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Friday, January 28, 2022

GOP Whines About Consequences


They pushed too far.

This week the U.S. Senate changed its rules. After almost 40 years, the majority now rules.

This was a change I’d hoped for. We’re told that elections have consequences, and sometimes they do, but in the Senate the need for a supermajority of 60 votes gave all power to the minority (Sen. Ted Cruz & Co.).

To put this in context: In the history of the United States, 168 presidential nominations or appointments have been blocked by filibuster in the Senate. Eighty-two of them were directed at a single president.

Can you guess which president that might be?

Drastic obstruction calls for drastic action.

Senate Republicans’ filibuster threats have been nothing but efforts to throw one monkey wrench after another into the workings of a government they don’t control, after which they line up in front of microphones to bellyache about the failings of government.

They’re car bombers who whine when the car doesn’t run.

They make outrageous demands, and when their demands aren’t met, they blame the other side for its unwillingness to compromise. Really? You’re the minority — that means you generally don’t get your way. (Watch the Democrats in the Alaska Legislature, Mitch, if you want to see how it works.)

Frankly, I didn’t think Sen. Harry Reid, an old school pol who for years as majority leader did everything he could to avoid pulling the trigger, had it in him. When it finally happened, some commentators congratulated Reid for arriving at puberty, or words to that effect.

But resist as he did, Reid ultimately didn’t have a choice. The Republican minority was determined to use the filibuster not just to stop disagreeable legislation but to actually eliminate the president’s constitutional power to appoint judges and fill vacant positions in his administration. They refused to allow up or down votes.

As a political strategy, it was smart, at least in the short run. I mean, what were the Democrats going to do?

Nothing. Like always.

The Republican minority senators are trying desperately to keep the government from functioning for purely ideological reasons. Take, for example, the enforcement of labor law. Republicans sought to punish labor unions by preventing the quorum the National Labor Relations Board needed to settle disputes. They refused to allow a vote on the nominees.

We almost had the “nuclear option” — or what I like to call “majority rule” — last summer when Republican senators blocked those nominations. In the end, they reluctantly allowed a vote, and Harry put away the bomb.

But more recently, when three nominations to the United States Court of Appeals in Washington were blocked from a confirmation vote, the camel’s back finally gave way.

A “sad day for America” and a “power grab,” according to Republican talking points. Even Sen. Lisa Murkowski, joined the chorus, managing to hit some high notes — as if Ted Cruz were her voice coach:

“Senate Democrats … party line votes … push their agenda … power grab. … We’ve seen this movie before … health care law …only three Democrats refused … blah … blah … blah …action on the floor … stunning contrast to that collaborative effort … yadda … yadda … vote saddens me … yadda … George Washington … ‘saucer … tea.’ … Democrats … saucer … pieces. I’m afraid … less-tempered body.”

A less-tempered body? Is she kidding?

I’m worried about her. She’s either just getting up from a 6-year nap or suffers from the clinically severe denial that seems to run rampart among some of her GOP colleagues.

Or maybe she just changed her mind.

In 2005, when George Bush was president, she wrote in the Juneau Empire: “Let me make it clear that I support an up-or-down vote on all nominations brought to the Senate floor, regardless of the president nominating them or which party controls the Senate. These nominees deserve to be considered based on their merits.”

In 2013, not so much.

The Republicans have only themselves to blame. They’ve done everything they can think of to undercut a president chosen by a majority of Americans, to inflict maximum damage on the institutions of our government, even at the risk of blowing up the entire world economy, and they aren’t done yet.

I guarantee they are working overtime, right this minute, to figure out new ways to jam a baseball bat into the wheels of government. And they could care less if that hurts you or your neighbor.

In the meantime, maybe some of the 82 vacant federal judgeships can be filled by the president who has that responsibility, with the approval of a majority of senators.

It’s a thing I like to call “democracy.”

P.S. Which president has had the most filibustered nominations by a factor of many? That would be Barack Obama.

[This article is cross-posted at The Anchorage Daily News.]




16 Responses to “GOP Whines About Consequences”
  1. Zyxomma says:

    We have our work cut out for us. We must do everything in our power to get voters registered, and convince our friends, neighbors, families, associates, co-workers, etc. to vote in EVERY election. If (as is so typical) I only voted once every four years, my vote would be just symbolic, rendering it all but meaningless. I get myself to the polls for every primary and every general. I even showed up at my polling place once when there was nothing to vote on in my district.

    If you live in one of the states where official photo ID is required (in order to suppress Democratic votes), HELP those without such ID obtain it. It might mean looking something up on the internet, or giving someone a ride.

    GET OUT THE VOTE! This means YOU.

  2. NickWI says:

    imagine if this had happened in 2009. we would have gotten a lot more stuff done that was filibustered in the Senate. a bigger stimulus, a stronger aca, heck we likely wouldnt have had the ea party uprisding, as fake as it was.

  3. GoBig says:

    The Senate had become a farce. It became standard operating procedure to require 60 votes for ANYTHING to get through. That way, nothing passed without the GOP having free reign to add unrelated amendments to legislation, and block every appointment.

    This was long overdue. The wing nuts need to realize they only control 1/3 of the government currently, and are not going to get their way on everything.

    I hope the democrats can recapture the house and marginalize these crazies like Michelle Bachman and Paul Ryan.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Michele “one L” retires next year.She’s done. According to Caribou Berbie,Dems upset the balance of congress by removing the filibuster. In wingnut world controlling one third of government equals balance,as long as they only have the one third.

      • beth. says:

        Mayhap Caribou Barbie needs to read that ol’ Constitution she holds so dear…and then get back to us about where in it, exactly, the Framers of it said word one about any filibuster in/for running our Government and/or for the ‘balancing of congress’. Mayhap she thinks it’s in one of the amendments with which they clarified the intent and ‘details’ of the original document? Either way, I’d love to know where it can be found. beth.

        • Alaska Pi says:

          Leave us remind ourselves whatzername had a hissy fit when ONE of her appointments was rejected by our Legs (if I remember correctly the first such rejection in our history).
          Would that she would apply that knowledge to the filbuster of adminstration appointees during Mr Obama’s tenure…
          Is a far more grievous hampering of administrative function to block even getting to a real vote about the proposed appointees 82 times, rilly,
          but this person who joyously retains the honorary Gov title can’t get her pea brain around any of it, can she?

  4. mike from iowa says:

    Here’s another positive for wingnuts to whine about. The federal gov’t taking enormous profits from the private sector. I wonder if Darrell “my brother did it” Issa has had this program investigated yet?

  5. mike from iowa says:

    Wonder if Merck or Pfizer or anyone has come up with a drug for rethuglican congressional dysfunction? Maybe what’s needed is an old fashioned trip behind the woodshed.

  6. Theresa Roberts says:

    Great article, Shannon. I thoroughly enjoyed it except for one minor quibble. You said, ” And they could care less if that hurts you or your neighbor.” It should actually be they could NOT care less… If they could care less means they can care less. In other words, the exact opposite of what you are trying to say. That is one maxim that is used incorrectly so much of the time that it makes me crazy. Other than that, it was truly excellent writing, which I have come to expect from you.

  7. AKblue says:

    Typical bullies: they can’t take it when someone stands up to them!

  8. John says:

    They have every right to be upset. Consequences are for poor people.

  9. Amy says:

    now individual GOP senators will place a hold on a nomination instead (anonymously)

  10. Mo says:

    Let’s see now…
    ObamaCare is working, Harry Reid slapped down the GOP monkeys,
    a hugely important agreement has been reached with Iran,
    and $arah “Bullseye” Palin still can’t correctly pronounce “nuclear.”

  11. mike from iowa says:

    This is so true,Shannyn. I’m still waiting for Reid to say he had his fingers crossed so the filibuster remains in effect. As for the living in denial-
    Sinator Cornball from Texas accused Obama of announcing the nuclear agreement with Iran to deflect attention away from the ACA. Must hurt something fierce for wingnuts to give credit to the Black guy in the White House. Thanks for the work you do,Ms Moore. 🙂