Time to neuter the Ninja Turtle: reform the Senate filibuster rule

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Jamelle Bouie writes at the Plum Line that the Septegenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell, is already back to obstruction at all costs:

Negotiations about the “fiscal cliff” are set to begin soon, and
Mitch McConnell is already signaling that he doesn’t intend to budge or
cooperate. If anything, in the wake of Tuesday’s election, he is signaling that Republicans will adopt a strategy of categorical opposition even faster than he did after Obama’s victory four years ago:

Mitch_mcconnell_frown-cropped-proto-custom_2“The American people did two things: they gave President
Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed
to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved
Republican control of the House of Representatives,” McConnell said in a
statement. “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of
the President’s first term, they have simply given him more time to
finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that
restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.”

What an asshole. First, this election was the "referendum" election that the Tea-Publicans claimed they always wanted. The American people just ratified the Obama agenda and gave him a mandate to continue. They voted for increasing taxes on those making more than $250,000 year, preserving social security and Medicare (no vouchers), implementing "Obamacare," implementing Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, etc. In other words, the voters rejected the Tea-Publican scorched-earth "repeal everything Obama has done" alternative agenda.

Remember when George W. Bush was elected president by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000? The man who who lost the popular vote to Al Gore had the brass to claim he had a mandate for his agenda. And a handful of Democrats, to their great discredit, worked with Bush to pass the Bush tax cuts that eliminated the budget surpluses that were paying down our national debt and gave us massive budget deficits instead. President Obama has an agenda that has been ratified in a referendum election by the voters. He has a mandate for his policies that he is entitled to have enacted. The people have spoken loud and clear.

Second, about that "Republican control of the House of Representatives" line. Dylan Matthews at Ezra Klein's Wonkblog breaks down the real reason why the GOP was able to hold onto the House in a year that control of that chamber historically would have flipped to the Democrats: Gerrymandering after redistricting.  How redistricting could keep the House red for a decade:

Before the election, I highlighted
a report arguing that Republican control of state legislatures would
end up earning them about 11 seats because of redistricting. The fact
that the House total barely budged in a very good year for Democrats
nationally — and in which House Democrats won the popular vote — suggests that this probably played a role.

[Think Progress:
"Although a small number of ballots remain to be counted, as of this
writing, votes for a Democratic candidate for the House of
Representatives outweigh votes for Republican candidates… 53,952,240
votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only
53,402,643 were cast for a Republican — meaning that Democratic votes
exceed Republican votes by more than half a million."]

This is especially clear if you take a look at the share of House
seats won by Democrats in states where Republican-controlled
legislatures redistricted in 2011 and 2012, and compare that to the
share of the vote President Obama won.

Rep_gerry

Utah gave a quarter of its vote to Obama and a quarter of its House
seats to Democrats, and New Hampshire sent two Democrats to the House
despite Obama’s only having a six-point margin there. But otherwise,
these states all sent far fewer Democrats to Congress than the Obama
votes would suggest.

Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and Pennsylvania were
the worst offenders
. In each case, only a small number of seats from
each state went to Democrats despite the fact that Obama won all of
them. In Virginia, for instance, 27 percent of seats went to Democrats,
while Obama got 52 percent of the vote. In Pennsylvania, 28 percent of
seats went to Democrats, and Obama won 53 percent.

* * *

This isn’t as true for Democratic-controlled redistricting, and not just
because Democrats ran redistricting in only six states. Democrats are
just worse at gerrymandering when they get the chance. While Democrats
outperformed their presidential vote in House races in Rhode Island,
Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois, they underperformed in Arkansas
and West Virginia.

Dem_gerry1

This suggests that it’s going to be tough for Democrats to make big
gains in the House until 2022, when the districts are drawn again
following the Census. And for that to happen, they’d have to do quite
well in the 2020 state legislature elections.

This is an over-simplification. Demographic changes and public attitudes towards policy changes can put many of these Gerrymandered GOP districts into play during the four elections, including two presidential elections, that will occur before 2022. Democrats should adopt a long-term strategy for 2020 — a presidential election year — for state legislative races and congressional races that year to better position themselves for redistricting.

Finally, it is time for Democrats in the Senate to reform the secret hold and filibuster rules in that chamber to neuter the Septegenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell. Sen. Harry Reid has signaled that he is ready to proceed with reforms. Reid Reiterates Commitment To Filibuster Reform – TPM LiveWire. The Septegenarian Ninja Turtle should never again be permitted to to engage in the scorched-earth policy of obstruction of the past four years. Americans want compromise, and more importantly, they want results. They will no longer tolerate the Tea-Publican scorched-earth policy of obstruction.

Filibuster

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