Monday, July 16, 2007

Let the real filibusters begin

A filibuster is an attempt to prolong debate, typically used by the minority to prevent passage of a bill with majority support. Best exemplified in the movie Mr. Smith goes to Washington in which an honest Senator battles against graft and corruption by taking to the well of the Senate and stands his ground until the corruption is exposed and his rivals defeated in shame.

It's hard to believe that just 2 years ago, the Republicans attempted to kill the filibuster entirely. They complained that the Democrats were abusing the system by denying a vote on 10 of Bush's 229 judicial nominees. Former majority leader Bill Frist invented the idea of the "nuclear option" to strip the minority of it's right to continue debate.

But times change. Mitch McConnell embraced the idea of the filibuster within days of the 2006 elections, after the Republicans lost both Houses of Congress. Since January, he's blocked votes over 40 times, on everything from funding renewable energy to implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. No more talk of "up or down votes". Today he's all about minority rights .... well in the Senate, anyway.

So it's good to hear that Harry Reid now plans to start making Republicans take to the floor of the Senate if they don't want to cut off debate.

I'm guessing Senator McConnell isn't going to cut as sympathetic a figure as Jimmy Stewart while he's on the Senate floor arguing against ethics reform and increasing the minimum wage.


GinnyD said...

get your facts straight before you start blogging. The republicans did not try to kill the filibuster entirely. What they talked about doing was limiting the filibuster to legislative matters only, and not using the filibuster for judicial nominees. By the way, the filibuster had never been used for judicial nominees in the history of the Senate until the Democrats started doing it. Oh yeah, the Republicans only talked about it. They never tried to change the rules.

jinchi said...

They certainly did try to change the rules. They lost the vote when the gang of 14 voted against Frist.

As for "limiting the filibuster to legislative matters only", once they'd established the precedent, nothing would have stopped them from using it again.

GinnyD said...

jinchi, you are wrong. There was never a vote on the Senate floor. Go do your homework. Oh by the way, it's nice to be a mindreader. It isn't easy to change Senate rules, so it would have been easy to limit it to judicial nominees. Go check your facts my friend, because you have them all wrong. But that is a typical trick of the left. Why worry about the facts, when you can just say what you want.

jinchi said...

There was no vote because 7 Republicans declared their intention to vote against Frist.

He wasn't about to hold a vote, lose and be made to look like a fool.

It isn't easy to change Senate rules, so it would have been easy to limit it to judicial nominees.

That's exactly what Frist was trying to do so your comment is nonsensical.

As for checking facts, I've given you 10 reference links in 5 paragraphs. You might try to read a couple.