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View Diary: A Question for KagroX (7 comments)

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  •  Could some say we've been hypocritical? (8+ / 0-)

    Sure.

    Will they? Sure. Would they anyway, about something else, or maybe even this very thing (somehow), even if this hadn't been done? Yes. So I don't worry about it all that much.

    Why didn't we just change the rules to require a talking filibuster?

    Setting new formal rules for filibusters going forward really requires a change in the Standing Rules of the Senate. That, as Evoculture mentions above, is something Jeff Merkley is still working for. But the situation in which the Senate found itself just now really didn't lend itself all that easily to a formal rules change. What Harry Reid needed and wanted was a quick end to the obstruction of a particular set of appointments, and he did the narrowest thing possible to get that taken care of.

    I still would have preferred (in the abstract) to see the formal rules debated and settled at the beginning of this Congress. I think that's more orderly and understandable, but it didn't happen. It still could, at the start of the next Congress. Or even at the start of every Congress, if Merkley, Udall and others have their way.

    Bottom line here is that I don't think the requisite number of Senators had come to a clear agreement about what formal rules they'd like to have in place going forward, and in order to unite them to the degree necessary to adopt new rules, they're going to have to have some extended study, discussion and debate. The one thing on which they were apparently in significant agreement was the need to get these nominations taken care of, and so that's what Reid was able to carry forward for them.

    Strictly speaking, I'm not even all that sure that what he did will settle the problem of executive and judicial nominations once and for all. It sets a precedent, to be sure, and future parliamentarians and presiding officers will be able to point to it in order to justify giving a different ruling than Pat Leahy was forced to give on Thursday. But that doesn't mean the ruling will be less controversial, and Republicans could still continue to appeal it every time. Eventually it might become learned behavior that they don't have the numbers to prevail, but there has been no formal rules change here. Not that even formal rules aren't subject to challenge, as we saw on Thursday.

    Very meta, this is!

    But again, the short answer is that what they did on Thursday was the quickest and least complicated path to getting the one thing on which the requisite number of Senators could agree: that these particular nominations had to move forward, right now.

    •  Thanks for the explanation (0+ / 0-)

      Makes sense, though I do see the GOP going into Kamikaze-mode from here on out. Especially now that a nuke deal is on the table with Iran. The GOP are going to do all they can to sabotage this since they cannot stand for Obama to have a win of any  kind.

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