Roll Back Thursday – The Filibuster
Today, Thursday, November 21, 2013 the United States Senate voted to change a centuries old parliamentary procedure in the Senate chamber and invoked the so-called “nuclear option” making it possible to confirm presidential nominees by a simple majority vote rather than the 60 votes necessary to override any filibuster attempt by the minority party.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats claim Republicans have become career obstructionists holding up judicial and executive nominees from an up or down vote for too long. So with that in mind Harry Reid said, “It’s time to change the Senate, before this institution becomes obsolete.” (Now remember this quote when you watch the videos below)
Of course there is fantastic irony at play here that simply can’t be ignored, nor should it be.
A little background.
In the 2005 Senate, Republicans held 55 seats and the Democrats held 45 including Jim Jeffords, an independent from Vermont who caucused with the Democrats. Confirmation requires a plurality of votes, and the Republicans could easily confirm their nominees if brought to the floor. Earlier in 2005, Democrats had blocked the nomination of 10 of George W. Bush’s nominees, saying they were too conservative and that Republicans had blocked many of their nominees back in the 1990s. The old tit for tat response.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist then threatened to enact the nuclear option.
This is how then Senator Barack Obama, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and Senator Hillary Clinton reacted to that threat, and their staunch defense of the rules of the Senate and the filibuster.
So what changed folks?
What happened to “as long as I’m the leader, the answer is no!” eh Senator Reid?
Tsk tsk tsk…the lengths we will go to get what we want. Even if it means a complete reversal of ourselves at any moment in time. Look up the word integrity. You won’t find this behavior exemplified anywhere in its definition. This rebuke isn’t reserved exclusively for Democrats either. Republicans are just as stained when it comes to this kind of gerrymandering to get their way.
Shame on this governing body. Shame.
- Editorial: Democracy Returns to the Senate (nytimes.com)
- Senate Goes Nuclear on Filibuster (drudge.com)
- Was the Senate Right to Use the Nuclear Option to Change the Filibuster? (usnews.com)
- Flashback: Obama’s filibuster flip-flop (theblaze.com)