If Only We Could Find A Political Journalist, He Said

Chris “The Fix” Cillizza interviews some GOP types on Hagelology, the fact that we now have Senate Republicans filibustering cabinet-level appointees, and why there’s just nothing you can do…

While the fight over Hagel is consuming official Washington — and enraging the Democratic base — Republican strategists believe that not only are few regular people following all of this, but the former Nebraska senator isn’t someone with all that many allies outside of Washington. “He’s about as unsympathetic a character as you’re ever going to see so the political danger is virtually non-existent,” said one senior Senate Republican aide. Added another GOP Senate strategist: “Hagel doesn’t have a natural base of grassroots support outside the president and Democratic leaders so it’s difficult to see any real backlash developing.” Worth noting: A Quinnipiac University poll conducted earlier this month showed that two-thirds of people didn’t know enough about Hagel to offer an opinion either favorable or unfavorable.

To recap, a political journalist, writing a daily political column for a major national newspaper (if not the supposed political newspaper of record), is openly agreeing with the GOP spin on Chuck Hagel being unknown outside the Beltway and pointing out this fact as if there’s nothing that can be done about it.

If only there was a way that somebody could inform more people outside the Beltway about this ridiculous and unprecedented GOP obstruction, so that more people would be aware of what Senate Republicans are doing right now.  You know, like somebody writing a daily political column for a major national newspaper (if not the supposed political newspaper of record.)  Why, if that were the case, it’s possible that enough people might be upset that the Republican assumption that there’s no downside to blocking a cabinet appointment with a filibuster would be false.  It’s possible that enough people might consider that before President Obama, this simply hasn’t happened before.  These informed people might then go about the process of asking their elected Republican senators exactly why that is.  Those Republican senators may then ask themselves how it looks to the folks back home that the GOP is taking the unprecedented step of blocking a cabinet nominee for the first time in history precisely when the president making that nomination is Barack Obama, and never before that point.

Naah, journalism is hard and stuffWhy would you want to inform people when you can tell them what partisan political operatives say they should be thinking instead?  It’s not like political journalism exists to inform the voting public or anything.

84 replies
  1. 1
    cmorenc says:

    Most people are too busy with their nonpolitical jobs and relaxing with sprots or junk entertainment TV when they get home to pay much attention to the inside politics of Washington outside of election season, barring compelling events. That’s a core reason the GOP can so often get away with beneficially playing the “Washington is broken and irresponsible” ploy, without paying a price for deliberately being a prime cause for the breakage and irresponsibility.

    Would they pay more attention if there was one (or several) responsible, serious news networks or programs? More so perhaps, but I’m not convinced you’ll so easily get a substantial enough portion of the electorate to divert their attention to seriously paying attention most of the time.

  2. 2
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “These informed people might then go about the process of asking their elected Republican senators exactly why that is.”

    Aren’t you assuming that people who vote for Republican senators want anything President Obama/Democrats propose to actually pass?

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    Naah, journalism is hard and stuff. Why would you want to inform people when you can tell them what partisan political operatives say they should be thinking instead?

    You fergot invites to Sally Quinn’s parties and oh so sweet journalistic access. If Chris doesn’t say the right noises no more cocktail weenies on Saturday nights and stuff. And then how could he POSSIBLY be a journalist in Washington DC?

  4. 4
    Poopyman says:

    Why, if that were the case, it’s possible that enough people might be upset that the Republican assumption that there’s no downside to blocking a cabinet appointment with a filibuster would be false.

    And you’re wondering why a member of the mainstream media would not do this?

    Something something paycheck depends on their not -understanding- informing.

    ETA – Wussup with the strikethrough fail?

  5. 5
    Waynski says:

    Time to end the filibuster forever. Period. Full stop. Call your Senator. Call Harry Reid’s office (202) 224-3542. This needs to end here. This needs to end now.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It’s not like political journalism exists to inform the voting public or anything.

    Inform the voting public? No. Shape the druthers of the voting public? Yes. When most people have not developed the Soviet skill of reading between the lines, because they imagine they live in a propaganda free media environment, propagandists will thrive.

  7. 7
    bemused says:

    @cmorenc:

    Driveby news is why even so many liberal leaners have only a cursory grasp of the issues. I would bet money that many still don’t know about the pre-funding manadate on the USPS.

  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Yutsano:

    Oh, yes, and this.

    Definitely this.

    Which is why, when The Revolution comes, the Village gets priority in the tumbrel lines.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cmorenc:

    The only way to get most of the populace politically active would be to cut off their beer and teebee. “No beer and teebee make Homer something something!”

  10. 10
    Roger Moore says:

    @cmorenc:
    I think you have that exactly backward. If most people were paying careful attention, the “both sides are at fault/Washington is broken” line wouldn’t stick, because people could see for themselves what is happening and wouldn’t fall for the spin. Because they’re poorly engaged, though, they’re vulnerable to being lied to by the media, since they don’t have enough information and energy to see through the misinformation. It’s precisely when engagement is low that we need quality journalism the most.

  11. 11
    General Stuck says:

    Cilliza is full of shit, per usual. But the wingnuts aren’t obstructing Hagel with their filibuster, just yet. The sixtieth vote was a “present” vote by Hatch, and Mccain et al is saying that Hagel will be confirmed, short of some smoking gun type evidence turning up before then. And not the kind of made up wurlitzer generated bullshit like this.

  12. 12
    jibeaux says:

    @Waynski: First day of the session’s over, ship, sailed, wave to it.

    The thing is, strategically Republicans are not wrong. How many ridiculous things have they filibustered without paying a political price? If they tried to filibuster, I dunno, Hillary Clinton for something, there would be some public opinion blowback. There isn’t a huge natural constituency for Chuck Hagel, or federal judges, or any number of other things they filibuster. They know that and use it to their advantage. The only way around it was for the Democrats to fix it, and they passed on that opportunity. The idea that the public will finally be so informed + outraged about the misuse of the filibuster that they will demand change / vote the fuckers out is wishful thinking. Sorry.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jibeaux:

    The idea that the public will finally be so informed + outraged about the misuse of the filibuster that they will demand change / vote the fuckers out is wishful thinking. Sorry.

    Furthermore, the 47% want to block the uppity Kenyan sheriff at every opportunity, and this seems like a good one.

  14. 14
    Tone in DC says:

    Zandar,

    I am very glad you read the Kaplan Testing Prep rag so I don’t have to. Or should I just call it the ComPost.

  15. 15
    Waynski says:

    @jibeaux: I’m pretty sure they still have the nuclear (Constitutional) option. The Republicans threatened to use it mid-session in the Bush years. Someone tell me I’m wrong about that and I’ll wave at the ship with you, jibeaux.

  16. 16
    General Stuck says:

    @jibeaux:

    That is not correct. The same mechanism to nuke the filibuster exists at all times. It comes down to the president of the senate, or VP, calling rule 22 unconstitutional and thereby overriding the senate parliamentarian ruling the changing rule 22 takes 67 votes, that instead only a simple majority of 51 is required.

    There is a school of thought, at least for me, that the beginning of the new congress is not the best time to nuke the filibuster, in this case for executive session of the senate.

    Politically, I think it is wiser to do it in the midst of an actual GOP obstruction over this or that nominee, that has some outrageous aura about it. I think it is easier to defend that way. And is why the republicans won’t dare block Obama’s SecDef nominee, only delay an up or down vote for a while.

  17. 17
    LAC says:

    I am confused. When did Cillispza become a journalist?

  18. 18
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Part of the cause for the dearth of good political reporting is that many consumers aren’t looking for information, they’re looking for vindication. A reporter or columnist wishing to keep his or her job will provide that vindication according to the lights of their employer.

    Another part of the problem is that people are most comfortable with a narrative so the media’s first order of business is to provide one and then massage the reporting to fit it. Complexity and nuance are guaranteed to lose most consumers so they’re out.

  19. 19
    JasonF says:

    MSNBC just presented, without comment, a clip of John McCain claiming that John Tower was filibustered when he was nominated for Secretary of Defense. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t — Tower got his vote and was rejected — but the fact that so-called journalists can present such a blatant lie without even so much as a “Well, technically it’s only half-true” is galling.

  20. 20
    General Stuck says:

    @Waynski:

    You are correct. The cloture rule, Rule 22 is one of the standing rules of the senate that tradition says a 2/3 majority is needed to change. Standing rule means that, and is not effected by other rule changes before a new session of congress. Since only 33 senators are up for any election. A state of quorum is constantly maintained and thus the standing rules of the senate are as well.

  21. 21
    jibeaux says:

    @Waynski: Theoretically, sure, but the thing is they weren’t willing to use the much less drastic option, what, two weeks ago? It’s pretty unbelievable that they’ll go for the much more drastic option now. What are they going to say, “but we really thought you weren’t going to abuse it any more. We trusted you!”

  22. 22
    Mino says:

    And what is the reason the MSM doesn’t cover this extraordinary behavior of Republicans? Could it be there are no pictures of it? No extra newsy element of it? Wonder what might get them to cover it?

  23. 23
    Poopyman says:

    @General Stuck:

    Politically, I think it is wiser to do it in the midst of an actual GOP obstruction over this or that nominee, that has some outrageous aura about it. I think it is easier to defend that way. And is why the republicans won’t dare block Obama’s SecDef nominee, only delay an up or down vote for a while.

    Makes sense, and gives Reid a “more in sadness than in anger” kind of cover if he pulled the trigger, but not nearly as satisfying as bomb-throwers like VDE and me would like to see. But then again, maybe there’s a reason we’re not in the Senate.

  24. 24
    maya says:

    Don’t be so hard on them jurnolists. Have you any idea of how long it takes to properly investigate every amenity that each prospective gated community upgrade offers?

  25. 25
    Poopyman says:

    @LAC: It sez so right at the top of his paycheck.

  26. 26
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Mino:

    Wonder what might get them to cover it?

    Maybe we could get Lindsay Lohan to chain herself to a Senator.

  27. 27
    jibeaux says:

    @General Stuck: But the changing on the first day evokes the option of changing Senate rules on the first legislative day by simple majority; not the considerably more controversial “nuclear” tactic, which essentially involves calling the filibuster unconstitutional.

  28. 28

    cmorenc has it. Most people don’t pay that much attention to politics; Republicans don’t care about America, they care about having power, so they make up vaguely plausible talking points in lieu of formulating rational policy on any issue; the media is terrible at reporting the news; so many people come away with the idea that “both sides are to blame”.

    Roger Moore is correct that altering any stage in this self-reinforcing cycle would be a good thing.

    The GOP’s scorched-earth tactics deliberately foment cynicism for partisan gain, according to longtime GOP staffer Mike Lofgren: “By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.”

    And I’ve seen reporters push this exact same line of bull before, Zandar. Here’s Time magazine’s Alex Altman during the campaign, dismissing an Obama campaign web video about Romney’s inconsistency on roughly every matter of public affairs as “essentially a compendium of news reporters carping about Mitt Romney’s evasiveness on immigration policy: With public trust in the media waning, I’m not sure this is the most effective way to mount the case. But it reflects the belief of the Obama team that, at least on this topic, it has its opponent boxed in.” Altman sidestepped the merits of the issue, engaged in cynical, fact-free speculation about the “political effectiveness” of the ad… by writing off its effectiveness because everyone hates the media. Savvy!

  29. 29
    Hoodie says:

    @General Stuck: The Hagel thing seems to be an undercard match, with the main event being the sequester. Are the Republicans delaying in a hope that DoD will look flat-footed when the sequester hits and no one will notice their role in the delay in Hagel taking over? Seems like they’ve degenerated into lighting bags of dogshit on the front stoop, ringing the doorbell and running away.

  30. 30
    Poopyman says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Hmmm. I think we’re moving from Rule 22 territory to Rule 34.

  31. 31
    Waynski says:

    @General Stuck: Thank you, General.

    @jibeaux: I don’t know what they’ll say, jibeaux, but I know what they won’t say if the people don’t raise holy hell about it. Likely? Probably not. Should we throw up our hands and say there’s nothing to be done? I don’t think so.

  32. 32
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Poopyman:

    Hmmm. I think we’re moving from Rule 22 territory to Rule 34.

    Then it definitely will work.

  33. 33
    geg6 says:

    @Waynski:

    Yes, they still have the nuclear option at any time in the session. Fuck ’em. I say nuke ’em.

  34. 34
    Trakker says:

    @Waynski:

    Time to end the filibuster forever.

    No, just make those who want to filibuster rise and talk and talk and talk and talk. It should be available for those rare occasions when someone feels strongly enough that they are willing to do something that requires stamina, not bluster.

    And Reid is a wuss. If only we could clone Pelosi and put her in the Senate…

  35. 35
    jibeaux says:

    If you can’t get your roommate to stop leaving his dirty underwear on the floor, you aren’t going to succeed in getting him to dust the furniture, and you should’ve moved out before you renewed your lease, but you thought you could change him somehow and now you’re stuck with him and his nasty-ass drawers for another year. But hey, at least you have the right to leave your underwear on the floor too. #itwasthebesticoulddoonshortnotice

  36. 36
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Here’s Charlie Pierce with a message for CC’s boss, who used to be Pierce’s boss

    Note to my old boss, Marty Baron, now d/b/a editor at the Post, as I recall from the vaunted “ethics code” you made us all sign at the Boston Globe, and which one of your scrimey little clerks dropped on my head one afternoon, granting people anonymity simply so they can slander other people was bad, bad, very, very bad. Get on this, OK?

    Read more: Daily Politics Blog – Charles P. Pierce – Political Blogging – Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p.....z2Kywn77LT

  37. 37
    Apologia says:

    While the fight over Hagel is consuming official Washington — and enraging the Democratic base

    Enraged? Certainly by now, Mr. Cilliza, you should understand that we expect this kind of reaction from republican leadership to anything the President supports or proposes, regardless of whether they have supported such things in the past.

    And regardless of whether people die as a result. Standard operating procedure and the only playbook (which has expired) that they have. And, by this time, worthy of nothing more than a yawn.

  38. 38
    General Stuck says:

    @jibeaux:

    Not the Standing Rules of the Senate. Of which the cloture rule is one, #22. It takes 67 votes to change those rules at all times. That is why they call it the nuke option. Because, in this case, VP Joe Biden who is president of the senate would rule on his own that the parliamentarian ruling that a simple majority vote proposed by the majority is contrary to senate rules and practices, as well as being unconstitutional.

  39. 39
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    Just to be clear — it’s true that no Cabinet-level nominee has ever actually successfully been filibustered, but it’s not true that only with Obama has a filibuster ever been tried. In fact, Democrats tried it with a GWB nominee for Secretary of the Interior.

  40. 40
    jibeaux says:

    @Waynski: I’m not discouraging you at all. I’m just pointing out that all the evidence suggests that Senate Dems really don’t want to change the filibuster rules very much, and I am not terribly shocked that Republicans will continue to use that to their advantage.

  41. 41
    gene108 says:

    The reason the Republicans can get away with so much is because they have more media outlets designed solely to defend and/or promote their agenda, as needed.

    There is no liberal equivalent to the right-wing media.

    The MSM seems to have been bullied by the right-wing media and has decided to just roll-over and accept what the right-wingers are pushing.

    We live in a pre-regulated public airwaves era now. Each political party needs its own partisan newspapers, TV networks, radio shows, etc. to advance their agenda.

    Liberals need to figure out ways to get themselves into the ear of the MSM, as well as directly pushing their message to the people.

    The liberal social agenda is winning out or in many cases has won out completely. The real battle is to bring the debate around to economic and social welfare issues.

    On this front liberals really lack a level of organizational focus, which the right-wingers have. Liberals run the gamut from wannabe communists, who view profits as a bad thing, to business friendly types, who think wealth should be shared to some extent.

    The right-wing money interests that drive their economic agenda really have a steady focus in wanting to recreate the Gilded Age era economic conditions, which allowed the rich to dominate society and everyone else running around to pick up the crumbs.

    The left really doesn’t have a coherent message, so we end up losing the inherent advantage of having issues most people agree with like raising the minimum wage, strengthening Medicare, etc. to the right-wing media muscle because a thousand discordant voices easily get drowned out by a unified voice with a bigger loudspeaker.

  42. 42
    General Stuck says:

    @Hoodie:

    I think they are delaying because they want to be on record saying this was a bad choice by Obama, if in case Hagel has problems with running the defense department. I think he is qualified for that job, but has a history of not working well with staff under him. I think the wingnuts are banking of this, and hammering him for his statements on Israel and whatnot.

    Especially if he voices a disdain for the status quo in our relationship with that country. Dems depend on the Jewish vote in this country, and especially in Florida. I think they are pissing in the wing, because Hagel is fairly laconic and will be watching what he says as a cabinet member, unlike a senator or former senator.

  43. 43
    Anya says:

    The liberal MSNBC is no better. Did you watch Andrea Mitchell at the TRM show? She was talking about this and said, “The Republicans are not calling it a filibuster, but it smells like a filibuster.” WTF does that mean? Then she proceeded to talk about how awful Hagel was at the confirmation and how he’s losing the support of the generals because he was so bad at the confirmation. I don’t understand why Rachel lets that woman in her show? She’s awful. Then, there’s Kelly O’Donnell, who just repeats GOP talking points.

  44. 44
    BGinCHI says:

    To quote that venerable textbook on politics and life, Goodnight Moon:

    Good Night, Nobody.

    Cilizza is the parasite inside the stomach of the tick on a lazy dog.

  45. 45
    Redshirt says:

    Who could have predicted? And the reason? According to President McCain, Hagel was insulting to the Glorious Achievements of President Bush and The Surge.

  46. 46
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @General Stuck: Though, from what I understand about Jews in America, most of them don’t really think all that highly of America blindly supporting Israel.

  47. 47
    Xenos says:

    Not to go all eleventy-dimensional chess here, but it sounds like all this commentary is missing the larger political strategies that Reid and the administration must have worked out to some degree. Obama knew that nominating Hagel was a thumb in the eye of John McCain. Either he was overly optimistic of prevailing or he felt it was the right time for this fight, and would win in the long term whether or not Hagel succeeded.

    The comment above about the sequester is on to something… making the GOP display their ridiculous side right before the most serious and dangerous battle of the presidency may be part of the explanation of why they let this progress to this point.

    What strikes me here is how McCain et al. have painted themselves into a corner – they have puffed up Hagel as such a bad guy (with links to Hamas, no less) that now they will seriously lose face with their base if they fail to block the nomination. Same thing with Brennan, who is supposedly a Muslim. The base is going to have a complete shit-fit if Hagel and Brennan get through, and they are going to blame the Republicans.

  48. 48
    Sharl says:

    @General Stuck:
    Here’s evidence that Friends of Hamas does in fact exist; yes, it’s a Twitter account, called “Friends of Hamas.” As to the question of Hagel’s involvement with FoH, well my, my, my, lookie at whose face is on the gravatar at that site.

    Proof enough for me!

  49. 49
    General Stuck says:

    @Sharl:

    LOL, the bats are busy in the wingnut belfry.

  50. 50
    Bulworth says:

    Well, maybe a newspaper like the Wash Post only has so much reach.

    What’s really needed is cable teevee station that would be dedicated to news around the clock. Everybody gets cable these days. A station that has news on all the time would be a big hit and would really inform people. Too bad we’ll never see one of those. //

  51. 51
    PeakVT says:

    During Hagel’s hearing, it would have been nice if those Republican clowns we have to call Senator had spent a little more time on North Korea.

  52. 52
    General Stuck says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I am not all that up on what Jews in America think about Israel, other than they likely support its existence.

    But there is no doubt they are much more informed and thoughtful than the wingnuts give them credit for.

  53. 53
    Maude says:

    @General Stuck:
    I think they are delaying just to give Obama a hard time.
    There is no reason to block Hagel. He is qualified for the position. They are gearing up for Bremmer for CIA.
    They are doing it because they can.

  54. 54
    General Stuck says:

    @Maude:

    They are doing it because they can.

    No doubt, also too :)

  55. 55
    Poopyman says:

    @Sharl: I can’t believe it took until 21 hours ago before someone got this up and running, but praise FSM that it’s rolling!

  56. 56
    Waynski says:

    @jibeaux: I didn’t think you were trying to discourage me, I assume we’re on the same side. But Zandar’s original point was about the Village media’s insistence on not doing their jobs and informing the public. We’re informed. We should say something to the people in power. Again, is it likely to change anything? Odds aren’t good. But it’s a guarantee that nothing will happen if no one says a thing about it.

  57. 57
    Dr. Squid says:

    They can’t do that. The brown Republican is having a drink. Of water! News!

  58. 58
    Waynski says:

    From Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog, “…if these bozos go where they seem to be headed, it is time for Harry Reid to revive the specter of actual filibuster reform, not the token measures taken in his agreement with Mitch McConnell. Some think Reid foreclosed the “constitutional option” for unilateral filibuster reform agreement until next year or perhaps 2015. But he needs to pick up the threat for real, shake it at Senate Republicans, and mean it.”

  59. 59
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I tend to learn more towards his interpretation. If the media informs people so poorly, it’s because they’ve learned that people like being lied to. That’s one of the lessons that came out of the sixties and seventies, when all of America’s sins were laid bare (racist violence across the nation, corruption and abuse in the government, what was really going on in Vietnam), and a massive chunk of the public reacted not by being outraged about the events, but by being outraged about the liberals and journalists who had the gall to make them feel bad about their world by reporting on these events. Then along comes Reagan with the feel-good “let’s just sweep all these things under the carpet and forget about them, the REAL bad guys are the liberal media elites telling you about it!” which is really pretty much the essence of his revolution right then and there, and the whole country goes wild.

    Liberal media elites watched and remembered.

  60. 60
    Petorado says:

    I find it ironic that political news coverage has changed journalistic places with sports news. Political news focuses solely on which side is winning a game that appears to be completely disconnected from reality, while sports coverage is less about the games and instead spends a great deal of time on the off-the-field implications of match fixing, cheating through use of PEDS, and the criminal activities of people involved in sport.

    Political news could emerge from the world of BS-spewing once they focus on how the actions of political actors have real-world repercussions for real people, rather than on the disembodied concept of who’s political stock is rising or falling.

  61. 61
    liberal says:

    @Trakker:

    No, just make those who want to filibuster rise and talk and talk and talk and talk.

    No, just end it forever. It’s an antimajoritarian device in a body that’s already antimajoritarian. Furthermore, a full consideration of its history shows that it’s predominantly been used by the forces of reaction, not progress.

  62. 62
    some guy says:

    the hardball way to play this would be to start announcing pre-Sequester DoD cuts, and make it clear they will be closing bases in South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, and Texas. then the next week announce cuts in Maine, Iowa, and georgia. watch and see how quickly Hagel is voted in then.

  63. 63
    General Stuck says:

    From listening to Harry Reid’s remarks yesterday morning on the senate floor, there could well be another reason the wingnuts are mucking around half heartedly with a Hagel filibuster. Reid noted he was ignoring the beating he took in the media by pro lefters and their followers, pounding him for not ditching the filibuster. And senate republicans were simply trolling Reid to see him get some grief from those folks.

  64. 64
    Bulworth says:

    @Petorado: Yeah, that’s kind of interesting. Hadn’t really noticed that before.

  65. 65
    handsmile says:

    @General Stuck:

    And the likelihood of Joe Biden declaring Rule 22 to be unconstitutional is……?

    And the response of the Village media to that decision would be…….?

    Do you believe that de jure Senate rules will trump current political and political media realities?

    Gramps’s and Miss Lindsey’s leading roles in the Kabuki performance over Hagel is in large part a petulant response to Reid’s refusal to honor Graham’s threatened hold on the Hagel and Brennan nominations. (The one on Richard Cordray will be forthcoming shortly.)

    Whether or not last evening’s cloture vote defeat was an actual filibuster or not by GOP senators seems to me to be a distinction without a difference.

    Yesterday I posted this TPM link, ” A Skeptical Take”, a reader’s comment to TPM, that remains in my opinion the best appraisal of what Senate Democrats may expect from the Confederate Party following recent modest filibuster reforms.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/a.....l_take.php

    You have been among the best-informed commenters on these subjects, Stuck, so my tone perhaps aside, these are sincere questions to you if you care to respond.

  66. 66
    priscianusjr says:

    @jibeaux: There isn’t a huge natural constituency for Chuck Hagel, or federal judges, or any number of other things they filibuster.

    That is correct, and the reason is … what they are filibustering (and I include in this many of your “other things”) are APPOINTMENTS. These people have been named to their positions, they are not running for office. If any of them has high name recognition with the public, like Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, that is incidental and has little to do with their fitness for the position.

    All the public really needs to know in these stories is that the Republicans are blocking THE PRESIDENT’S CHOICE. President Obama has very high name recognition and is actually pretty popular.

  67. 67
    jl says:

    @handsmile:

    My political instincts run along the lines of Kthug, so they are probably not the best, but I think if the WH making a big public stink about the constantly changing demands and pretexts of Graham and his ilk, that would make a bigger difference in the short run.

    The media would be forced to cover it, and I don’t think they could bias it enough to fool the public (though I think many of the media news celebs would try mightily).

    But Graham’s cynicism is so patent and obvious, if you follow what he has said over time, and what the WH has accommodated, that the media celebs would lose credibility if they tried to defend his nonsense too much, and nothing is worse for them than losing their cred.

  68. 68
    General Stuck says:

    @handsmile:

    And the likelihood of Joe Biden declaring Rule 22 to be unconstitutional is……?

    Harry Reid wouldn’t attempt a rule breaking change, without first securing Biden’s support for such a declaration. And I have said all along that democrats would not use such a nuke option for legislative session, nor should they. It is an insane and pure reactionary response.

    I do think at some point, if the wingnuts don’t honor their alleged gentleman’s agreement to back off the scorched earth blocking tactics on appointee noms and judges, then Harry might have a good enough case to nuke the rule 22 for executive session, like the wingnuts threatened to do under Bush.

    And the response of the Village media to that decision would be…….?

    Their response would likely dovetail with what it is . Democrats breaking the rules to change the rules. I think it would be devastation for the dem party to do it on legislation, but maybe not at some point for the cloture rule on executive session. But the response should not be a surprise to anyone. It would immediately fuel up the wurlitzer for GOP wails of tyranny, and rally them around their fap pole. And would be doubly stupid since republicans run the House right now, and are expected to hold it for some time. I think it is the supporters of axing the filibuster rule 22 that are the reactionaries, not the wingnuts, who are simply some brazen motherfuckers who are acting like they have nothing to lose. I think it is up to the voters to make a grand gesture choice, one way or the other/ And dems breaking rules to change rules won’t go over well out there in countryside. That is just my opinion. Not to mention the fact that the wingnuts could still shut the senate down via other rules.

    Do you believe that de jure Senate rules will trump current political and political media realities?

    I think Americans don’t like rule breakers, unless there is a very very obvious and immediate reason for it.

  69. 69
    Bokonon says:

    That’s not journalism. That’s taking the GOP’s excuses and talking points and repeating them … for free … with a megaphone.

  70. 70
    handsmile says:

    @Bulworth:

    Your prayers are answered: it’s called Al-Jazeera News.

    Living in NYC, I am fortunate in being able to watch it whenever I wish 24/7, and can begin each morning actually learning about what’s occurring in the world-at-large.

    I realize that relatively few media markets in the US now carry its programming, but with its recent purchase of Current TV to establish the new network, Al-Jazeera America, I am hopeful that many more people will be able to view its broadcasts. And come to understand better how badly and trivially they are served by the American corporate media.

  71. 71
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @gene108:

    This comment is golden from start to finish. Especially salient are the following 3 points, which I’ve re-ordered to show how they are connected:

    The liberal social agenda is winning out or in many cases has won out completely. The real battle is to bring the debate around to economic and social welfare issues.

    My gloss: We’re winning the battles where grassroots change dominates and ordinary people have power (social issues) and tieing or losing the battles where top-down policy is more dominant and ordinary people have little power (economics).

    We live in a pre-regulated public airwaves era now. Each political party needs its own partisan newspapers, TV networks, radio shows, etc. to advance their agenda.

    My gloss: To win more frequently on the top-down policy issues, we need our own megaphone.

    The left really doesn’t have a coherent message, so we end up losing the inherent advantage of having issues most people agree with like raising the minimum wage, strengthening Medicare, etc. to the right-wing media muscle because a thousand discordant voices easily get drowned out by a unified voice with a bigger loudspeaker.

    My gloss: This is why we are having a hard time getting our own megaphone.

  72. 72
    General Stuck says:

    @General Stuck:

    And I would add. I could support nuking the exec session cloture rule if dems orchestrate competently a crisis atmosphere with regards to Richard Cordray’s nomination for the top job at the new consumer protection agency. The reason is that wingnuts have gone off the plausibility reservation for expressing their minority rights, by declaring they would not confirm anyone until a justly passed law by the majority is gutted first. That is beyond the pale, imo, and goes well past the founders intent with giving the senate advise and consent powers on nominations.

  73. 73
    Cassidy says:

    @Sharl: They’re not even trying now. That’s just insulting.

  74. 74
    Maude says:

    @General Stuck:
    The Cordray nomination will be a real fight. He gets in, the agency stays alive.

  75. 75
    Cassidy says:

    And I would add. I could support nuking the exec session cloture rule if dems orchestrate competently a crisis atmosphere with regards to Richard Cordray’s nomination for the top job at the new consumer protection agency. The reason is that wingnuts have gone off the plausibility reservation for expressing their minority rights, by declaring they would not confirm anyone until a justly passed law by the majority is gutted first. That is beyond the pale, imo, and goes well past the founders intent with giving the senate advise and consent powers on nominations lining all those motherfuckers up against a wall in order of shitheadedness.

    But, I’m a bit of a reactionary.

  76. 76
    muddy says:

    It’s just absolutely ridiculous that someone would write a blog post about how much Cillizza and the MSM suck, when the entire situation is clearly the fault of Democrats who don’t watch enough news. These lazy shitty news consumers don’t even do investigative journalism for themselves, or anything!. Get your facts straight, sheeple.

    I’m also quite shocked that after so comments, no one has brought up this common sense. Buncha stinkin’ Obots!

  77. 77
    General Stuck says:

    @Maude:

    The Cordray nomination will be a real fight. He gets in, the agency stays alive

    Yup, and I can’t think of a better or more accurate battle to draw sharp distinctions between liberal and conservative ideology on economics, and whether the people should get priority, or the corps.

  78. 78
    Nellcote says:

    @Anya:

    I don’t understand why Rachel lets that woman in her show?

    Maddow always sucks up to the old timers. See also Brokaw and Dan Rather. Her new doc about the lead up to Iraq conveniently leaves out Tim Russert’s part in the Cheney interview.

  79. 79
    priscianusjr says:

    Everything the Republicans are doing has the strategic and tactical character of a rear-guard action.

    “a rear guard is a covering detachment that protects the retreating main ground force element (main body), or column, and is charged with executing defensive or retrograde movements between the main body and the enemy to prevent the latter from attacking or interfering with the movement of the main body” (Wikipedia, “Rear guard”).

    It’s a metaphor, of course, but a pretty close one. Note the words “retreating” and “prevent the latter from attacking or interfering with the movement of the main body”. The GOP has already lost — badly — and they know it. They are now trying to protect the localized remains of their “movement”. That’s all. As has been said by many, they’ve got nothing. Zip. Nada.

  80. 80
    handsmile says:

    @General Stuck: , @jl:

    Thank you both for your replies.

    Stuck: I must admit I don’t understand your distinction between “legislative” and “executive” sessions in the context of Senate consideration/debate/voting on nominations and appointments (may well be my own ignorance).

    We fully agree that the Wurlitzered-perception of “dems breaking rules to change rules” could be electorally catastrophic. As we further agree that the Village media would eagerly and repeatedly (and almost exclusively) broadcast and amplify “GOP wails of tyranny,” then it seems to me that Reid’s options of “nuking” Rule 22 are essentially inoperative. And would continue to be so whether or not the Senate GOP honors the “alleged gentlemen’s agreement.” In short, will Reid and Senate Democrats ever be able to explain and advance action that they “have a good enough case”?

    jl: I’m afraid I am irredeemably pessimistic that the American corporate media can ever be “forced to cover” anything it does not wish to or chose who will be describing/analyzing an event or action; that the White House can effectively make a “big public stink” in such an environment (the “bully pulpit’ conundrum; and finally and most emphatically, that “media celebs” could ever lose any more credibility than they have thus far.

  81. 81
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Or, you know, Obama could choose to speak in clear, concise language, directly to the american people in urgent evening prime time addresses every fucking week on network television, about the fact that he is being unrelentlessly obstructed in every fucking thing he does, and appeal on that basis to the american people to tear their representatives a new one and urge them to get out of his way.

    But no, he just can’t do that or something…

  82. 82
    Keith G says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Give him time T&H. He is just getting used to this whole “take your case to the people” thing. It’s not his natural behavior, but starting in Osawatomie, Kansas in 2011, he has begun to embrace his role as “teacher in chief”. He got better practicing this during the campaign and Tuesday night we all heard the emotional, they “deserve a vote” call and response.

    Baby steps, T&H, baby steps.

  83. 83
    General Stuck says:

    @handsmile:

    Stuck: I must admit I don’t understand your distinction between “legislative” and “executive” sessions in the context of Senate consideration/debate/voting on nominations and appointments

    It is just a means by which the senate has organized itself, via passing legislation, and the other advise and consent, and ratification duties enumerated in the constitution.

    If you ever watch the senate on cspan, when they are about to debate and vote on a judge, they will note it in that they announce they are leaving legislative session and entering executive session. So it is a way of keeping the two separate and rules and customs and practices that differ between the two. So they could nuke the rule 22 for one or the other and designate it for what session. If you remember when republicans were going to nuke it for judges, they made a point of saying only for judges or executive session only.

    This might help you understand it.

    Split into two calenders

    executive calender

    legislative calender

  84. 84
    Douglas Wieboldt says:

    Republicans are now blocking everything. Including any chance of them being given power in D.C. without substantial reform from within… Virtually everything they do creates a majority for the opposition, and alienates the very people that they are trying to attract. Keep up the good work…

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