acknowledge that Barack Obama is a legitimate President and announce that they look forward to working with him on legislation to advance the interests of the poor and minorities.

  5. 5
    askew says:

    So can Reid revisit the filibuster reform and get a stronger one passed with only 51 votes during session or can he go nuclear? Something needs to be done because Obama has a lot of judicial nominees who can’t get through the Senate as well as multiple cabinet nominees. If they’ll filibuster Hagel, they’ll filibuster the rest of the nominees.

    Or is Reid going to do absolutely nothing leaving Obama to have 2 wasted years with no legislation and no nominees getting confirmed.

  6. 6
    Mike R says:

    Breaking news, shocking unbelievable, Fox eats chicken. Details at 10. Reid sure showed them thar republicans a thing or three. Stern words, that will show them.

  7. 7
    Cassidy says:

    Hey, hey, hey…keep it down. Most of the purer than thous are a few threads back giving each other congratulatory handjobs. You post shit like this too loudly and they’ll come over here and get their “purity” all over the place. You wanna clean that shit up?

  8. 8
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    These guys would have destroyed the plane that Nixon took to China.

  9. 9
    Todd says:

    As I said before, this is going to present some surprising visuals, them filibustering a conservative Republican who term limited himself from the very beginning, who has an 84% ACU rating, who has an A/B+ from the National Taxpayers Union and who was, by the accounts I’ve seen, well liked during his time in office.

    People don’t like mindless contrarianism.

  10. 10
    Tone in DC says:

    I won’t say I don’t believe it, cuz, after the last four years, how could anyone not named Pollyanna not believe it (and see it coming a mile away).

    The level of obstruction in the legislature is even fouler than the Potomac’s brown water. If these idiots won’t confirm Hagel, then it may be time for some more recess appointments.

  11. 11
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Todd: Outside the echo chamber and the blogosphere nobody knows or cares.

  12. 12
    aimai says:

    I’m torn between thinking that the Dems, in the end, will get a regular up or down vote on Hagel and thinking that although you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear here (perhaps) there is simply no excuse for Reid having botched the changeover and fucked up the rules change. He never, ever, should have let his own caucus stymie him. He should have told them he’d take down the filibuster, with their help, for the next two years and “see how it goes” and allow the senior dems to bring it back for a vote in 2014 if they still felt that ending the filibuster was a bad idea. Its not that I think that a better leader can make things happen–but I think a great leader can make things happen and Reid simply isn’t a great leader.

  13. 13
    Robin G. says:

    Reid has shown teeth on a lot of things, but he seems to buy into the idea that these guys he’s worked with forever — Graham, McCain, McConnell, et. al. — are just engaging in the necessary political theater but will do what has to be done in the end. Essentially, he seems to believe they’re just joking… when any idiot who isn’t in the bubble can well see that they’re not.

    If this was the first, or second, or even third time they’d rolled Reid in this same way, I might feel a little more sympathy. As it stands, he’s a fool and everyone in DC knows it. Principle didn’t make him enact reform, but maybe bruised pride will. (Also, I’d like a unicorn.)

  14. 14
    Tone in DC says:


    To me, purity isn’t the result of hands on activity… it’s the result of too much fiber.

    Still, I needed a laugh after reading this stuff. Thanks.

  15. 15
    flukebucket says:

    the only tragedy here is that Reid and the other traditionalists (DiFi, Levin and the rest) are always one step behind the Republicans.

    Or then again maybe they are walking hand in hand and side by side.

  16. 16
    Cassidy says:

    @Tone in DC: I associate it with wankery, but either one works.

  17. 17
    El Caganer says:

    Republicans threatening a filibuster? Hah! Next you’ll be telling me that there’s gambling in Rick’s Cafe.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Republicans won’t have to get rid of the filibuster, because those same “traditionalists” and the McCaskill types would never, or rarely, go along with filibusters. I’m surprised Democrats managed to filibuster anything under the Bush years.

    I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that the idea underlying all of these histrionics is that the Iraq War was a good idea, and “the Surge” worked.

    @Todd: most people have all the political sophistication of that automated DJ from the Simpsons. “Those clowns in Congress. What a bunch of clowns” People who aren’t already engaged on one side or the other, who would probably think McCain and Graham are nuts if you actually explained the details to them, just don’t care enough.

  19. 19
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    The current Senate’s organizing resolution has already been consented to. I don’t know if there is any way that it can be revisited before the next Congress.

  20. 20
    dmbeaster says:

    The fossils prefer their personal prerogatives over policy, mostly. The filibuster has been a perversion of democracy since forever, but somehow it persists. It is the way the Senate rolls and how it distinguishes itself from the rabble over at the House. It ensures prima donna status for every one of them.

    The Republicans have never had to undo the filibuster because the Dems refuse to use it as aggressively.

    I understand the political value of continuing to make them appear to be jerks by filibustering a fellow Repub, but who cares about such nothing burger theater? It gets reported as simply “why cant they get along” nonsense.

  21. 21
    Raenelle says:

    You can’t blame Reid. No one could have predicted this.

  22. 22
    dmbeaster says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: It can be revisited mid-term, but there is that 60 vote problem.

  23. 23
    NR says:

    The Democrats will never get rid of the filibuster, because it gives them an excuse not to pass progressive legislation. It’s beyond belief that there are still people out there who haven’t clued in to this fact.

  24. 24
    Julia Grey says:

    People don’t like mindless contrarianism.

    “People” don’t give a shit.

  25. 25
    Xenos says:

    Reid’s lament is for public consumption only. He knew they would do this, and either he will let them or declare the rules void in this case and override them.

    Obama is not even bothering to nominate judges any more and the Right Wing Media is trumpeting this as proof of his laziness, not universal GOP obstruction. Reid can be tough at times. If he wimps out on this situation he will really damage Obama’s second term.

  26. 26
    smintheus says:

    Meanwhile Weigel has shown that the crazy Breitbart story, widely endorsed among Republicans including some Senators, about Hagel supposedly getting donations from a group known as “Friends of Hamas”, fails the most basic test: There is no such group.

  27. 27
    Todd says:


    The Democrats will never get rid of the filibuster, because it gives them an excuse not to pass progressive legislation

    And somewhere in the night, a hippie cries out as if freshly punched…

  28. 28
    GregB says:

    Luke Russert said that in all his years covering Washington he’s never seen anything like this.

  29. 29
    taylormattd says:

    I realize it’s uber hip to write post after post calling Harry Reid a fucking pussy.

    But perhaps there is a simple, non-tortured explanation?

    Like, for example, filibuster reform didn’t happen because Harry Reid knew damn well he couldn’t get enough people to vote for it?


  30. 30
    terraformer says:

    Of course they knew it was coming. Then, when whatever concessions are made to appease the nitwits, and the next really important issue comes up – say real attempts to do something about global warming – Dems can say, “Well, we had that big issue about Hagel and we expended a lot of political capital to get him approved, so we just don’t have much left for this now.”

    Ahh, the Senate. A daily example in the process of how good ideas are killed, just as intended, masquerading as difficult political maneuvering and arm-twisting.

  31. 31
    handsmile says:

    A request: Could some knowledgeable person here summarize or direct me to where I might find accurate information on what “filibuster reform” options are currently available to the Democratic Senate leadership and caucus?

    On John Cole’s post last night on the Hagel nomination cloture/filibuster, several commenters mentioned “nuclear option” or “executive session,” but frankly I don’t understand what that means in this context.

    My understanding is that Senate rules can be changed only on the first legislative day of a new Congressional term or with a 60-vote majority on such a proposal. The former has already passed by and with current Senate membership the latter would occur when the sun rises from the West.

    With the recent Senate rules reform “compromise,” I believe Reid’s hands are in effect tied until January 2015. (And how much fun any Supreme Court nomination’s gonna be, huh?)

    Any clarification (or pity) would be appreciated. (N.B. I did email Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office on this subject recently, but no response.)

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    Seems to me if you are a paranoid nutjob, mindless contrarianism appeals.

    If you are haunting the day old bread stores and sending the kids off to school with cardboard lining the bottoms of their shoes, you’d want something more proactive.

  33. 33
    wvng says:

    @GregB: Luke Russert said that in all his YEAR covering Washington he’s never seen anything like this.

    There, fixed.

  34. 34
    Tod Westlake says:

    I’m thinking a sternly-worded letter will do the trick.

  35. 35
    MCA1 says:

    Allow me to make myself feel better by putting forth an 11 dimensional chess theory: Reid was faced with two options – (a) reform the filibuster to get rid of the abuses, with the attendant benefits of getting appointments through, but being meaningless when it comes to actual legislation because the House is even more dysfunctional now than it was last session, and with the downside of opening Democrats and the President up to the endless bleating of “Rammed down our throats with no debate” from Republicans for the next 2 years, spread uncritically by the Both Sides Do It But Democrats Are Worse media, or (b) do little about the filibuster, knowing that Republicans would continue to abuse it in an environment where public awareness of their unprecedented obstructionism is starting to grow, including in situations like this where it makes absolutely zero rational sense to anyone looking on, where the optics of Republicans filibustering a conservative Republican to head the Department of Defense that Republicans publicly worship, are horrible. The effect of (b) is either a win politically for Democrats and Obama, who can continue to take his case directly to the public as he did in the SoTU, and be even more explicit about “There are lots of things we could be doing, but those people won’t let it happen;” or a win in that actual, substantive change to the filibuster gets support within the Fossil Caucus (assuming Reid himself has any sincere interest in same himself), and can actually move forward with public understanding and backing.

    Either way, this will not end well for the Republicans. They look like braying asses eating their own, and if they block Hagel they’re going to staring down Tom Daschle as the nominee next week while Obama gets to show up in every press conference and talk about how during a time of war the Republican Senate minority won’t allow him a Secretary of Defense of his choice.

  36. 36
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Q: How many Democratic Senators does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    A: 1, 50 or 60? At this point we don’t really know. It is a Hagelian Dialectic in search of a synthesis.

    Q: How many Republican Senators does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    A: Zero. Republican Senators don’t screw in lightbulbs. They declare darkness as a Burkean tradition and then go screw the middle class instead.

  37. 37
    Napoleon says:


    My understanding is that Senate rules can be changed only on the first legislative day of a new Congressional term or with a 60-vote majority on such a proposal.

    Hopefully someone will point you to a comprehensive source, but I think one way around this is that someone objects to the rule and the presiding officer (ie, Biden) rules it unconstitional, or something like that.

  38. 38
    Narcissus says:

    I think it’s funny when Luke Russert says something authoritatively.

  39. 39
    JMG says:

    First rule of poker is that a loaded six-gun beats any hand in the deck. First rule of politics is that the majority can do what it damn well pleases — if it wants to bad enough. The rules of the Senate can be changed at any time in a perfectly Constitutional manner if 51 Senators feel like it. The 55 Democratic Senators don’t feel like it. There’s nothing stopping Reid from reneging on his agreement with McConnell except a lack of votes — including his own.

  40. 40
    SatanicPanic says:

    Let’s abolish the Senate.

  41. 41
    cleek says:

    the ‘nuclear option’ could be (won’t be) used. an explanation of what that is is far too mind-numbingly boring for me to even attempt to describe.

  42. 42
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Narcissus: I can’t imagine the real reporters, such as they are, at NBC, don’t hate that smug little fuck. I always thought if self-satisfaction were painful, Cokie Roberts would be writhing in agony. I think the same is true for Li’l Punkinhaid

  43. 43
    BGinCHI says:

    @MCA1: I like this counterintuitive thinking, even if it’s not completely accurate.

    If Reid had simply changed the rules without a fresh precedent, there would have been tut-tutting from the media and it would have come out negative. But by acting swiftly on an egregious example, no one will be able to gainsay the nuclear option now.

    GOP filibusters/holds nomination of member of their own party. They can’t win on that.

  44. 44
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Narcissus: He reminds me of those annoying Welch’s grape jelly commercials they used to run in the 90s where this snotty, insufferable kid told you all the benefits of their stupid jelly.

  45. 45
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Narcissus: He reminds me of those annoying Welch’s grape jelly commercials they used to run in the 90s where this snotty, insufferable kid told you all the benefits of their stupid jelly.

  46. 46
    Hill Dweller says:

    The nuclear option won’t be used in reaction to the filibuster of Hagel because several Dems won’t be sad to see him go.

  47. 47
    Bokonon says:

    @MCA1: For that to happen, there will need to actually be some accountability come the next election cycle. Since the GOP doesn’t seem to care at all about national polls (only the polls among their own voters, in their own districts).

    And so far … the American public grouses and complains, and says that it hates Congress. But enough of the public they voting for the same SOBs as before. Or they vote in new, bigger SOBs like Ted Cruz to the Senate (thanks a bunch, Texas).

    I keep waiting for that accountability moment, and it doesn’t come. And enough of the American public is in a slow-motion civil riot to make the nation ungovernable.

  48. 48
    jibeaux says:

    he’ll use this example to push the traditionalists into finally backing filibuster reform

    Ship, sailed, wave goodbye to it.

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    @SatanicPanic: “I AM the Senate!”

  50. 50
    liberal says:

    We wouldn’t be having this discussion if those idiots had backed filibuster reform.

    Wait. I’m confused. According to gwangung:

    A lot of people have problem focussing and figuring out where the true problems are. (Like @Rex Everything: ) Problem isn’t with Democratic leadership; problem is with Republican obstructionism.

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    (thanks a bunch, Texas).

    Have we ever gotten anything from Texas that’s been worth the headache? I like Shiner Bock as much as the next guy, but I don’t need it.

  52. 52
    Corner Stone says:


    Or they vote in new, bigger SOBs like Ted Cruz to the Senate (thanks a bunch, Texas).

    Cruz won’t vote any differently than Kay Bailey did, he’ll just be more vocal about his sleazy stupidity.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    gian says:

    I have wondered since the “fiscal cliff” deal when McConnell delivered expiration of tax cuts for the wealthy what the quid pro quo was.

  55. 55
    jibeaux says:

    @Cassidy: Molly Ivins



  56. 56
    Yutsano says:

    @Cassidy: Selena Gomez?

    :: ducks ::

  57. 57
    BGinCHI says:

    @Cassidy: Townes van Zandt.

  58. 58
    some guy says:

    this isn’t as important as Hagel, this is about judicial nominees. We have had 4 years of a Dem admin and how many circuit and appellate judges have been appointed? This is a long game, and Reid simply sucks at it.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    The nuclear option won’t be used in reaction to the filibuster of Hagel because several Dems won’t be sad to see him go.

    I’m not actually sad to see him go. Except for the unbelievable disrespect aspect at this point.
    The president has a right to his own Cabinet and this is beyond historically ridiculous.

  60. 60
    jibeaux says:

    @Yutsano: HI! How are you! I have a tax question! /puppydogeyes

  61. 61
    BGinCHI says:

    @Yutsano: Roger Clemens and Lance Armstrong.

  62. 62
    emma says:

    Olly@Cassidy: Barbara Jordan.Molly Ivins. Jim Hightower. Ann Richards.

  63. 63
    Yutsano says:

    @jibeaux: Uh-oh…okay.

  64. 64
    some guy says:


    please don’t confuse the locals with reality.

  65. 65
    jibeaux says:

    @Yutsano: short version is there a way to dispute a 1099-misc? It was a pure travel reimbursement from a university invitation, not an honorarium or anything, but rec’d a 1099-misc for it.

  66. 66
    danimal says:

    @Corner Stone: Did someone say, “I am the Senate?
    The time is NOW!

  67. 67
    Shrillhouse says:

    @Cassidy: Stevie Ray Vaughan.

  68. 68
    Yutsano says:

    @jibeaux: Contact whoever issued it. The IRS won’t get involved with that. They only act on reported income.

  69. 69
    MCA1 says:

    @Bokonon: I know. Hope springs eternal, however. The Senate is different than the House, as well – while it’s true no Senator from Alabama’s going to be in trouble over stuff like this, it’s possible this sort of idiocy could make a difference to Kirk, Toomey, Thune, et. al. if they can be portrayed as part of the problem. That’s why Collins has steered clear thus far.

    Senatorial politics is, of course, driving some of this from the other direction, too, unfortunately. Everything Lindsay Graham does is against the backdrop of pee his pants fear of being Tea Primaried. Which will happen, anyway, so maybe there’s a silver lining here in that if Graham survives, he’s open to serious criticism in a general election of his shenanigans here. I know, I know. South Carolina.

    btw, I love the phrase “slow motion civil riot.” Well done.

  70. 70
    Cassidy says:

    @Shrillhouse: Okay, I might have to draw the line here.

    Seriously, just kidding about Texas. You Texas Dems got it rough. And I really do Like Shiner.

  71. 71
    some guy says:

    anybody like Hagel with the huevos to be willing and able to stand to the Israel Lobby, and withstand the literal shitstorm sent his way, will be a Secretary of Defense willing and able to stand up to Military-Defense Complex as he pares dopwn the extremely bloated military defense budget.

    we should all be 100% behind Hagel.

  72. 72
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @jibeaux: Both McMurtrys, Lyle Lovett

  73. 73
    Elie says:


    Am I dense or is there also a down side to eliminating the ability to filibuster when the Republicans have the Senate and we want to block something heinous? Are you all ready for that for the short term gain now? Not saying that there isn’t reform of this that I would like given how the Republicans like to abuse every effing rule, but do we actually want the complete elimination of the filibuster from the tool box of the minority? I allow that I may not perceive all the nuances of this situation that others may, so please edify me.

  74. 74
    jibeaux says:

    @Yutsano: Ok, sure, thanks! I don’t even know if a travel reimbursement is considered income but it doesn’t seem like it should be.

  75. 75
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Elie: Am I dense or is there also a down side to eliminating the ability to filibuster when the Republicans have the Senate and we want to block something heinous? Are you all ready for that for the short term gain now?

    Personally , I was all for getting rid of it back in ’05, and some people say Bush could have gotten SS privatization without it. I’m not sure. but there were reforms that (theoretically) could have been instituted short of elimination, the most popular I believe was called the Franken rule, putting the burden on the filibusterers, ie, they had to get forty votes to maintain, not sixty votes to overcome. Also, the talking filibster, getting rid of holds (I believe they got rid of secret holds a couple year ago, not sure).

  76. 76
    taylormattd says:

    @SatanicPanic: Harry Reid is a traitor for failing to abolish the Senate.

  77. 77
    Punchy says:

    Quite certain if they bounce this gooper nommy, whomever’s behind Door #2 will get bounced as well. Until John Bolton is served up, this could go on for months.

  78. 78
    PeakVT says:

    @handsmile: The Senate has developed a doctrine that says it is always in existence, unlike the House, since only 2/3 of its members are always seated. Because of this “continuing body” doctrine, its rules never cease to be valid, again unlike the House. And those rules currently state that 2/3 of members present and voting are required to change the rules. The “nuclear option” would involve invoking the more basic principle – one that has been validated by a court case back in the 1800s – that a quorum in the Senate has the power to do anything it wants by majority vote (except where a supermajority is explicitly required by the Constitution), which includes changing the rules at any time. The “constitutional option” is a more limited version of that nuclear option that says the Senate has the power to change the rules on the first day by a simple majority vote. The specifics of the parliamentary maneuver involved in the nuclear option can be found here.

  79. 79
    jl says:


    I don’t think complete elimination of the filibuster was ever on the table in the recent go at reform.

    I think the ‘strong’ reform proposal was to require a talking filibuster, that is, other business had to stop while the filibuster was on and the filibusterers (is that a word?) had to hold the floor and speak. In other words, an old style Mr. Smith Goes to Washington type filibuster.

    I think now, filibusters are practically invisible to the public, since other business proceed while the filibuster garbage is going down, and no one has to stand and speechify on why they are obstructing.

    I think that kind of talking filibuster would be a good thing for Democrats, since the more the current insane and/or cynical conpeople in the GOP have to get and talk, the more they will lose support. The news would have less excuse to avoid covering their cynical tricks and prevarications, equivocations and (to put it very politely) fantasies).

  80. 80
    SatanicPanic says:

    @taylormattd: I can’t tell whether you’re snarking with me or at me

  81. 81
    Mino says:

    @MCA1: Or, Republicans filibuster minimum wage increase…

    Or, Republicans filibuster paycheck fairness…

    Or, Republicans filibuster … issues that the public overwhelming agrees with progressives.

    And a real live filibuster would actually get reported in the MSM. Folks might actually begin to notice why we can’t seem to have nice things.

    I know, just dreaming here. But why are all the scenarios based on …killing filibuster will be BAD for Dems? Every thing is already “stuffed down the throats of Republcans”. That is old hat.

  82. 82
    Elie says:


    I agree with you about the talking filibuster. Is that what passed or are we using a lamer version of filbuster reform? I lost track…

  83. 83
    Elie says:


    I agree with you about the talking filibuster. Is that what passed or are we using a lamer version of filbuster reform? I lost track…

  84. 84
    some guy says:


    there was no filibuster reform. that is what we are talking about.

  85. 85
    JPL says:

    OT..While the Senate burns, the President is in GA speaking about early childhood education. He visited a classroom and according to the AJC

    While one kid…said “Welcome Mr. President,” another asked “Are you our teacher?” And a third said, “I’ve seen you on TV.”

  86. 86
    jl says:

    @Elie: No, I think the weakest filibuster reform proposal was passed, and I forgot the details, since it seemed to me to be too trivial and worthless a reform to even bother over or remember about.

    Anyone here remember the details of weak sauce reform they passed?

    Edit: Or did they make any kind of formal rule change at all? Or was it some kind of ‘gentlepersons’ agreement’ BS?

  87. 87
    Corner Stone says:


    Anyone here remember the details of weak sauce reform they passed?

    I think it was the “Gentleman’s Agreement” Reid extracted for the R’s to not filibuster some potential nominees.

  88. 88
    raven says:

    The prez over in Decatur talking about early childhood education. That’s great but the state is raping public education with this charter school bullshit and Arnie ain’t helping.

  89. 89
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @jl: I don’t have any faith in the idea that the talking filibuster would do anything more to expose anybody. Sure, at first, there would be some kind of story about the return of the Mr. Smith theatrics. But the novelty would wear off, like with Space Shuttle launches, until it was just a thing that Washington politicians were doing, ho hum, bunch of clowns. Plus, filibustering Republicans would IMHO be more than happy to yammer on about Benghazi or Solyndra for unbroken strings of hours. I think we’d be back to something like the status quo pretty rapidly. I DID like the reform about needing to have 41 filibusterers on hand at all times, because that seems like more of an inconvenience. Having a handful of Republicans preening for the cameras — that’s never going to be a hard sell. Having 41 together at once doing nothing else? That would get old, even for them.

  90. 90
    PeakVT says:

    @Elie: Keeping the filibuster (which assumes that the Republicans won’t kill it for some reason in the future) is a good idea if you think the future course of events will be such that liberals will mostly be in the position of defending existing legislation, because existing legislation can adequately deal with all current and future problems. I don’t think it is the case that we can be satisfied with the status quo, so I see no reason for allowing a minority of legislators to continue to block what a majority wants to do. (And if they don’t block it, the filibuster gives the 51st-60th least liberal senators the leverage to water any bill down substantially. That’s important because the Democratic caucus will always include several fairly conservative members – with presidential ambitions – even if Democrats have 60 seats.) Making all nominations and legislation subject to a simple majority vote does open the possibility that Republicans will do something dastardly in the future. But I think that’s a worthwhile risk. YMMV.

    ETA: I also think the filibuster is unconstitutional for a couple of reasons, but that’s a separate discussion.

  91. 91
    raven says:

    @JPL: Decatur ain’t Georgia!

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @some guy: no, there was something, but not anything dramatic. I think it was to make it impossible to filibuster some of the steps in bringing bills to a vote, some of the procedural bullshit that McConnell has been doing just to run out the clock on senate business.

  93. 93
    JPL says:

    @raven: If Bozo Boortz were still around, he’d mention that if parents can afford tv sets, they can afford pre-k education. It’s unfortunate the governor was to busy to attend. He’s probably working on his plan to kick the Somalian refugees out of the state.

  94. 94
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @raven: Yeah, the fact that he has bought into the “education reform” movement is one of my biggest disappointments with Obama. Oddly, education is a problem that I think you can fix simply by throwing money at it.

  95. 95
    raven says:

    @JPL: I’m glad Deal wasn’t there.

  96. 96
    General Stuck says:

    You really have no idea what you are talking about mister mix. On this topic. You are sounding more and more like a commom emo prog. Too bad.

  97. 97
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @PeakVT: I agree. At this point I’m gravitating towards the idea that one party having a majority in the senate, the house, and the presidency means being able to do anything that a majority can pass. If you’re afraid what would come from such a framework would be bigoted or environmentally reckless or economically punishing whatever, well, get good people elected and prevent that, or run against it in the next election. Elections, consequences, some assembly required.

  98. 98
    handsmile says:


    Very grateful for your reply and the link, which I’ll now review to get a better handle on the procedure, as well as examine the “continuing body” doctrine.

    @ Napoleon, @ cleek: Thanks for your replies as well.

    About a half-hour ago, Greg Sargent/The Plum Line at Kaplan TPD posted this article, “Revive the threat of filibuster reform, Harry Reid,” but did not indicate what options were available to do so. Googling “Senate filibuster reform” is likewise fruitless.

    @ Elie

    If you have the time/interest, you might wish to search “Merkley/Udall filibuster reform.” They are the two Democratic Senators whose ‘talking filibuster” proposal was recently sidelined by Reid and other senior Democrats who preferred more modest, aka ineffective, reforms. The chickens of which are now roosting.

  99. 99

    @raven: you see this about the Fighting Illini Ticket Office?

  100. 100
    jl says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Good points. I guess I would choose both: talking filibuster and needing to have 41 horses Distinguished Senators on hand at all times to support it.

  101. 101
  102. 102

    @raven: The message is fine. The optics aren’t great. Maybe it is a DougJ level trolling?

  103. 103
    raven says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Unreal. Do you remember that Beckman (the new football coach) had 4 or 5 coaches all dressed in Illini gear fly in to State College to recruit PSU pakyers who were thinking about leaving? For a university with a great J school the athletic association sure has is fucked up.

  104. 104

    @raven: I do remember that. I understand the desire to get some good players, but that’s kind of the nuclear option. The State Penn is going to be back someday and will stick it to the sons of Chief Illiniwek on the recruiting trail.

    Missouri State provides some shade for Illinois with this:

    That’s just ignant.

  105. 105
    TooManyJens says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Oh, sweet mother of fuck.

  106. 106
    raven says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Well, I didn’t like Penn State before all that shit so fuck em.

  107. 107
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Luke Russert said that in all his years covering Washington he’s never seen anything like this.

    That made me sputterlaugh out loud.

  108. 108

    @raven: Nor do I Raven. Fuck them indeed.

  109. 109
    PhilK says:


    Lightnin’ Hopkins

  110. 110
    les says:


    Ok, sure, thanks! I don’t even know if a travel reimbursement is considered income but it doesn’t seem like it should be.

    Anything you get is income; your travel expenses should be an offsetting deduction.

  111. 111
    catclub says:

    @BGinCHI: “But by acting swiftly on an egregious example, no one will be able to gainsay the nuclear option now.”

    Assumes only two major facts not in evidence.

    Plus the problem with the eleven dimensional plan is that in the meantime, the government cannot do its business. (except paying contractors, that always gets done.)

  112. 112
    lol says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Some people are idiots. SS privatization didn’t have a majority in the House much less the Senate. There was so little support that it never even came up for a vote. The filibuster had absolutely zilch with it going down.

  113. 113
    lol says:


    Elections should have consequences. Both ways.

    It’s particularly bad for Democrats because they can get control of the chamber with a huge majority but not be able to do much because of all the obstruction.

    And the public only sees that Democrats control all three branches and aren’t doing anything so they blame them for doing nothing and vote in Republicans.

    The filibuster is also a convenient foil for Ds and Rs to pretend they support certain policies but blame the filibuster for it not passing, when in fact they never have any intention of supporting the policy. Getting rid of it will get them on the record.

  114. 114
    handsmile says:

    This thread seems to have veered off into college football, but on the subject of the Hagel fiilbuster, it appears that Gramps got a Valentine from the White House.

    From TPM (at 2:02pm): “McCain Satisified with WH Benghazi Response, Ready to Press On with Hagel Vote

    “Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Thursday that the White House’s response to his and other Republican senators’ questions on the September attack in Benghazi, Libya was satisfactory. The senior Arizona senator said he is now ready to find a way to end the filibuster that is holding up the confirmation vote for defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, CNN reported.

    “I think it was an adequate response, yes,” McCain said. “We are working on and having negotiations now trying to smooth this thing out and get it done.”

    McCain said he is now trying to get answers to questions posed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) regarding Hagel’s sources of income. If those inquiries are answered, McCain said, there won’t be a need to end the filibuster with a vote. Instead, the Senate could move to vote a straight up-or-down vote on Hagel, which would require only a simple majority of 51 votes to be confirmed.”

    Related to this, another TPM link, “A Skeptical Take,” a reader’s letter to JM which is the best, i.e., grim, appraisal I’ve read on what Senate Democrats may expect now that Harry Reid and other senior Democrats chose not to support more robust filibuster reform.


  115. 115
    General Stuck says:

    As some of us were predicting, the wingnuts were just flapping their wings and banging on their bravado chests about filibustering the Hagel nom. Read the updates, and also Mccain has reportedly backed off what would have been a perception nightmare for the republicans. So the last update to this Huffpo piece, cites Lindsey Graham and Sen Alexander for voting for cloture, although weirdly saying only after the coming recess of one week. Tempest in a crock pot for this ill posted thread.

  116. 116
    handsmile says:

    Here’s the first TPM link that I neglected to include in #113 above, and that FYWP would not let me edit after submitting:

  117. 117
    Bobby Thomson says:


    It is a Hagelian Dialectic

    I see what you did there.

  118. 118
    Keith G says:

    Wait just a minute. Yesterday on a thread right here, I got schooled by a bunch of very serious people who always comment here with such insight that there is nothing that Reid could have done.

  119. 119
    NR says:


    Am I dense or is there also a down side to eliminating the ability to filibuster when the Republicans have the Senate and we want to block something heinous?

    The Democrats don’t use the filibuster to block conservative policy.

    The Republicans do use the filibuster to block liberal policy.

    And yet the Democrats insist on leaving it in place. That really should tell you something.

  120. 120
    ruemara says:

    @Elie: There was limited filibuster reform and a gentlemen’s agreement that the GOP would not block nominations. People claiming that there was NO reform are unhappy that the reforms that most of us would PREFER were not possible due to senior Senators saying they would vote for nothing if those particular reforms were on the table.

  121. 121
    MCA1 says:

    @handsmile: Thanks for the update. I hope the “answers” the White House gave consisted of the following memo:

    to: Sen. John McCain, Arizona
    from: Oval Office
    re: Hagel Nomination, Benghazi

    In answer to your inquiries, we hereby respond.

    1. Fuck off, you old crank.
    2. It’s been 50 months; get over it.
    3. Confirm Hagel, or get ready for Michele Fluornoy next week, and someone gradually more liberal every week until you step the hell off.
    4. Your bestest pal Senator Graham wants to know what the President was doing the night of Sept. 11, 2012. Please tell him the President was making sweet, sweet love to his wife (a concept with which Senator Graham may not be familiar) while listening to the Reverend Al Green. Who was actually out in the hallway, singing with a full band. The President then chainsmoked his way through a briefing on the occurences in Libya before yelling at Secretary of State Clinton in Swahili about having his nookie session interrupted, before immediately turning his attention toward not investigating the matter further because the deaths of American diplomats just isn’t important to him, yo.
    5. Again, fuck off.

  122. 122
    priscianusjr says:

    Dear Mister Mix,
    There’s this great blog called Balloon Juice, and they had a cool discussion basically about why the filibuster reform fizzle was really NOT Harry Reid’s fault. General Stuck was on fire. I wonder if you saw it? It was yesterday.

  123. 123
    Mino says:

    Aaaaand, the Republicans filibuster Hagel.

    And Carl Levin, Carl Levin, goes to the floor and gets huffy.

  124. 124
    lojasmo says:

    Huh. They didn’t get the 41 votes needed to fillibuster, but there was STILL no votes. WHat two fuckwits didn’t vote?

  125. 125
    MCA1 says:

    @lojasmo: They had their 40, and one present vote in the form of Orrin Hatch, to keep it at 59 yeas. Reid ended up switching his vote to no so that procedurally he can call for another vote after the holiday, when Graham and McCain have finally promised to be finished jerking off to their Benghazi porn.

  126. 126
    General Stuck says:


    Here is a good explanation of what is going on with this vote. It is actually, republicans using the filibuster or cloture rule as it is supposed to be used. A delay tactic, rather than to kill a nominee or bill. A delay tactic to extract more information from the administration on whatever. They made it clear it is not a permanent blockage. Hagel will be confirmed, unless the nutters come up with information that even dems agree is enough for Hagel to not be confirmed.

    This situation is noteworthy for two reasons. First, that Harry Reid refused to honor the “hold” put on Hagel, and second the different use of the filibuster or cloture rule. Both are recent firsts.

  127. 127
    Elie says:

    @General Stuck:

    thanks Stuck — gotta think about this deeper. Its more complex than it looks on the surface… Unfortunately, the surface is what lots of folks like

  128. 128
    General Stuck says:

    you are very welcome Elie :)

  129. 129
    El Cid says:

    I’m pretty sure that anyone who thinks that Reid’s choice on filibuster reform was anything other than the ideal possible in any knowable real world is a firebagger or emoprog or some other derogatory term, which I could prove via as many inflated harrumphs as necessary.

  130. 130
    TG Chicago says:

    Harry Reid doesn’t seem implacably stupid

    So he’s, what… placably stupid?

    ETA: Okay, maybe he was baiting Republicans to do this, to prove that they would do something totally unprecedented. If that’s the case, I’ll stop giving hell to Harry. But I have my doubts.

  131. 131
    LanceThruster says:

    Am I wrong to think of the Senate Dems as yapping little dogs with an attitude of “Let me at ’em!” who run for cover when given the opportunity?

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