Third Party & Independents Archives

Democrats Flip The Switch

In a surprise move today, Senate Democrats employed the Nuclear Option in the Senate, the option they previously fought against when in the minority, changing the way the Houses of government work at the Federal level. By changing the rules on filibustering from requiring a 60-vote threshold to end debate to only a simple majority the Senate Democrats have taken away the one last ability for a party in the minority to have an effect on how the body operates which will cause even more partisanship in our already dysfunctional Federal government.

And the worse part is that all they do is give themselves a few days. Actual filibusters are rarely longer than 12 hours and never over 24 hours. Unfortunately, the Senate changed rules to allow threats of filibusters to shelve legislation indefinitely because the Senate didn't want to be bothered with allowing the rarely used filibuster to actually occur.

To be clear, the change only applies to executive and judicial nominees, not Supreme Court nominees. It doesn't affect the rest of the legislation in the Senate, so the damage is less severe than it could have been, but it is a sign that the Democrats are simply so frustrated with not getting their way without trying to appease the minority in any single notable way that they are basically throwing a tantrum.

Mitch McConnell was not elated with this action.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Reid "promised over and over again that he wouldn't break the rules of the Senate to change the Senate."

"When Democrats were in the minority they argued strenuously for the very thing they now say we will have to do without, namely the right to extend a debate on lifetime appointments. In other words they believe that one set of rules should apply to them and another set to everybody else," he added.

...

The beauty of the way the Senate works, as opposed to the House, is that the minority has more power. The filibuster, a 60 vote hurdle, was one of the biggest weapons in the minority's arsenal.

And that's the real change, checks and balances are important especially in a country where the simple majority is not supposed to be able to run roughshod over the minority of opinion. Not without debate occurring. And while you hear time and time again that the Senate is 'broken' because of the number of pocket filibusters going on, you have to remember why they are filibustering. The filibuster is the ONLY WAY that the minority in the Senate can ensure that ramming bills through the chamber without adequate, or any, debate doesn't occur.

Unfortunately, this is what Majority Leader Reid has been doing.

Frequency of Filling the Amendment Tree. Historically, Majority Leaders have used this tactic sparingly. According to a Senate Republican Policy Committee paper in April 2010, "Majority Leader Reid has used this technique to prevent the Senate from considering amendments 26 times, more than any other Majority Leader in history, the same number as the previous four Majority Leaders combined."

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) estimated that Reid had used this tactic 40 times as of September 21, 2010, more than all the other Majority Leaders preceding him. Senator Reid used this tactic an estimated 44 times in four years.

Reid is quoted as saying, "This isn't a new method that I dreamed up. Anytime there is an election there is not a leader who is dumb enough to put a bill on the floor that is subject to amendments." While this may explain Reid's frequent use of this tactic, it does not justify it. In fact, it is contrary to the Senate's open process of allowing amendments, which allows Senators to participate in the legislative process.

Furthermore, use of this tactic motivates Senators of the minority party to filibuster because that is the only defense against the Majority Leader's filling of the amendment tree. For example, during consideration of the defense authorization bill on September 21, 2010, Senators used a filibuster to protect their right to offer amendments. On the previous day, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) criticized Senator Reid's announced intention of blocking all amendments to the bill except for three:

"First and foremost, the Senate should have the ability to debate more than the three amendments the Majority Leader is allowing, especially as this bill is the largest discretionary authorization measure that Congress considers, that the bill describes the policies and programs that provide resources and direction to the nearly 2.4 million men and women of the military--active, reserve and civilians, including the courageous Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that two of the three amendments don't even relate to the military. It is therefore imperative that Senate deliberations on the defense bill be conducted without limitations and in a manner that allows for the consideration of all related amendments that Senators may wish to offer"

Senator Snowe and other Members subsequently banded together to vote against commencing debate on the bill because they knew that they would not be allowed to offer any amendments on the measure. Regrettably, such situations were much too common in the 111th Congress.

Again, today's vote changes the rules only for judicial nominees, but it signals a change in the Senate that may lead to further dysfunction. If these rules were to get applied to more and more situations, the ability to just ram legislation through without debate becomes easier. And when the shoe is on the other foot, you can rest assured that the Democrats, as they did previously, will demand that it be changed back so that they can protect themselves from exactly what they are doing today.

The real issue here is why both parties are acting so badly as to warrant the change in the rules to begin with. From an ineffective Republican Party who fails miserably at getting their message across or convincing their own to operate in a cohesive united group to an overzealous Democratic Party using the Federal government as some sort of catharsis over the few years that they were out of power, attempting to ram bill after bill through the body without being called out on their machinations, allow the other side to have any say or having to attempt to convince any opposing party member to agree with them, both parties are to blame.

Unfortunately, this doesn't fix anything, it just makes matters worse, makes the institution more partisan and more open to the type of dysfunction that we have been witnessing for the past several years. In the end, we are all going to be worse off for it as more legislation will get passed without proper debate or consideration for what the whole of the country wants or will accept.

But I'm sure the Democrats will claim this as a victory at a time when they are needing to feel good about something in Washington, DC.

Posted by Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 1:48 PM
Comments
Comment #374458

Thank the stars and hallelujah, Harry Reid did it. This could lead to more dysfunction? It couldn’t get any more dysfunctional than yesterday’s legislative body, that changed today for the better. If the Republican party ever does get a majority, not likely once the benefits of the PPACA have been in place and the voting public understands and experiences the advantages, they will use the same tactics. This is politics, the rules are decided upon by the representatives that the electorate put in place. All of this hand wringing and teeth gnashing is the kabuki part of how this country is governed. Now let’s get some nominees approved and in place so they can get to helping this country to be all that it can be.

Posted by: Speak4all at November 21, 2013 3:03 PM
Comment #374459

This was not a surprise move.

When this same issue came up in the previous administration, the two sides reached an agreement, and the Democrats observed the terms while in the Senate minority. During the current administration, the issue has come up more that once. The two sides made agreements, and the Republicans ignored their commitment. Finally, the Democrats had taken enough abuse to do something. Reid warned this would happen. Feinstein warned this would happen. Leahy warned this would happen.

This was not a surprise move.

The federal judiciary consists of an equal number of Democratic and Republican nominees, about 300 each. Right now there are 93 vacancies being blocked by the GOP, including three on the second most important court in the country, the DC Court of Appeals (currently evenly split, with three openings).

Elections have consequences. The Constitution does not require supermajorities in many cases- it actually enumerates only seven cases which require that, with everything else to be decided by majority votes. The filibuster exists only as result of a rule made by the Senate, and it can be changed by the Senate. Reid did a parliamentary maneuver to maintain the option of changing the rules, and repeatedly warned the GOP to stop blocking every appointment. They made a deal, and the GOP then ignored the deal, and blocked even more.

Senator Graham poured gasoline on the fire by threatening to block everything from here on in unless something-to-do-with-Benghazi was made a primary issue. Sadly, Graham based his Benghazi outrage on the story of a fabricator. CBS News and 60 Minutes retracted their story and admitted they had been had. FOX gave extensive coverage to the fabricator and the made-up story, but never did inform their viewers of the retraction.

Senator Rand made matters even worse with Yellin, the Federal Reserve appointment.

The GOP was absolutely foolish not to relent. They could have handed over power in the DC Court of Appeals while blocking the other 90 appointments. But that court is very important; among other things, it serves as a primary role of attack on health care reform.

It did not need to come to this.

But it was NOT a surprise.

Posted by: phx8 at November 21, 2013 3:06 PM
Comment #374460

IMO, the liberal Democrats are acting like they don’t think they will lose the majority again for a long long time. I think they believe the people are embracing all the lies and propaganda they spew about the Tea Party, and that the Republican Party is so divided that it cannot be repaired in the near future.

Sadly, I think their total disregard for procedure, laws and the Constitution is only going to get worse.

Posted by: kctim at November 21, 2013 3:09 PM
Comment #374461

BTW, some of the articles by the Democrats and Republicans from 2005 concerning the Nuclear Option.

Bert M Caradine
http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/002204.html

Take away the foot brake (the Bush White House) and the emergency brake (a sense of reality in the Republican Party?), and a convergence of pressures will soon align behind the detonation of ‘the nuclear option’: unchecked by a gutless GOP, Tom DeLay will carry the public banner for the only party constituency that has not yet abandoned him; focusing solely on supporting the non-existent principles of eliminating the Senate filibuster, leading, non-wing nut Conservative thinkers (George Will, NYTimes’ David Brooks) will offer cover, while ignoring the Randall Terrys’ steering the bandwagon; and, a burned and insolent Conservative Echo Chamber, having endured the bitter taste of defeat and bad polling numbers waved in their faces, will pull out all the stops to stick it to a perceived, gloating Left blogsphere and Democratic Party.

Paul Siegel
http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/002300.html

Norman Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who studies the history and ways of the Senate as an institution, states in glaringly obvious terms, that the “nuclear option” is against Senate rules:

“To make this happen, the Senate will have to get around the clear rules and precedents, set and regularly reaffirmed over 200 years, that allow debate on questions of constitutional interpretation—debate which itself can be filibustered. It will have to do this in a peremptory fashion, ignoring or overruling the Parliamentarian. And it will establish, beyond question, a new precedent. Namely, that whatever the Senate rules say—regardless of the view held since the Senate’s beginnings that it is a continuing body with continuing rules and precedents—they can be ignored or reversed at any given moment on the whim of the current majority.”

These points are clear:

* The filibuster has been around for over 200 years
* To stop a filibuster requires 60 votes.
* To change a rule requires a 2/3 majority - 67 votes.
* Before changing a rule, you must allow a filibuster about it

If you do not know the rules, ask the parliamentarian, who has already said that a rule change would require 67 votes.
Ornstein makes another point clear:

“Ignored in this argument has been Senate Rule XXXI, which makes clear that there is neither guarantee nor expectation that nominations made by the president get an up-or-down vote, or indeed any action at all.”

There you have it. The “nuclear option” is nothng but a power play.

Chops
http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/002288.html

However, another rule change was made in 1975 that is, I believe, the root of our current confrontation: the real filibuster was abolished. Instead of senators actually standing before the body and speaking for hours and hours on end, reciting poems, reading the Constitution, and sharing homebrew liquor recipes, they just raise their little placards to indicate that they intend to filibuster.

Both sides in the current debate have a valid point. As Senator Frist points out, the Democrats have set a new precedent in partisanship by filibustering judicial nominees. As Senator Reid points out, the Republicans are poised to make it dangerously difficult to prevent even the slimmest of Senate majorities from pushing through its agenda.

Bringing back the real filibuster - the one with the homebrew liquor recipes - would solve all of our problems. The Democrats would be forced to choose their battles. Not only is it physically taxing to speak for hours on end, it also makes for bad C-SPAN2 and bad politics. Senators would have to use the filibuster judiciously to avoid being seen (accurately?) as obstructionists.

Paul Siegel
http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/002296.html

The Democratic framework should be “cooperation.” We do not want to win as Democrats but to win for all Americans, not merely an elite few. We abhor polarization. We do think of America as a family. We do believe we have to work together. We do conceive of the common good as something that benefits the country as a whole. We do want people of all religions and of no religion to live in harmony. We prefer to have people exercise their own religious consciences, rather than being coerced by a dominant religious group. We do believe in diplomacy first in all international relations. We do think that security comes from making friends and not from making enemies.

“We’re in this together” is our big idea. “Let’s talk it over” is our motto. “The common good” is our goal.

I hope Democrats adopt the framework of cooperation.

Stephen Daughtery
http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/002286.html

A senators job is to vote? It’s to think. To act in the best interests of those they represent. It’s not their job to act as the executive branches rubber-stamp, especially not this one. The Republicans are taking a small majority and using it to push every issue they can on the rest of us. If the poor dears don’t get every confirmation they want, that’s just too bad. They should consider that maybe our founding fathers wanted folks to get in each others way, to curb the kind of political excesses that come of having people constantly getting their way.
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 3:22 PM
Comment #374462

As Paul stated 8 years ago:

* The filibuster has been around for over 200 years
* To stop a filibuster requires 60 votes.
* To change a rule requires a 2/3 majority - 67 votes.
* Before changing a rule, you must allow a filibuster about it.

Or, just be Harry Reid and do what you want.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 3:25 PM
Comment #374463

phx8, harken back to what Paul wrote in 2005:

Ornstein makes another point clear:

“Ignored in this argument has been Senate Rule XXXI, which makes clear that there is neither guarantee nor expectation that nominations made by the president get an up-or-down vote, or indeed any action at all.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 3:27 PM
Comment #374464

This will come and bite Harry and his Democrats in the A** some day soon.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at November 21, 2013 3:32 PM
Comment #374465

Rhinehold

If a rule change requires a 2/3 of the senate to approve the change, how was Reid able to do it without meeting that threshold ? My next question would be, if this rule change is in fact a violation of senate proceedural rules, who will ultimately decide whether any judges nominated and confirmed under these illegal rule changes get to be seated in thier respective courts ?

Posted by: dbs at November 21, 2013 3:47 PM
Comment #374466

First, Rhinehold, let’s correct some of your statements. 1) This does not apply to both houses of Congress, ONLY THE SENATE. 2) This nuclear option ONLY applies to presidential appointments and judicial nominees, and is not across the board applying to all Senate bills. 3) You implied hypocrisy on the part of Democrats. That hypocrisy is shared by both parties if you review the record on this issue.

Now that your article stands corrected, this nuclear option is a condemnation of the partisan process by both parties which rejects governance for politics in their priority system. If BOTH parties made the United States and the American people’s future in it their top priority, the nuclear option would not have been necessary, and the filibuster would revert to its former status as a rare thing exercised not for political reasons but, for the benefit of the nation and people. The political parties are what is wrong with government with the commensurate lack of statesman and women putting nation first.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 21, 2013 3:50 PM
Comment #374467

Harry Reid used the senate rules and forced a vote for a simple majority to be able to pass nominations by the executive. This passed by a simple majority and will now be in place until it again may be addressed and changed through a simple majority, this is how the Senate works it is not illegal and it is within the provisions of the office of the Senate Majority Leader. All of the naysayers will now line up to chastise Senator Reid as a communist, marxist, socialist, kenyan usurper, ooops nope sorry that was the other guy that they like to pillory, Harry’s a Mormon from Nevada. Ayn Rand Paul is calling him a bully, this coming from someone who didn’t have the balls to tell his supporters that they shouldn’t stomp on the heads of people who don’t support his views. Hah, hubris indeed.

Posted by: Speak4all at November 21, 2013 3:50 PM
Comment #374469
1) This does not apply to both houses of Congress, ONLY THE SENATE.

I didn’t say once that this applies to both houses of congress. I did say that it AFFECTS both Houses in the way they work.

2) This nuclear option ONLY applies to presidential appointments and judicial nominees, and is not across the board applying to all Senate bills.

Again, I made that clear in the article.

However, Ezra Klein makes a good point:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/21/9-reasons-the-filibuster-change-is-a-huge-deal/

David, basically, since the Democrats have eliminated the Filibuster on judicial nominees with a 51 vote margin, the filibuster simply doesn’t exist anymore. It can be gotten rid of with a simple majority. So it being left in place is just a temporary measure that can be gotten rid of at any time in the future if the simple majority wants it to. If so, what’s the point?

That hypocrisy is shared by both parties if you review the record on this issue.

Which is why I included Republican comments in my comment and stated in my article that Republicans are as much to blame as the Democrats. But I’m beginning to think you didn’t read anything other than the opening paragraph at this point…

how was Reid able to do it without meeting that threshold ? My next question would be, if this rule change is in fact a violation of senate proceedural rules, who will ultimately decide whether any judges nominated and confirmed under these illegal rule changes get to be seated in thier respective courts ?

dbs’s questions are good ones. I don’t think I have the answers at this point… I’m going to have to look into the parliamentary rules and how Harry Reid got around them.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 3:56 PM
Comment #374471
this is how the Senate works it is not illegal and it is within the provisions of the office of the Senate Majority Leader.

Actually, no it isn’t. I’ll repost:

* To change a rule requires a 2/3 majority - 67 votes. * Before changing a rule, you must allow a filibuster about it.
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 3:59 PM
Comment #374473

Gov’t is pretty much devoid of statesman. A few strong men in the top positions call all the shots. Little to no relations/debate/communications tween the legislators and their constituents.

Legislators prefer that it remain so. Come election time there will be plenty of money to hype up the voters with platitudes, patriotism and populism, etc. Beyond that, their time and action is reserved for the Corpocracy. Dialing for dollars, catering to lobbyists and tending to the needs of their set of corporate benefactors. That’s a full time job. No room, nor need to go beyond that.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your rep (R or D) sent you an email once every couple of months providing some narrative of what they done, tried to do and the outcome at this point in time?

Well, I for one wouldn’t read it, just more platitudes and so on. I lost trust in gov’t about the time of the Regan era. ‘We’ll fix immigration’, ‘tokin gun boats attacked us’, ‘globalism will create jobs’, regional NAU in secrecy, ‘we’ll fix immigration’, ‘like you doc - you can keep your doc’ and now, ‘Karzi needs our money’ and so on - - -

Maybe your rep could get you email addr thru the NSA and so on - - -

Illegal immigrants probably have more SSN’s total than the entire population of citizens.

Heard this AM: more people in captivity/slavery in the western world today than there were at the peak of slavery in colonial days. Ain’t this globalism wunerful?

I see no way trust can be restored until a 3rd party w/a/dif/pol/att comes to power.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 21, 2013 4:07 PM
Comment #374474

BTW, Ezra Klein makes another good point in his 9 items… Number 8:

There’s a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama’s second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won’t have much of an argument when they try to stop them.

So before the Democrats go off and start claiming victory, realize what you’ve just done.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 4:09 PM
Comment #374475
Maybe your rep could get you email addr thru the NSA and so on - - -

A funny cartoon the other day, the president is sitting with Sebelius talking about the website failures. He says “Can’t we just enter all of their information in for them? I mean… I have it…”

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 4:13 PM
Comment #374477

From TPM

So, Reid appeals the ruling of the motion being out of order and the Democrats voted in favor of his appeal. I’m not sure of the long term legality of this… Smells fishy.

TPM also pointed out what the repercussions of this would be:

Earlier this summer, during the previous filibuster fight that ended without a rules change, the Republican leader warned that if Reid ends the filibuster for nominations, he would end the filibuster for everything, including legislation, if he becomes majority leader.
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 4:21 PM
Comment #374479

Hah! Warnings from the Republicans that if they ever in their wildest dreams do get to take the majority they will continue to be the self-serving numbskulls that they are and work against the good of the country. Sorry I am not trembling in fear over this warning because I have lived through it for the last 5 years. This decision by the Senate Majority Leader was precipitated by the Speaker of The House during the debt debacle. The Speaker changed the rules during the debt showdown. House Rule 22 Clause 4 was changed two weeks prior to the government shutdown. The rule used to allow any member of the House to call a resolution for an up or down vote (remember that rhetoric) if the Senate will not go to conference. The continuing resolution would not be discussed in the Senate so the House changed the rules to read that only the Speaker or his designate can call forward a resolution for an up or down vote. Indeed, what goes around comes around.

Posted by: Speak4all at November 21, 2013 4:30 PM
Comment #374494

Speak, you are confusing me so you are going to have to be clear on this… what does a change in the House rules have to do with the Senate exactly?

I mean, it may explain WHY the Senate did what it did, but it doesn’t explain HOW it got around it’s own rules in order to make it happen… The Senate and House are two different bodies with two different rules FOR A REASON. One was to be the voice of the people, the other the voice of the states. One was supposed to be very responsive to what the people wanted while the other was supposed to be a more slow, thoughtful and considering body. That was the reason for the filibuster, to ensure that in the Senate that all sides were heard from and full debate was allowed in all cases. Now that that is gone, all of that is out the window. The Majority Leader can just introduce bills with now debate and have them pass without any thought or consideration to any other thought or idea… That’s really what you think good government is?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 6:12 PM
Comment #374495

The right to Filibuster is a time honored thing—but not to know what you are even talking about is another. THIS HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IS ONLY, ONLY, FOR THE PERMANENTLY HANDICAPPED PERSONS OF THE UNITED STATES. This is NOOOOOT HEALTH COVERAGE—SO YOU DON’T LOSE IT. THIS IS HEALTHCARE FOR THE WHEELCHAIR BOUND AND THOSE WITH VOICES EMITTING FROM THEIR EYEBROWS WHICH ARE COVERED IN TINFOIL. IT’S FOR THE BLIND AND THE PALSY. YOU LOST COVERAGE BY NOT GETTING HURT REALLY BAD—SO DO TRY HARDER IN THE FUTURE TO GET COVERAGE.

POST: THE NUMBER REFERS YOU TO YOUR STATE OFFICE OF SOCIAL SERVICES—DO KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS—FOX NEWS IS RETARDED.

Posted by: simpleheaded at November 21, 2013 6:17 PM
Comment #374499

simpleheaded, your posts border on the ineligible, never mind what we CAN make out are actually completely and entirely wrong. So I’m not sure what point you are trying to make…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 6:33 PM
Comment #374500

And if you don’t stop typing in all caps, I’m going to start removing them.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 6:33 PM
Comment #374504
Republicans contend that their aggressive posture is merely a natural growth from a decades-long war over the federal judiciary, noting that what prompted the 2005 rules showdown were at least 10 filibusters of GOP judicial nominees. To date, only a handful of Obama’s judicial selections have gone to a vote and been filibustered by the minority.

The original nuclear option was a result of actual filibusters of judges. This one was pulled because of THREATS of filibusters, not actual ones…

It’s more like the Democrats are suffering some sort of complex…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 6:44 PM
Comment #374509

We will see how happy Democrats are with this change in 2015.

Posted by: CJ at November 21, 2013 7:40 PM
Comment #374510

Yeah, I wonder how they will feel about the new Supreme Court Justice Rev James Dobson… They just handed that one to the Republicans on a silver platter.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 8:43 PM
Comment #374511

CJ,
“We will see how happy Democrats are with this change in 2015.”

You might want to mentally review how nominations work. First, the President- and through 2016, that will be Obama- nominates a candidate; then, the Senate gives advice and consent. Or not. If the GOP takes control of the Senate in 2014, they will be able to do nothing more than block every nomination, which is what they have been doing. To put it into perspective, up until 2008, for the entire history of the United States, a total of 86 nominations have been blocked in the Senate. During the Obama administration, 82 nominations have been blocked in just five years.

Rhinehold,
Yes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Turnabout is fair play. All the GOP has to do is win elections, especially the White House in 2016. Good luck with that.

Posted by: phx8 at November 21, 2013 8:59 PM
Comment #374512
During the Obama administration, 82 nominations have been blocked in just five years.

You’re going to have to show me the evidence here, because the reading I’ve been doing there have only been a handful that have been put up that have been blocked. Not putting someone up because you think they MIGHT get blocked doesn’t count…

Good luck with that.

Don’t wish me luck, that’s the last thing I want to see, but I’m not stupid enough to expect the Republicans to never gain control of the White House again.

I blame the Democrats for giving them the power to do what they will do when they are back in office, trust me you will be hearing from me on that one.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 21, 2013 9:50 PM
Comment #374513

Here is a count of blocked nominations from a conservative source:

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/11/21/do-obama-nominees-face-stiffer-senate-opposition/

If you want a count more favorable to the liberal point of view, just let me know. There are a number of ways to count blocked nominations. Anyway you tally it, almost half of all obstructed nominations have come during the Obama administration.

“… I’m not stupid enough to expect the Republicans to never gain control of the White House again.”

Heh. I am. The next time an opposition party takes control of the White House from the Democrats, I believe the Republican Party will no longer exist. My crystal ball is cloudy as to the successor, but if I had to guess, I think it will be a moderate Democratic Party incorporating the GOP Establishment wing and corporatists, and a liberal party. Think Elizabeth Warren v Hillary Clinton. (Warren will never run. She does not want it. But someone like her will deliver that message, and ride it to the White House).

Posted by: phx8 at November 21, 2013 10:59 PM
Comment #374514

Continuing the last line of thought…

In national politics, demographics is fate. The GOP is on unsustainable arc. Conservatism is a political philosophy inherently resistant to change, and that resistance, that fear, is driving the party into the ground. In 2012, the RNC did a post-mortem of why they lost. Generally speaking, they concluded that everything was fine with their policies, and that they just needed to tweak their messaging. The only notable exception was the need to attract Hispanics, so the RNC recommended immigration reform. Last week, Speaker Boehner announced the immigration bill would never come to a vote. In other words, the GOP learned literally nothing from 2012, and did not make a single substantive change.

But demographics is fate. If everyone voted the same in 2016 as in 2012, changing demographics would give the Democrats an additional 1.5% edge.

Despite this obvious problem, the GOP does not seem capable of changing. They are so motivated by hatred, they can no longer deliver anything positive or optimistic. They rely on negativity and obstructionism, and that reliance on reflexive opposition was perfectly expressed by their reliance on the Senate filibuster for virtually every nomination. I caught some of the talking heads tonight, and the conservatives seem committed to going back to opposing Obamacare! That is where their heads are at. No good.

It will take a cathartic loss for the GOP to either reform, or split. Right now, the leaders of the party- Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, and such- demand conservatives refuse to change, and demand the country come around to their thinking… whatever that may be. Other than opposing Obama, I do not think they can even say anymore what they believe. Anyway, the party will need to break free from the base- either literally break into two parties, or change the overall philosophy so much that it will not be recognizable to today’s Republicans.

Just rambling and speculating…

Posted by: phx8 at November 21, 2013 11:45 PM
Comment #374516

phx8

You are right. I should have said 2017. But I do believe Democrats will come to regret this decision. You see how fast political fortunes change. In 2004 there was an expectation/fear that Republicans were in line for a permanent majority. In 2008, Democrats ran everything. 2010 they got routed. Next year there is an excellent chance that Republicans will control the House and the Senate.

Actually, I think that Democrats have calculated the possibility too, which is why they moved to grab power while they still could.

Posted by: CJ at November 22, 2013 4:24 AM
Comment #374519

Yes the House and the Senate are different and the rules of one do not affect rules of the other. However I believe that for a brief moment in time it allowed the combined Democratic legislative body (House and Senate) to see the intransigence and obstruction of the Republican legislators as people who could not be trusted. You are naive if you don’t believe the one had nothing to do with the other but as usual I understand that naivety gives you some ability to act like “gee I don’t know what is going on here” but that is wearing thin. This whole filibuster ruling is showing some of us that those that hold Libertarian beliefs are really just trying to hide their true feelings of dislike for Democrats and governance and not looking at this objectively. Haters will continue to hate and they will reap the whirlwind. I take great pleasure in their inability to understand that and look forward to their demise.

Posted by: Speak4all at November 22, 2013 10:23 AM
Comment #374528

Rhinehold-
I think my view of the time could be summed up in one word: moderation.

My sense was never that we should just shut Bush down. I respect that Bush, as our elected President, got to appoint judges and appoint people to lead his agencies.

Moderation of who he was choosing was my position. So when I said, “too bad if not every Bush Nominee is confirmed” (more or less), it wasn’t “too bad if no Bush Nominee is confirmed.”

Why wouldn’t I take that approach? Because I know obstruction would be an inherently defensive position, and its overuse would inspire a backlash from the Republicans against the procedures in question.

What I did next reflected my real position: if I wanted power over who was appointed to the bench, appointed to fill executive branch positions, Democrats had to win the elections. It never occurred to me that Republicans would be as hypocritical as they were, as sore of losers in the next election after. Rather than support my party becoming the Party of No, I supported my party becoming the Party with an agenda for changing Washington.

That hasn’t been entirely unsuccessful, but of course it didn’t happen exactly like I planned. However, I still think we’re ahead of the Republicans, in many ways, specifically because we fought for power from the position of having an active agenda, rather than simply being the Party that got in Bush’s way.

Republicans right now market themselves as the negation of the Democrats, their nullification. But how much credit can you really give somebody just for being in the way? Things like this, or elections like 2016’s shaping up to be eventually happen. Folks become sick of letting you get in the way, and people find little to inspire them in the stale continuation of dysfunction. Nobody falls in love with a party because it keeps the government in a constant state of crisis.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2013 12:51 PM
Comment #374533

Well, take a few hours away and the crazies come out to play…

phx8 has a fantasy that they are living in that there will be no party existing in a few years that believes in the founding principle of limited government. Either full totalitarian or mostly totalitarian ideals will exist in this new fantasy future. I think any thinking person will see just how nonsensical this is.

Speak4all apparently just has a problem with reading comprehension.

You are naive if you don’t believe the one had nothing to do with the other but as usual I understand that naivety gives you some ability to act like “gee I don’t know what is going on here” but that is wearing thin.

This means that they didn’t read my article at all when I state:

“The real issue here is why both parties are acting so badly as to warrant the change in the rules to begin with. From an ineffective Republican Party who fails miserably at getting their message across or convincing their own to operate in a cohesive united group to an overzealous Democratic Party using the Federal government as some sort of catharsis over the few years that they were out of power, attempting to ram bill after bill through the body without being called out on their machinations, allow the other side to have any say or having to attempt to convince any opposing party member to agree with them, both parties are to blame.”

And the whole ‘haters gotta hate’ is juvenile and naive. Unfortunately, that is what we’ve come to expect from their comments…

And then there is Stephen…

Moderation of who he was choosing was my position. So when I said, “too bad if not every Bush Nominee is confirmed” (more or less), it wasn’t “too bad if no Bush Nominee is confirmed.”

The inference here is that the Republicans are blocking EVERY Obama nomination…

Unfortunately, this is not backed up by anything related to facts or reality.

Let’s look at the facts:

During his first term, President Obama nominated 42 persons to U.S. circuit court judgeships. Of the 42, 30 (71.4%) were confirmed, 5 (11.9%) had their nominations either withdrawn by the President or returned to the President and not resubmitted to the Senate, and 7 (16.7%) had their nominations returned to the President at the end of the 112th Congress and subsequently were renominated during the 113th Congress.

During the first terms of the five most recent Presidents (Reagan to Obama), the 30 confirmed Obama circuit court nominees were tied with 30 Clinton nominees as the fewest number of circuit nominees confirmed. The percentage of circuit nominees confirmed during President Obama’s first term, 71.4%, was the second-lowest, while the percentage confirmed during G.W. Bush’s first term, 67.3%, was the lowest.

Of the 173 persons nominated by President Obama to U.S. district court judgeships during his first term, 143 (82.7%) were confirmed, 6 (3.5%) had their nominations withdrawn or returned and not resubmitted, and 24 (13.9%) had their nominations returned to the President and were renominated during the 113th Congress.

President Obama’s first term, compared with the first terms of Presidents Reagan to G.W. Bush, had the second-fewest number of district court nominees confirmed (143 compared with 130 for President Reagan) and the second-lowest percentage of district court nominees confirmed (82.7% compared with 76.9% for President G.H.W. Bush).

As it did during the first terms of Presidents Reagan, G.H.W. Bush and Clinton, the circuit court vacancy rate during President Obama’s first term increased (from 7.3% at the beginning to 9.5% at the end). Over the five most recent
residencies, G.W. Bush’s first term was the only one during which the circuit court vacancy rate decreased (from 14.5% at the beginning to 8.4% at the end).

As it did during the first terms of Presidents Reagan and G.H.W. Bush, the district court vacancy rate also increased from the beginning to the end of President Obama’s first term (rising from 6.6% to 9.5%). President Obama is the only President during this period for whom the district court vacancy rate increased unaccompanied by the creation of new district court judgeships.

The average number of days elapsed from nomination to confirmation for circuit court nominees confirmed during a President’s first term ranged from 45.5 days Nomination and Confirmation of U.S. Circuit and District Court Judges during President Reagan’s first term to 277 days during President G.W. Bush’s. For district court nominees, the average time between nomination to confirmation ranged from 34.7 days (Reagan) to 221.8 days (Obama).

The median number of days from nomination to confirmation for circuit court nominees confirmed during a President’s first term ranged from 28 days (Reagan) to 225.5 days (Obama). For district court nominees, the median time elapsed ranged from a low, again, of 28 days (Reagan) to 215 days (Obama).

President Obama is the only one of the five most recent Presidents for whom, during his first term, both the average and median waiting time from nomination to confirmation for circuit and district court nominees was greater than half a calendar year (i.e., more than 182 days).

From the facts, it looks like Bush had a much harder time of it getting judicial nominees through, but facts are a troubling thing for partisan rhetoric…

The fantasy that Stephen is needing for his rhetoric to be accurate is that the Senate is blocking ALL nominations, as we can see from the facts, that isn’t the reality at all.

There are more cloture votes, which most of them fail, because of a myriad of reasons. One being issues that had nothing or little to do with the nomination, like the Rand filibuster that delayed one nomination for a single day and was about getting the attention of a White House that didn’t want to respond. Others being because the Majority Leader is unprecedentedly trying to ram bills and nominations through without debate, as I detailed in my article. Finally, there is the fight about the DC court that is being played out, one of the real stories here, that is being missed by everyone trying to push rhetoric.

Stephen, if you want to be taken seriously by anyone outside of your own party, you are going to have to start talking facts and stay away from fantastical rhetoric that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

Now, in order to quell the predictable nonsense that will be thrown out, I am not defending anyone or attacking anyone, just getting at the facts. BOTH PARTIES are causing the issues we are seeing in the Senate that are being complained about, and it is a part of politics. It is what it is. But taking this step has just blown up the Senate, IMO, and will end up creating more problems than it solves, which wasn’t a very big problem at all when looking at the facts. This is a fight over a specific court couched in rhetoric by both sides that are using people that aren’t looking at the real inner workings of what is going on to ‘fire up their base’ to approve of this horrendous change that will end up hurting everyone.

It’s not unlike the nuclear reference that it’s name warrants. Fire up both sides of a conflict about things that have little to do with the actual fight and get your side to agree to lobbing nuclear weapons at the other side, thinking that they are winning the war, when in fact it will destroy the lives of millions of people unnecessarily.

This will be evident when the Republicans take back the senate, which they will eventually and probably sooner rather than later, when they start nominating all kinds of evangelical anti-choice judges and pushing through things like the repeal of Obamacare with no way for the Democrats, even it if is a 51-49 difference, will be able to prevent.

Congratulations, you have given the Republicans a HUGE win. And that you can’t see that or simply refuse to see that, scares me more than anything else, because it really means that no one really now what the hell is going on. :/ And all of us are going to have to live with that failure of the Democrats here.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 22, 2013 2:55 PM
Comment #374536

CJ,
Re filibuster reform, you write: “But I do believe Democrats will come to regret this decision.”

I do not see that. It is not as if the Senate Republicans were already cooperating with the Democrats. About the best that can be said is that the Senate worked well enough together to pass legislation to keep the country running. The GOP House can’t even do that. Each time a crucial issue arises, the Senate amends a bill and sends it back to the House, which then passes it with the Democrats and about 1/3 of the GOP. But the Senate Republicans do that to advance their own interests, not in any kind of spirit of cooperation. In the case of the government shutdown, Senate Republicans were appalled to see their chances of re-election dramatically shrink, so, they cooperated.

“Next year there is an excellent chance that Republicans will control the House and the Senate.”

That would be the conventional wisdom. The second term of a President usually works out well for the opposition. Normally, the GOP should be able to hold the House. The Senate math is extremely favorable to the GOP, with 21 seats held by Democrats up, while only 14 GOP seats are in the mix; not only that, the Democratic seats are mostly in red or swing states, while the GOP seats are mostly in safely red states.

So I do think it is possible the Democrats kept this in mind as they passed filibuster reform. But all in all, the reform will be favorable to everyone, for both sides, since it will enable government to function better. The judiciary and executive appointments are needed for government to function, and- once again- elections do have consequences.

When a party other than the Democrats wins the White House, that party will be in a better position to govern, and execute the will of the voters.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2013 4:15 PM
Comment #374538

PHX8 writes; ” To put it into perspective, up until 2008, for the entire history of the United States, a total of 86 nominations have been blocked in the Senate. During the Obama administration, 82 nominations have been blocked in just five years.”

Hmmm…this increase, even if it were true, seems to correlate with the increase in our national debt.

The liberal comments I read hailing the end of the filibuster rule is in total keeping with their mentality.

Theirs is a thought process that demands everything today…to hell with tomorrow. The prime example is adding over $6 Trillion to our national debt with no thought of how or when it will be paid back. They don’t really give a damn. It lines their pockets today and the horrible consequences will not be paid by them, but by their children and grandchildren. Liberals literally eat their own offspring with little care and no conscience.

Ramming through obamacare and then fumbling the ball with its implementation is certainly indicative of their mentality. A good bill doesn’t require constant executive changes and delays. A good bill doesn’t harm millions of working Americans. A good bill doesn’t destroy that which it is meant to benefit. A good bill isn’t scorned by a majority of Americans.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2013 4:54 PM
Comment #374541

If you don’t like health care reform because it has needed some changes, then you’ll really hate the Constitution. Over two hundred years later and it STILL hasn’t been fixed, despite 27 amendments.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2013 5:41 PM
Comment #374542

LOL…phx8 attempts to compare obamacare with the Constitution. How juvenile.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 22, 2013 6:27 PM
Comment #374550

When we write a new constitution or amend the present one, first order of business might be to separate governing processes from political party processes as much as possible and restrict Party influence upon our bodies of government, as far as possible, to election campaigning. Many ways to do this. A few examples would be to create a clear line between charitable organizations and political/lobbying organizations. Limit political donations to any political organization to the per capita mean of all contributions in the previous election cycle. Eliminate corporate taxes along with corporate personhood and all corporate immunity from prosecution where public harm is legally established. Eliminate corporate political campaign contributions. Make it illegal for any incorporated entity, or their agents, to lobby any person in government without full public transparency. Limit political parties and their agents in federal election campaigning to 90 days before election day. Make it illegal for any political party to interfere in any way with any legitimate voter’s access to the ballot. Standardize federal elections and their processes for all States. Mandate objective and non-partisan as possible, census based redistricting with failure to do so resulting in a computer algorithm designed to meet these objectives becoming the default redistricting for that State.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 23, 2013 12:56 AM
Comment #374551

Royal Flush, “ramming through Obamacare”? Really? Obamacare passed into law entirely within the Constitutional parameters for legislating. Are you suggesting that our Constitutional provisions for legislating are insufficient? I read the Constitution, and except for an implied reference to political parties in the 24th Amendment regarding poll taxes, political parties are NOWHERE mentioned in the Constitution. So, RF, where is it writ that every legislation must be bi-partisan? And where is it writ that a partisan majority vote constitutes “Ramming” legislation through anything except the objection of the minority vote?

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 23, 2013 1:06 AM
Comment #374559

The ACA is just one part, albeit a large one, in the shaping of the NWO. Much like what is going on in Europe with HC, it is primarily a redistribution of wealth program.

Within the next decade I would expect your insurance card would work anywhere in the globalised world and vice versa. And, one might purchase their ins in Europe and use it in this country and so on - - -

The kicker is harmonizing ins cost around the world.

Re this globalisation thing; a WaPo article today related how wonderful it is that with globalisation so many millions have been lifted out of poverty and what a small price we’ve paid for all that progress. Doubtful feelings will be the same when interest rates take off and when our children have to get serious about paying off our debt.

Funny - one Post writer queries the effect of some $85B/monthly in stimulus for the economy. He believes that the market is thriving on its own with little effect from the stimulus. Yet, the Fed won’t dare drop stimulus a $B or 5B, etc. Sadly funny- - -

David, your last post puts you soundly in the middle column. You not only recognize the problem but put forth a good solution. Why not propose a new 3rd party to carry it to fruition?

Touching on Corpocracy; heard on FOX that 30% of herbal remedies are fake. FDA has not reg auth over herbals, a $5B/yr business. Fake stuff is mostly weeds and unharmful materials.

And, as Thanksgiving rolls around we here that turkey, pork and beef production is highly monopolized/conglomerated. Cargill, Hormel, Butterball and Farbest Foods produce more than half of the turkey in the US. Just three companies produce half the chicken. Four companies produce 84% of the beef and four produce 64% of the pork. Industry giants are Tysons Food, JBS, Cargill and Smithfield Foods (recently bought by Chinese companY). Consumers paying more and farmers getting less and so on - - -

Otherwise, - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 24, 2013 3:31 PM
Comment #374562

Roy, corporate farming is a huge liability for human beings, in a sense, putting too many eggs into just a handful of baskets. After some nightmare scenario which leaves half a billion people starved to death, we may then seriously consider going back to localized small diversified family farms as the premium for food products carrying substantially less risk to human populations. But, one cannot address agriculture without addressing water availability. That is rapidly becoming the more immediate problem.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 24, 2013 4:10 PM
Comment #374563

Roy, parties spring up from the people. Unless and until, there is a wholesale rejection of the two party system we now have, third parties have no avenue to power to force change or contend with the current two party structure. It is a reality that just is. The two party system has a way of absorbing potential third party movements into wings of their own party as has happened with the Tea Party. No way around that short of a popular uprising against the current two parties. As long as the majority of the people are satisfied with the status quo, and they are currently, such an political uprising is not in the foreseeable future. Most folks fear the unknown and untested more than they fear the known and tested, even when the known and tested are failing them. That is the starting point for any third party.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 24, 2013 4:17 PM
Comment #374565

Agree with all that, David. Crack an egg an the watery, sickly white will run all over the bottom of a 9” skillet with a little faint yellow yolk sticking up 1/4” or so.

Agree, too, re 3rd parties. It’s like d.a.n says, when the pain and misery become sufficient … people will act. I am working toward that point in time, with the hope that no 3rd party ever sees the light of day unless its designed with some tuff rules to shunt the money influence, prevent cooption, abolish corporate personhood and so on - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 24, 2013 5:58 PM
Comment #374570

This is bad news all around. Bad news for Democrats, bad news for Republicans and bad news for the country as a whole. The worst part though is that this didn’t have to happen if only the Republicans stayed true to the deal they struck with Democrats last winter.

Posted by: Warren Porter at November 24, 2013 9:33 PM
Comment #374578

Rhinehold-
How many of those which eventually passed were delayed? There have been more filibusters of Obama’s circuit court judges than anybody else’s by far. Did you see the rhetoric on the DC circuit judges? People calling filling out the circuit’s natural number of judges “packing the courts”, rationalizing about caseload and other things to support filibustering?

And that’s judges. It might not be absolute, but I’ve only seen officials get past the process with these big deals that sweep in dozens at a time. But that was never what the Framers wanted.

You will have to realize that even Conservatives were concerned about the degree to which the Filibuster was being abused. I mean, you’re all up in arms about the fact that Democrats will suffer when and if Republicans take back the Senate. But ask yourself something: where the shoe is on the other foot, what then? Democrats would sooner or later learn how to abuse the procedure just as gravely as Republicans would. They’d find a reason why, they’d accept the GOP’s precedent. Yes, future Republicans would benefit, but so will future Democrats.

Or, put more succinctly, everybody benefits.

The current process was breaking down under the weight of all that partisanship. Nothing was getting done where it should be gotten done. Of course, if Republicans abuse the new state of things? Well, they answer to the voters for that. That was the design, right?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2013 9:01 AM
Comment #374583

Remer writes; “Roy, corporate farming is a huge liability for human beings, in a sense, putting too many eggs into just a handful of baskets.”

Strange, how liberals can understand the danger of large conglomerate farming, and other industries, but not recognize the same danger in large government.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 25, 2013 4:12 PM
Comment #374594
How many of those which eventually passed were delayed?

Oh nO! Something was DELAYED! We need to act immediately to stop the delaying of the appointment of a judge for a few days or weeks. How will we ever function!

There have been more filibusters of Obama’s circuit court judges than anybody else’s by far.

Again, that’s a red herring and you freely admit it. The facts that that Obama has gotten more of his judges approved than GWB did. The Republican delay tactics, in response to the Senate Majority’s attempt to push things through without adequate debate, have harmed him very little AT ALL.

BTW, here’s a nice graphic that shows the calls for cloture in the Senate, I notice a sharp drop off recently… I guess it just wasn’t good enough, huh?

Here’s my point, Stephen. Even if they ARE delaying judge appointments, so what? They eventually get through, there is a means for ending debate that rarely goes on very long. So you choose to eliminate one of the main abilities of the Senate to allow for the minority to not be railroaded in a body that is supposed to pride itself on being slow, methodical and deliberate, allowing for exhaustive debate before acting on anything? Because you don’t like to wait a little bit?

How petulant do you think that makes the Democrats seem, hmmm?

But ask yourself something: where the shoe is on the other foot, what then? Democrats would sooner or later learn how to abuse the procedure just as gravely as Republicans would. They’d find a reason why, they’d accept the GOP’s precedent. Yes, future Republicans would benefit, but so will future Democrats.

Or, put more succinctly, everybody benefits.

No, the parties win and the people who support the party power wins. ‘Everyone’ is a very broad term to use there, Stephen, you should know better than to use it like that.

Without the ability for the minority to ensure that adequate debate has taken place in the Senate before bills are called to a vote, the place just becomes a rubber stamp (or rejection stamp) for the White House, something that it was definitely not supposed to be.

The House was supposed to be the reactionary part of congress, answerable to and representative of the people directly. The Senate was suppose to be the thoughtful debate filled one, not calling votes on any piece of legislation, etc, until the representatives had had a chance to fully make their voices heard in the chamber, to debate and try to convince the other members of their views. Without it, and with a Majority Leader not concerned about listening to opposing views, it just because a place to crank out bills and laws that are never debated or even read by the body because there is no point. Some Democrat (or Republican) writes the bills and it is voted on along party lines, does it really matter what it says anymore?

Look, here’s my view.

I don’t really care that much because the Senate is a body that has its own rules, if they want to change them so be it. But my concern is anyone thinking that this is a ‘win’ for anyone. It is a huge loss for everyone, except the parties themselves, because now Senators never really have to defend themselves in the record except on the vote, they don’t have to worry about debating or changing minds. It will make it easier for the Representatives to keep their already highly re-electable jobs, save time for them to raise more money and effectively kill the notion of actually DEBATING THE IDEALS at all.

Claim your victory, until of course that time comes (and it will) when the Republicans (or as phx8 says, some other party) gets in control of the House, the Senate and the White House (even by a single vote) and dismantles SS, Medicare, Obamacare, institutes abortion laws and a myriad of other things? How will you stop them? I guess afterwards they could be voted out and Democrats could take over all three houses and undo it, but what will that have wrought in the meantime?

I think there is a real misunderstand of what a filibuster actually is… It’s actually not anything at all, what was added was the ability to end debate through a vote. Originally there never supposed to be a vote on something until all debate about it had been exhausted. Not by a time limit, just when everyone was done talking. The cloture vote was added as a result of Wilson not getting his way.

Anyway, claim your perceived victory and fail to understand what you have wrought, it will be little skin off of my nose.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2013 9:15 PM
Comment #374595

BTW, I apparently cocked up the image link, here it is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Senate_cloture_since_1917.png

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2013 9:18 PM
Comment #374596
When a party other than the Democrats wins the White House, that party will be in a better position to govern, and execute the will of the voters.

So why have a Senate and House anyway? Surely if we elect a president we just what him to execute his vision, right? Wouldn’t it be easier and far more expedient to just do away with congress completely and have the President appoint some non-elected people to write the laws he wants and then sign them into law?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 25, 2013 9:20 PM
Comment #374607

So, let’s be clear about something…

As of November 2013, President Obama presented 79 nominees who received a vote to end debate (called “cloture” votes), compared to just 38 votes received during the preceding eight years under George W. Bush. However, most of those cloture votes successfully ended debate, and therefore most filibustered nominees cleared the filibuster hurdle; Obama won Senate confirmation for 30 out of 42 federal appeals court nominations, compared with Bush’s 35 out of 52. Regarding President Obama’s federal district court nominations, the Senate approved 143 of 173 as of November 2013, compared to George W. Bush’s 170 of 179, Bill Clinton’s 170 of 198, and George H.W. Bush’s 150 of 195. Filibusters were used to block (at least temporarily) 20 Obama nominations to U.S. District Court positions, compared to 3 times in previous U.S. history; Republicans ultimately allowed confirmation of 19 out of those 20.

So, the Republicans caused the Democrats to be delayed in appointing the judges that they wanted by a few days, apparently that warrants the temper tantrum that the Democrats are throwing? A good and proper hissy fit as it were? Since the cloture motions almost always passed, it is obviously not a ‘concerted’ Republican effort, more like certain individual Senators wanting to be heard about something or another…

Of course, the REAL story is that this is all about one specific court where Republicans have said that they wont allow any more judges to be appointed to it because it is underworked adding judges would be a waste of money. Democrats feel that the extra judges are necessary because of the complexity of the cases it sees.

It seems to me that that is something that both sides should sit down and work out. OR, I suppose the Democrats can just throw their weight around and carpet bomb the Senate… It’s the way that Democrats have been ‘negotiating’ for the past four years so I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise. When you have a vote like that and 3 of your own join forces with the minority to try to stop you, you have to know that perhaps you aren’t doing exactly the right thing.

Proportionality has never been a strong suit of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2013 4:21 AM
Comment #374618

Rhinehold said: “Strange, how liberals can understand the danger of large conglomerate farming, and other industries, but not recognize the same danger in large government. “

Thanks for acknowledging my statement on corporate farming. As for the size of government, it is the size the American people choose it to be, by definition of what voters expect from their government. Tell me please, that you are not suggesting that we have a dictatorship in which the dictators determine the size of government instead of the demands of the people and voters in a democracy. The latter is what we have, and the latter, flawed as it may be, is still better than all the other alternatives, communism, fascism, dictatorship, monarchy, anarchy, etc.

Some folks see flaws and the flaws are all they can see. Government is like beauty, resting as it does, in the eye of the beholder. Too big for you, not big enough for others, and the right size for still more. The illusion here is that government should be the size needed to fulfill the beholder’s demands on it. But, government in a democracy is asked to meet the demands of many, all with differing needs to aided with. That is democracy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 26, 2013 4:31 PM
Comment #374619
Tell me please, that you are not suggesting that we have a dictatorship in which the dictators determine the size of government instead of the demands of the people and voters in a democracy

I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that, David, but we also are not a democracy as you well know, and we aren’t for very specific reasons. The determination of the size of government is done through the constitution and changing that should take more than a simple majority, which is why it was set up to take a bit more to change. Yes, it can be changed, and should be changed when needed, but by a larger percentage of Americans than 1 more than those opposed of the smaller percentage of people who voted.

That is democracy

“Such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” - James Madison

“Democracy is the most vile form of government.” - James Madison

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2013 4:42 PM
Comment #374621

BTW, the quote you attributed to me was made by Royal…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2013 4:43 PM
Comment #374622

Rhinehold, go back to civics class. We ARE a democracy, which is why our system is called a democratic republic. We make our policy decisions in government by majority vote. We elect our decision makers by majority vote. By definition, we are a democracy, and a republic. Look the terms up. What you are objecting to is the term “Direct Democracy”, and no, we are not that, but, then the term direct democracy was never posited so you are fencing with your ignorance of the term.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 26, 2013 4:46 PM
Comment #374624

No, David, we are a CONSTITUTIONAL Republic, not a DEMOCRATIC Republic. There are specific differences, specifically that the government is limited in what it can do to what is spelled out in the Constitution that authorizes it. It takes more than a simple majority to change those rules.

“The government was formed in 1789, making the United States one of the world’s first, if not the first, modern national constitutional republic.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2013 4:53 PM
Comment #374625

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_republic

“A democratic republic is a country that is both a republic and a democracy. It is one where ultimate authority and power is derived from the citizens. However, in practice countries that describe themselves as democratic republics do not always hold free or fair elections. Two examples of this were the German Democratic Republic and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, communist states commonly known as East Germany and North Vietnam.[1] Another is the Democratic Republic of the Congo which in 2011 was rated by Freedom House as a “not free” country having a rating of 6.0 (1.0 being completely free and 7.0 being completely unfree)”

In the countries listed as Democratic Republics, the US is not listed…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2013 4:56 PM
Comment #374626

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”

A State might come closer to a form of democracy, but not the Fed.

Posted by: George in SC at November 26, 2013 5:00 PM
Comment #374627

George, that is possible, but currently all states have some form of constitution that limits what the government has the power to do, even by simple majority vote.

Now, cities and counties and parishes… that’s where you start to see representative democracies (though they are still limited by state constitutions, so it’s not exactly that simple).

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 26, 2013 5:04 PM
Comment #374629

Rhinehold, many thanks for taking the time to educate Remer on our form of national government.

It is obvious that our federal government has become too large and unwieldy to regulate and control so many aspects of American life. One merely needs to look at all the duplication of federal agencies and regulators to comprehend its inability to function quickly and effectively. The federal government has strayed way beyond the bounds envisioned by our founders.

Liberals it seems, seldom ask what they can do for their country. They mostly ask what their country can do for them.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 26, 2013 6:14 PM
Comment #374642

Man, no wonder conservatives are always their own worst enemy. We vote to elect, we vote to decide, from our most basic units like homeowner’s associations all the way to the U.S. Congress with all levels of government in between, including the Supreme Court. Democracy is defined by majority rule. Even our juries vote and consensus decides. And Rhinehold and George can’t see the democracy for the republic. There are several forms of democracy, parliamentarian, republic form, and direct democracy. But, conservatives thinking in black and white, can’t fathom the concept of a democratic republic. Perhaps they get lost because of the Party labels, Democratic and Republican, like children getting lost in the woods by Northeast and Southwest. Too much to grasp for limited cognitive processes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 27, 2013 10:46 AM
Comment #374706

David

We are working with majority rule. Members of congress won in their districts. It is their right and duty act as they believe best.

I know you don’t believe that lawmakers should follow polls, else we would have to scrap ObamaCare and maybe Obama, both of which get less than half support among Americans.

Our rules protect liberty. Democrats were very much the minority in 2004. Lucky for them Republicans could not just push through everything they wanted. Today we have divide government. Neither party has the majority over all the government.

Posted by: CJ at November 30, 2013 8:30 AM
Comment #374732
But, conservatives thinking in black and white, can’t fathom the concept of a democratic republic.

And Communists can’t seem to understand why their ‘concept’ and/or definition of democracy isn’t applicable in the US. *shrug*

Funny enough, I provided a link to a list of recognized Democratic Republics in the world, the US not being one of them. Most of them are what we don’t want the US to be, despotic and corrupt…

And yes, David, I called you a Communist. If you want to take the piss out on me by calling me a conservative, I will return the favor and you know it. I’m not sure why you think I would let that pass, you know me better than that I would think.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2013 10:30 AM
Comment #374736

CJ said: “We are working with majority rule. Members of congress won in their districts. It is their right and duty act as they believe best. “

And it is their obligation to respect the rule of law, which means respecting the laws that have passed with a majority consensus in the halls of government. That comes BEFORE their right and duty to act as they believe best. Dictators act as they believe best. What sets us apart, is our Respect for the rule of the law, not rule of individual persons.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2013 12:34 PM
Comment #374737

Rhinehold, I expected more than a kindergarten name calling response with words bearing no relationship to reality whatsoever. But, then conservative is a word to describe millions whose views bear no relation to reality.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2013 12:37 PM
Comment #374739

David, if you expect more than that then you should provide more than that.

You are the one that started with name calling and you are aghast that you had it returned to you?

All you have done is say ‘it is because I say it is’, while I have attempted to back up what I have stated with actual 3rd party facts/links.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2013 2:31 PM
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