The case for the ‘constitutional option’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

You can file this statement under "the stupid shit that Tea-Publicans say":

Republicans warned that use of the so-called "nuclear option" would
lead them to shut down the Senate for the rest of the congressional term
and make the filibuster the centerpiece of their campaign in next
year's elections.

"If Senator Reid changes the character of the
Senate, then the Senate ceases to function," said Sen. Lamar Alexander,
R-Tenn. "We'll take our case to the people, we'll argue for a new
majority, and then Republicans will be in a position to do whatever
Republicans with 51 votes want to do."

Reid sets stage for showdown that could kill use of filibuster.

GOP NO!Let's review: since the day that Barack Obama was sworn in as president of the United States, the GOP has conspired to engage in a partisan scorched-earth policy of obstruction, becoming the "Party of No." Robert Draper Book: GOP's Anti-Obama Campaign Started Night Of Inauguration.

This unprecedented level of partisan obstruction occurred at a time when the United States was in a dire national emergency, an economic catastrophe created by the economic policies of these very same Republicans — the financial system was melting down and the economy was imploding — representing a radical departure from all prior norms and traditions of American politics. The GOP put partisan politics ahead of the best interests of the nation during a national emergency.

The Septegenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, turned to an unprecedented abuse of the rules of the Senate. As Greg Sargent notes, Why the battle over filibuster reform matters, "It is plainly true that Republicans have effectively turned the Senate into a 60-vote, super-majority body for even routine business, in a way we haven’t seen before. It is plainly true that Republicans are obstructing Obama nominations (such as Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) for the explicit purpose of preventing the agencies themselves from
functioning, rather than just out of objections to the nominees themselves."

"Today’s GOP has effectively abdicated the role of functional opposition
party, instead opting for a kind of post-policy nihilism in which
sabotaging the Obama agenda has become its only guiding governing light."
Sabotage Governing. The Senate has already "ceased to funtion," Sen. Alexander. Numerous articles have been written about how the U.S. Senate has been rendered dysfunctional by GOP obstruction. The abuse of the Senate cloture rules has resulted in an explosion of filibusters:

FillibusterChart

The "constituional option" that the Honey Badger, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is talking about only applies to executive department nominations. It does not apply to judicial nominations, where GOP obstruction has crippled the federal court system. "There are a lot of vacancies in federal courts. More, in fact,
than there were when Obama first took office. He inherited 55 vacancies
and, as of the May publication of a Congressional Research Service report on the subject, had built that number up to 88." Federal courts are understaffed. It's everybody's fault. It also does not apply to legislation, where GOP obstruction through the filibuster has been most prevalent.

The GOP objections to executive department nominees are not even to the quality or character of the nominees thenselves. The GOP is attempting to sabotage governing by crippling government agencies they do not like, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board, and using the nomination process to "nullify" federal laws they do not like (we fought a Civil War over this long-discredited theory). GOP filibusters are attempts to nullify laws. With respect to executive department nominees, President Obama has faced unprecedented GOP obstruction:

DPCC_Cloture-Votes-01

This is the abuse of the filibuster rules the "constitutional option" is intended to end. The president is entitled to his nominees if they have the qualifications and character to serve.

If Sen.Alexander wants to "take the case to the people" for this unprecedented level of partisan scorched-earth policy of obstruction rendering the U.S. Senate dysfuntional, be my guest. The voters understand what is going on. This is why public approval of Congress is at an all-time historic low.

Sen. Alexander gives away the GOP's end-game: Democrats can't change the Senate filibuster rules, because the GOP will destroy the country if they do, but if the GOP ever gets a Senate majority again it intends to change the rules "to do whatever
Republicans with 51 votes want to do" — also destroying the country, I might add.

This is the double-standard authoritarianism which prevails among conservatives and their belief that they are entitled to lord over us all by a divine right — in which case elections and democracy cease to matter. It's ideological extremists like Sen. Alexander who need to be voted out of office.

Comments are closed.