What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 19, 2006

Filibuster this, filibuster that

Check this out It's from the AP.
The Senate's next Republican leader issued a veiled threat to block action on legislation if Democrats refuse to allow confirmation votes on President Bush's troubled judicial nominations.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (news, bio, voting record) of Kentucky, who will become minority leader Jan. 4, told the conservative Federalist Society Friday not to feel bad about the Senate election results because Republicans will hold 49 seats in a body that requires 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring legislation or presidential nominees to a final vote.

If the "Democrats want our cooperation, they'll give the president's judicial nominee an up-or-down vote," McConnell said.
Wait a sec. Is Senator McConnell really threatening (and I suppose he is) to filibuster other legislation unless Dubya's nominees get to bypass the entire Senate process and get an up-or-down vote?

Even though Senator Frist admitted on the Senate floor on May 12, 2005 that there's no Constitutional requirement for all Judicial nominees to get an "up or down" vote:
Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, I would Mr. President, here is my guide, the Constitution of the United States. What does it say? Does it say that each nominee shall have an up-or-down vote? Does it say that? I ask the Senator from Tennessee, I ask any Senator to respond to that question. Does this Constitution accord to each nominee an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor?

Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I would be happy to respond to the question that has been directed to me.

Mr. BYRD. I ask unanimous consent that I may yield without losing my right to the floor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The Senator from Tennessee is recognized.

Mr. FRIST. To the question, does the Constitution say that every nominee of the President deserves an up-or-down vote, the answer is, no, the language is not there. [emphasis added]
So Mitch McConnell is threatening to stop legislation (unreleated legislation) for in order to force something that is not even Constitutionally mandated.

Ah, Republicans. You have to admire such a respect for tradition.

This brief primer should suffice to illustrate how the GOP views rules and traditions that get in the way of their power:
Originally, after Republicans gained control of the Senate in the 1994 elections and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch assumed control of the Judiciary Committee, the rule regarding judicial nominees was this: If a single senator from a nominee's home state objected to (or "blue-slipped") a nomination, it was dead. This rule made it easy for Republicans to obstruct Clinton's nominees.

But in 2001, when a Republican became president, Hatch suddenly reversed course and decided that it should take objections from both home-state senators to block a nominee. That made it harder for Democrats to obstruct George W. Bush's nominees.

In early 2003 Hatch went even further: Senatorial objections were merely advisory, he said. Even if both senators objected to a nomination, it could still go to the floor for a vote.

Finally, a few weeks later, yet another barrier was torn down: Hatch did away with "Rule IV," which states that at least one member of the minority has to agree in order to end discussion about a nomination and move it out of committee.
Here's a thought for the new Judiciary Committee: Reset the rules to exactly what they were when there was a Democrat in the White House and the Republicans used the rules to block President Clinton's nominees. Senator Feinstein in 2005:
When Democrats were in the White House -- I will talk for a moment on Senate procedure -- Republicans used the filibuster and other procedural delays to deny judicial nominees an up-or-down vote. So denying a judicial nominee an up-or-down vote is nothing new. It has been done over and over and over again. I speak as a member of the Judiciary Committee for 12 years, and I have seen it done over and over and over again.

So why suddenly is an up-or-down vote now the be all and end all?

Last administration, Republicans used the practice of blue slips or an anonymous hold, which I have just described, to allow a single Senator -- not 41 Senators, but 1 -- to prevent a nomination from receiving a vote in the Judiciary Committee, a 60-vote cloture vote on the floor, or an up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate. This was a filibuster of one, and it can still take place within the Judiciary Committee.

The fact is, more than 60 judicial nominees suffered this fate during the last administration. In other words, over 60 Clinton judges were filibustered successfully by one Senator, often anonymous, often in secret, no debate as to why. It was an effective blackball.
Tradition - reset the rules and ignore McConnell's childishly absurd threat.


Anonymous said...

David, are you ever going to move forward? Or do you take delight in looking backwards all the time? The Republicans lost, palsy. You guys are in charge! Move forward already! Quit with the whining already, you guys won, remember?

You won and you still are whining. Does anything please you?

Now that the Democrats are in charge, why don't you start talking about the big Democrat plan for America. How about it, David?

John Schutrick said...

The Constitution of the United States specifies that excecutive power resides in the President. For those of you who are not in touch with things political (and I'm sorry to say this seems to be you, Anon), this means that he and Jesus are still in charge in this country.

That means it's still Mr. Bush's war, Mr. Bush's corporate economy, Mr. Bush's abuse of power.

It looks to me as though the House, being the most political branch, will have a lot to say about our national direction, sure. The Senate may actually do its job now and obstruct some his more egregious outrages. And there will be a lot of legislation for him to veto over the next two years. But Mr. Bush is still Tha Man.

Until 2009, when Tha Man may actually be Tha Woman.

Anonymous said...

John, you're an idiot. First off, get it through your head that it's a Democrat house and senate now. Or, did you forget? Oh wait! I know, you just don't want your beloved Democrats to be resonsible for whatever actions they take, right? You need to pin the blame, in typical liberal form.

By the way, this "Corporate Economy" that you speak of. Interest rates are down. People are buying. Companies are hiring. The unemployment rates are way down, more than they have been in years. Yep, this economy sucks.

So Mr. Smart-Shit, what options from your Marxist play book would you pick to fix what aint even broke?

I know! Raise taxes!


John Schutrick said...

Pardon my idiocy for quoting the United States Constitution. Anon, why do you hate the Constitution? (:^)}

My feelings about the Democrats have nothing to do with anything, but just to help you prevent making an ass of yourself again, know that I have almost as much contempt for them as for the Rapepublicans. Almost.

As for the economy, you come closer to being right. Don't misunderstand and get excited -- you're wrong in general, but you're actually right about a couple of things. I'm tempted to ask you to prove your points just for giggles, but I know you won't; so I'll just give our readers the facts (you can ignore them):

Interest rates are down? Compared to when? The Discount Rate is higher than it was this time last year, the year before that, and the year before that. Is is also higher than it was in the 6th year of the Clinton administration.

The unemployment rate is also higher than it was in the 6th year of the Clinton administration. But you are correct in saying it is down -- when compared to Bush's disasterous first term. (In fact, all of your comparitives are in relation to horrendous performance of the Bush first term when he started his campaign to eviscerate the middle class.)

Unfortunately, while employment may be "improving," median household income is falling. It's down 5.9% since 2000, while productivity is up. What this means is that the big corporations are paying less and getting more. That's why I call it the corporate economy.

While income drops, health care and energy costs soar. If you call this a good economy, you're either quite wealth, quite stupid, or a member of the Bush administration. (Oh, I already said wealthy and stupid. Sorry for the redundancy.)

Companies are hiring. Sure, and the jobs they're hiring for are of the "you want fries with that" variety.

As for raising taxes, yeah, I think so. I guess you would say a better idea would be to bankrupt your grandkids to pay for Bush's buddy's yachts and for neocon wars. But then, caring about the future is just another example of my idiocy.

Justin said...


I want to be John's friend. =D

Z said...

Go John!!!!

xranger said...

Pretty good liberal talking points, Shitrock - typical.

Now, an economic primer. The Fed has used a monetary policy of using the interest rate to control inflation. The failed presidency of Jimmy Carter proved to both parties that inflation is the worst possible occurence in our market economy. Reagan fixed that, coupled with lowering the top tax rates down from 70%.

The Fed has raised interest rates over the past 12 months because the economy was traveling so fast, in an effrot to curb inflation. It worked.

The Fed indicated last week that they are holding interest rates at the current level, and will lower if inflation is truly in check.

The final lesson today, grasshopper, is to realize the old addage that "no tree grows to the sky." The economy will never continue to climb forever, because it will over-heat. In the 1920's, economists around the globe did not realize this phenomenom, and the Great Depression occured. Since then, we have had recessions of various dgrees of severity, and they are truly a cleansing effect on the ecnomoy.

GW inherited the last recession cycle, which started before he entered office. This was the natural occurence. Couple this with 9/11 and the potential crippling effect on the stock market, and the US economy recovered nicely because of the tax cuts.

Finally, add some background on your middle class strain argument. Throwing out numbers with no back-up does nothing to bolster the claim.

Keep the heavy thinking to us grown-ups. Plagiarizing Democrat talking points from election pamphlets does not an intelligent point make.

John Schutrick said...

An excellent offering, x. Perhaps your best ever.

First, I want to compliment you on the clever transformation of my name. No one has ever thought to do that. Your play on words is a clear sign of an insightful, penetrating mind.

Next I must apologize for not offering any solid references and numbers as you did. I'm willing to bet that your documentation would have been even more detailed, had you not been so busy with your latest textbook on the "ecnomoy", which promises to explicate the most expeditious way to pass the burden of military excesses to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Finally, let me emphasize and clarify a point that you made so well. I note that your exhaustive analysis referred to the "recession cycle," not the recession itself. As your know, the 2001 recession actually began a month or two into Mr. Bush's administration and was over before the end of the year. So by the time the effects of his tax cuts surfaced, both the recession and the Clinton expansion were distant memories.

And your use of the word "grown-ups" was even more brilliant than when Mr. Bush's staff used it at when he went into office. As in "the grown-ups are taking over now." That was right before (or was it after?) they made up that story about the W's missing on their keyboards.

Well, this has been pleasant. Please send me an autographed copy of your book as soon as you translate it into Sanskrit and Japanese.

xranger said...


Anyway, the scare tactic of "defits for our children" is dubious at best.

This first came out during the 1980's, a generation ago, during Reagan's two terms. The military had been thoroughly eviscerated during the "Volar" days, and a buildup began. Liberals decried the deficit then as onerous for our children, with dire consequences.

Well, its 20 years later, and we're still waiting for those consequences.

John Schutrick said...

Well, you are unquestionably the expert on the "ecnomoyic" effects of "defits". Can't argue with you there.

Grown-ups like you certainly understand this complicated stuff better than a grasshopper such a I, so please explain: If we keep tripling the debt as we did with Reagan/Bush and tripling it again with W, who's gonna pay the interest?

Well, its 20 years later, and we're still waiting for those consequences.

Yes we are. Damn that Clinton for paying down the debt and delaying the consequences; but no need to get impatient, it won't be much longer now.

xranger said...

Well, Clinton did indeed, in the Democratic mold, weaken the military. This helped lower the Federal budget. Bush had to spend more to rebuild it, even before 9/11.

Another thing was the gridlock that occured after Newt & Co. won the House. When they two sides couldn't agree on a new budget, the government operated under resolution, keeping the government working under existing budget levels.

Therefore, no new programs, no increases. Pretty good deal, actually.

You keep servin' em up, I'll keep smashin' em back at ya.

John Schutrick said...

You win, x. I can't keep up with the way you keep changing the subject.

EdHeath said...

cyert134Well, at least y’all are talking to each other. (heh)

I might slip in that the original post concerned Mitch McConnell asserting that he is no Frist, and will hold the Senate hostage if the democrats do not acquiesce to the President’s judicial nominees (the Senate’s special responsibility). There is no tradition, there is no bipartisanship, there is only the magic number; 60 (not 51). The republicans need to demonstrate to corporate America that they still have the majority of power, so corporate America goes back to donating only to Republicans.

The economic record of the last twenty years is, in my opinion, mixed, with enough caveats for both sides. I do think Clinton lucked in the Internet boom, without it he (or the Republican Congress) would not have been nearly as successful.

I have to take some issue with the characterization of Republicans as grown-ups. That particular myth seemed to develop when the republicans were a congressional minority. The last six years of a republican controlled congress largely unable to control itself have wiped out that myth, and the republicans will have to earn the grown up label again. This is in my opinion, though I’ll bet you could find a fair amount of agreement on any street in any town in the country.

xranger said...

No, I meant compared to Schutrick, I was the grownup.

John Shitrock said...

Let's see: one of us is quoting the Constitution and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The other is making potty jokes about the other person's name.

I will leave it to the jury to decide who the grown-up is. Do we have a verdict?

xranger said...

Oh, that was just prep to the smack-down.

John Shitrock said...

I'm not going to do the ad hominem thing with you, x. If you want to debate facts and opinions, bring it on. But if you want to sit there and pound your chest like Tarzan and keep calling me Poopy-Face, you are on your own.

Another thing I won't do is play dialectic Whack-A-Mole with you. If you stick to the topic at hand until you have nothing further to say, we can debate productively. But in my opinion your tactic of changing topics from post to post is a symptom of either intellectual bankruptcy or outright dishonesty. I don't want to think either of those things about you, and I won't support your behavior by reacting to it anymore.

BTW, I have a new nom de clavier, thanks to you. From now on, I shall sign myself as I have done here. When a reactionary flings crap on me, I wear it with pride.