Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week of 11/25/2013

Consider It Nuked
– by David Matthews 2

So the U.S. Senate finally did it.

After years upon years of talking about it, of threatening to do it, of using it as a political wedge, of playing it like a trump card, they finally did it. 

They finally invoked the so-called “nuclear option”.

A decision so drastic in its nature that it would cause everlasting repercussions and devastate the world as we know it.  A decision that neither the Democrats nor the GOP would ever want to make.

So you’re probably wondering what this so-called “nuclear option” is, right?

It’s a change in Senate rules that eliminates the minority party from engaging in a filibuster for the confirmation process of all Presidential appointments short of the Supreme Court justices.  Instead of needing 60 votes to cut-off debate and move to a vote, the standard 51 votes will now apply.

Excuse me while I channel the late Charlton Heston here…

You maniacs! 

You blew it up! 

Oh… *Yawn*… darn you! 

Darn you all to the DMV!

Seriously… this is the “big thing”?  This is the “drastic move” that had both the Dems and GOP shaking and quaking in their boots all these years?

Are you fracking kidding here?

I’ve had bigger and more productive movements on the toilet!

Let’s recap here for a moment… the Senate, which is burdened by rampant GOP obstructionism, if not all-out insurrection, and hampered by the gross incompetence and ineptitude of the Democrats in charge, has decided to change the rules for only one small portion of their duties under the U.S. Constitution so that the GOP can no longer block the confirmation process for most White House appointees.  This rule change only applies to non-Justice appointees.  It does not apply to the general approval process of bills.  It does not apply to the approval process of the budget (you know, the stuff that the GOP-controlled House of Representatives is supposed to start).  It does not apply to the ratification of treaties, such as the one that should be forthcoming with Iran.  It does not apply to the confirmation process of any forthcoming Supreme Court appointments.

And yet the “Beltway” crowd is treating this as though it was some drastic measure that would have catastrophic consequences for the whole body politic.

Please, will you guys in Washington just get your heads out of your anuses for once?!?

The GOP, as a matter of principle, has engaged in a systematic pattern of obstruct, delay, and deny when it comes to the Senate, and this goes all the way back to when they lost majority power in 2007.  They have used every rule, every procedure, every trick in the book to neuter the Dems in the Senate; something that the incompetent idiots in the party of the braying jackass couldn’t bring themselves to do when they were in that situation previously.  They brokered deals for certain bills to pass only when politically expedient and beneficial to them, but otherwise they proudly boasted of their ability to bring the Senate to a standstill.

Do you honestly expect the Dems to simply take that?  To haggle and negotiate with the GOP when they hold the process hostage simply as a matter of political principle?  It’s bad enough the party is a failure as it is, but do you, the American people, really expect that majority party for that legislative body to simply surrender and cave to the minority party?

Then there’s the GOP over in the House, which engaged in a secret rule change just last month to guarantee that the partial government shutdown would go on as per their leadership.  Why is it that House Resolution 368 could be secretly enacted, which overruled even the majority vote of their own party and effectively turned the House into an oligarchy, but somehow the Senate’s move for a simple majority vote for one procedure is considered a “catastrophic nuclear option”?

Let’s get brutally honest here… the GOP has nobody to blame for the Senate’s so-called “nuclear option” but themselves.  They played the obstructionist card far too many times, abusing the very spirit of why that safeguard was there in the first place, and now steps are being made to take it away from them.

Not only that, but their abuse of the filibuster has contributed to the continually negative public perception of the GOP as a party.  Think of all of the filibusters that were done that would later be passed with a 99-1 or 99-0 vote.  Why filibuster something that you would eventually vote for anyway?  Just like any schoolyard bully, the answer is simple: because they can! 

Does that sound like a group that you would want in charge of the legislature?

And yet, while some have speculated that the filibuster would be eventually going the way of Prohibition because of this change, I have my doubts about that.  At best this is a temporary remedy for a problem that the GOP brought upon itself; but those same people that complain about the filibuster today will no doubt be screaming for its restoration when they become the minority party tomorrow.

Don’t get me wrong; the Senate needs to be fixed, and fixing the filibuster is key, but throwing the whole thing out simply because it was grossly abused by one party does not fix the underlying problem in Washington.  The filibuster was originally an option of last resort, a tactic that required enormous determination and a willingness to stand and talk for a really long time.  Rampant political corruption has turned that option of last resort into a mere procedure of laziness and convenience.  To fix this, we need only remove the laziness of the procedure and restore it to being the real “nuclear option” that was made legendary from the movie “Mister Smith Goes to Washington”.

And don’t forget that this is not the only procedural trick up the GOP’s sleeve!  There is a reason why the Senate is legendary for being the place where ideas go to die.  There are other ways to hold up progress in the Senate.  The GOP will no doubt start to go through those various other ways just so they can continue to impede, delay, and deny the Dems and President Obama.  This is what they do, and this is really all that they have left to prove that they are still relevant in America.

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