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View Diary: What stands in the way of "forcing" a filibuster? (251 comments)

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  •  I'm sick of Dems' so-called politeness. (12+ / 0-)

    I want to really stick it to the NOs.

    What do you expect? Our national anthem is a drinking tune.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 06:03:45 AM PST

    •  Obvious next question here: (28+ / 0-)

      Why weren't the Senate Dems filibustering everything in sight as the Republicans were looting this country and killing people over the last 8 years?

      Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

      by maxschell on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 06:38:12 AM PST

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      •  That is a damn good question. (7+ / 0-)

        And I think it ties to our ongoing problems.  As a whole, Congressional Dems seem to lack strength of belief in their own supposed ideals.  They're always willing to water down their own legislation, or even their objections to things that blatantly oppose the democratic ideals.

        Tres bizarre.

        I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 06:47:16 AM PST

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        •  "their own supposed ideas" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ezekial 23 20

          Heavy emphasis on "supposed," I think.

          Stop Obama's Wars Now! Bring the Troops Home!

          by GreenSooner on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 07:46:39 AM PST

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          •  A LOT of The Problem Is The MEDIA! (4+ / 0-)

            The CONSTANT corporate media narrative is that Republicans and Conservatives are "right" and "real Americans" and liberals are DFH's whose "crazy" ideas don't even need to be debated because they're so obviously irrelevant to anybody in Washington who's serious!

            Democratic Senators have gotten defensive like a dog that's been whipped constantly and tired out like a runner who's constantly running into a high wind. It was just easier to go along with the flow to the right.

            In the corporate media it's always "great news for John McCain!"

            Democrats who get elected in such a culture become used to worrying about appearing "too liberal" by proposing ANYTHING the right-wing really hates -- like any liberal reform at all. They appear weak, but really they are just responding to the prevailing media culture.

            It takes a certain fearlessness to be like Bernie Sanders and ignore all that, and MOST politicians don't have that kind of courage -- or they wouldn't have run for office or gotten elected in the first place.

            •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Friend, aliasalias

              It drives me nuts that they always refer to the most Conservative Democratic cacaus members who vote like Republicans as "Moderate", and anybody who votes consistently with the Democratic postion as a "Liberal", or "far to the left of the American mainstream". Republicans are always referred to as "Standing up for their Conservative Prinicples" or if they occassional vote with a Democratic position as "Willing to reach across the aisle".

      •  It was the last stand of the old customs (18+ / 0-)

        Democrats were still largely functioning under the old rules and customs, under which it was assumed that there were consequences for excessive use of the filibuster.

        To be sure, Democrats in the recent Congresses controlled by Republicans made increased use of the filibuster, but Republicans in this Congress have taken things well beyond even that escalation. And I guess it should be pointed out that the recent spike could be said to have its origin in the 103rd Congress (1993-94), when Republicans were making their charge to take over in the Gingrich "Republican Revolution."

        The period from 1971 through 1992 was marked by its own dramatic increase in the use of the cloture voting. Prior to 1971, the number of cloture votes held had never even entered double digits. From 1971 through 1992, though, cloture motions suddenly began being filed in numbers that ranged from the low 20s in the beginning, and went up to nearly 60 by the end.

        But then, suddenly, things skyrocketed. In the 103rd Congress, Democrats had to file 80 cloture motions, and from there, the pattern was clear. When the roles reversed and Democrats found themselves the ones depending on the filibuster power, they returned the favor in kind, and cloture motions remained in the neighborhood of 60-80 in each Congress from then on.

        Until the 110th Congress, when Republicans lost control of the Senate to Democrats again. With the filibuster back in Republican hands, the 110th Congress saw 139 cloture motions filed. So what's that, a 70% increase in the frequency of cloture motion filings? That's pretty dramatic.

        And that's the problem. It used to be assumed that there would be unbearable consequences to that kind of abuse of the filibuster. But it turns out that that's either just not true, or that the mechanics of imposing those consequences are too frightening a thought to be borne.

        •  Gridlock would be preferrable to the heists (4+ / 0-)

          that have been coming out of Congress and the WH for the last 30 years.  Let em filibuster their asses off.

          They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20. ~~ Dennis Kucinich

          by dkmich on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 07:06:45 AM PST

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        •  That could still be true (6+ / 0-)

          It used to be assumed that there would be unbearable consequences to that kind of abuse of the filibuster.

          Democrats choose not to make it so.

          Republican understood how to play the game.  Up or Down vote.  Nuclear Option.  Reconciliation.

          They put their foot on the accelerator and never stopped.  Democrats put their foot on the brake and decided you can't get into an accident if you are not moving.

          "Just today, Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." Sen. Barack Obama

          by justmy2 on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 07:36:51 AM PST

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        •  rules (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias, OleHippieChick

          The system changed when the Rs impeached Clinton frivolously.  This can be stopped if the Dems play hardball--and hold up legislation beneficial to certain senator's districts.  There is power in the purse--but you need guts to use it.

      •  Up until 2006, Most bills weren't filibustered (3+ / 0-)

        Democrats, I think, were just following precedent  

        •  When the Republicans broke the Senate they broke (0+ / 0-)

          it forever, or at least until we switch to majority rule in the Senate. If the Republicans ever get the Senate back, Democratic voters will demand that Democratic Senators obstruct the Republicans just as much as the Republicans did when the Democrats had the majority.

      •  Why weren't the Dems filibustering ? (0+ / 0-)

         Because in much of that Bush administration time frame, they would have been labeled traitors and skewered like the Dixie Chicks were by the radio stations. The Dems just had to sit things out until they got Obama in office.

      •  I think if you look back, particularly to Bush's (0+ / 0-)

        first term, there was a very clever tactic by the right to accuse anyone who opposed their agenda of being un-American, not supporting the troops, siding with the terrorists, etc.  This framing, directly after 9/11, was a very powerful weapon, which the Democrats were afraid of.  (The Republicans have always been better at coining phrases that resonate with the uninformed).  It was in this way that the GOP was able to intimidate the Democrats into going along with their agenda, at least their "national security" agenda.  Those issues which didn't fit in the "un-American" mold, like the tax cuts for the wealthy, they passed through reconciliation.

        Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

        by SottoVoce on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 12:12:58 PM PST

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