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View Diary: It's Time To Go Nuclear (28 comments)

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  •  They will fight this rule, but they will lose. (none)
    We don't have the votes to stop a rule change anymore.  Not with "Mr Cooperative" Arlen Spector.
    It might be for the best, though.  Maybe then it will sink in to the DC dems what we are dealing with.

    The odds are pretty good but the goods are pretty odd. -Dr. Frank

    by Cheez Whiz on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 01:27:49 PM PST

    •  What about this idea (none)
      The Repugs just want to change the rule for judicial nominations only.  They know that the filibuster more generally is a good thing for conservatives, because it prevents us from changing the country for the better when we're in power.

      What we need to do is filibuster everything else if the Repugs want to change this rule.  Literally, we should hold up everything they want to do.  Make it clear to them that we're willing to do whatever it takes, period.

      Don't you think this could work?  We just need our side to have enough backbone.

      •  That might work. (none)
        I am happy to let the Repugs have their way on most things, but to simultaneously lay out an alternate agenda.  Filibuster the big things.  On other things you carp, and criticize and talk up your solutions, but you don't try and obstruct everything.

        It's how opposition parties work in a parliamentary democracy and we'd do well to emulate it.

        The odds are pretty good but the goods are pretty odd. -Dr. Frank

        by Cheez Whiz on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 01:41:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Overall I agree (none)
          I agree with you ... the only problem with this thing (changing the filibuster rule) is that we can't filibuster it.  The way they're going to do it by having the presiding officer declare that 51 breaks a filibuster--which means that we have to get a majority to overturn that determination, which we can't do.

          So we need to filibuster something else, something that matters for the Repugs, until they give up the fight to change the filibuster rule for judicial nominations.

          •  again, a fair point... (none)
            but what is to stop them from simply defining away the filibuster in all situations?  The senate makes its own rules, it can do this.

            The odds are pretty good but the goods are pretty odd. -Dr. Frank

            by Cheez Whiz on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 01:49:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They could (none)
              You're right, they could.  But they don't want to do it, because the filibuster is the only thing that stops us from doing what we want when we're in power.

              The filibuster is a conservative rule, by it's very nature.  It requires a supermajority to get anything done.  The Republicans know that they're in power now, but if they ever lose power they'll regret getting rid of the filibuster more generally, because once it's gone it will be hard to resurrect.

              What we want to do is raise the cost for them if they want to change this rule.  Make them change it everywhere, and make them get bad publicity, and just altogether make their life hell.  If they're going to do this, force them to spend a lot of political capitol doing it.

              There are a lot of things that aren't worth going nuclear on.  Most things aren't.  This is so important that it's an exception, I think.

              •  here is the problem (none)
                Even if the republicans don't want to eliminate the filiubster rule so that its there when they are in the minority, what guarantee do they have that it will still be there when they want it?  There would be nothing stopping the democrats for eliminating the filibuster when they have the votes to do it.  Republicans would be leaving the rule in place as a good will gesture, but I really don't think that is likely because they simply wouldn't trust the democrats to leave it in when the rule became invconvenient.
                •  Interesting (none)
                  I'm not so sure.  After all, we had the Senate Majority from the 60s to the 90s (with some brief interruptions) and we never outright eliminated the filibuster rule.

                  Plus, if we make a ruckus now, it will make both sides reluctant to get rid of the filibuster.  If we're actually successful, the conventional wisdom will be "it's too tough/costly to get rid of the filibuster."

                  I think the GOP is doing a cost/benefit analysis right now with the filibuster more generally.  They think that eliminating the filibuster for all legislation might be too costly, or (more likely, in my view) they might think that the filibuster is a good thing overall.  I just want to make getting rid of the filibuster for judicial nominations more costly for them, so they'll back off.  Force them to choose between this and the rest of their agenda.

                  •  once again (none)
                    there has been a downward spiral on this issue for a long time.  Maybe starting with Reagan making a campaign promise to have conservatives on the court or with Bork or Thomas, but it has been getting worse and worse over time.  When Clinton had a democratic senate, the republicans didn't filibuster any democratic judges.  The democrats have filibustered 11 out of 18 circuit court appointees from Bush.  I just don't see how it could possibly improve from here on out.  

                    But lets say that the republicans leave the filibuster in place, and just use the threat of the nuclear option to pass through more judges than than they were able to do in Bush's first term but leave the rule intact.  Some time in the future the democrats gain control of the senate and the presidency, and the republicans go to filiubster a supreme court justice.  Do you really think that people here wouldn't be climbing the walls for the democrats to use the nuclear option to change the rules?  That people would be talking about how spineless the dems are for not invoking it when they have the votes?  And for the republicans- they know the democrats already used the option once when they needed the bar lowered, I just don't see what reason they would have to think the democrats wouldn't use it again in the future if it was on an issue they considered to be important enough.  

                    If there was any way to make a compromise binding on future sessions of the senate, I could see the republicans leaving the rule in place.  But in a situation like this where the republicans have a structural senate advantage (more red states) and no guarantee of the rule being there when they want it, I just think the nuclear option is inevitable unless the democrats virtually lay down and literally only pick one or 2 spots to block.

      •  if they did this (none)
        The problem is that if they did this, there is nothing stopping them from using the nuclear option again to get rid of the filibuster rule completely.  If democrats are really trying to use 45 senators to shut down the senate compeltely, there would be more public support for changing the rules than if they pick their spots.  But at some point you simply can't hope for public opinion to be on your side and you need to do anything you can to raise the visibility of the issue.

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