DROP A BOMB
Thursday, 21 November 2013, a day that will live in infamy. When the United States Senate approved a so-called nuclear option, in a 52-48 vote, three Democrats — Mark Pryor (AR), Carl Levin (MI) and Joe Manchin (WV) — joined Republicans opposing the move. All the ‘Yes’ votes were Democratic. In other words, the majority voted themselves greater power to bully the minority. This rule change would bestow the same power on future Congresses, even if the balance switches, so it might wind up biting them in their Democratic ass.
Predictably, one newspaper reported that the vote was “mostly along party lines,” apparently because not every Democrat voted for it.
This vote is the biggest attack on representative government since passage of the Seventeenth Amendment, which enables senile racist dimwits like Harry Reid to remain in the Senate interminably. [26 years and counting]
A simple majority vote can now approve executive-branch nominees and any judgeship below the Supreme Court, ending filibusters, as portrayed in the movie classic, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
“What is the choice?” Reid asked. “Continue like we are or have democracy?” The Senate is not a democracy, certainly not under Harry Reid. Harder to recall these days is that the US is a republic, where minority rights were protected by a system of checks and balances.
Number Two Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, said the rule change would end “the checks and balances which have been at the core of this Republic.” But that was way back in 2005, when Republicans were weighing this option, and rejected it, prompting Schumer to thank God.
Now that Democrats have used it, Chuck says, “We’d much prefer the risk of up-or-down votes and majority rule than the risk of continued total obstruction. That’s the bottom line no matter who’s in power.” So it’s a matter of preference? Earlier this year, he promised a Democratic dinner that “we will fill up the DC Circuit, one way or the other.” That court adjudicates important cases on issues like the Unaffordable Care Act. While there are “openings,” the court’s workload has decreased over the years, so additional judges are not needed, except as a way to get more favorable decisions from predisposed judges, who could not get Senate approval from a super-majority. That is called packing a court to get decisions you prefer.
Fresh off his health-care backtracking, the Liar-In-Chief addressed the vote in an Oval Office statement. Acknowledging that “neither party has been blameless for these tactics,” he said, “today’s pattern of obstruction… just isn’t normal; it’s not what our founders envisioned.” Was government intrusion into health-care part of that vision?
He claimed filibusters against his appointments and judicial nominees were based simply on opposition to “the policies that the American people voted for in the last election.” That may be his opinion. I believe Americans did not vote for Obama's policies, they voted against Romney, who was vilified by the Obama campaign, even before he was the Republican nominee. Policy discussion was skirted by Obama during the 2012 election cycle, with a little help from his compliant press.
In his White House remarks, Obama called the use of the filibuster over the past five years “an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress that’s prevented too much of the American people’s business from getting done.” Adding that the tactic has blocked bipartisan compromises, prevented qualified people from filling critical posts and stymied legislation to create jobs and limit gun violence, he said: “It's harmed our economy, and it’s been harmful to our democracy.” He forgot amnesty for millions of illegal aliens he hopes will become Democratic voters. And “qualified people” — really?
I'd say, “what a load of crap,” if it wasn't simply Obama being Obama. No one has been more partisan, less responsive and less compromising as the current President of the United States. No one comes close. Proving my point, he did not take questions after his remarks.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring said, “Vulnerable Democrats have a massive credibility problem. Whether it’s Obamacare, taxes, spending, balanced budgets, immigration, the Second Amendment or now the nuclear option, they’ve been on both sides of so many issues and made promises that they’ve since broken.” Brad added, “A lack of credibility and competence will be a theme that dogs these Democrats.”
The vote reverses nearly 225 years of precedent and transforms the power balance for future Democratic, Republican and independent presidents, especially if their own political party holds a majority of, but fewer than 60, Senate seats.
Democrats unapologetically patted themselves on the back. “This is a terrific vote for the U.S. Senate,” according to Senator Jeff Merkley (OR-Dem) “The Senate is a cooling saucer, but never was the Senate intended to be a deep freeze.” Cute.
Believe the rumour. No one’s a bigger dick than Schumer, who piled it on, saying, “The age-old rules of the Senate are being used to paralyze us.” Also, “the public is asking is begging us to act.” Absurd, even coming from the Senate’s star buffoon. Most Americans do not follow, or understand, the body’s arcane rules, which is the Democratic party’s fervent hope for 2014.
Accused of trying to shift the focus off the Obamacare fiasco, Schumer whined, “We are not changing the subject today, he is,” referring to Mitch McConnell. “He doesn’t want to discuss the dysfunction and the way Republicans have used the rules to tie this place into one big knot.”
In 2008, Senator Reid swore that as long as he was leader, he would never turn to the nuclear option, saying it would be a “black chapter in the history of the Senate.” Now he says, “The American people believe Congress is broken. The American people believe the Senate is broken… It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.”
Too late for that, Harry. But your retirement would help.
©2013 GT Slade / Gary Tutin
The author is a registered Libertarian commentator on music, politics and life's foibles.
A former registered Democrat (for political expedience). Definitely not a Republican.
Read more in the: L.A. Times.