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View Diary: It's not about "secret holds." It's about the filibuster. (46 comments)

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  •  through a parliamentary ruling (0+ / 0-)

    aka "the nuclear option?"

    I think they didn't do it then for very good reasons. I've heard people say they think they'll do it next time they gain power, but I'm curious if any statements or declarations were made (apart from the nuclear option showdown in 2005) to support that belief.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Fri May 07, 2010 at 11:42:34 AM PDT

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    •  Perhaps the nuclear option. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raptavio

      Or perhaps its less radical cousin, the "constitutional option."

      One reason I think you might see it happen is that the agreement which prevented it from happening -- that among the members of the "Gang of 14" -- was only operative for the duration of the 109th Congress, and only operative among the agreement's signatories.

      Of the seven Republican Senators who signed on, three are gone, and the remaining four are Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Lindsey Graham and John McCain. I don't know that any of them really command much in the way of respect and agreement within the Republican Conference when it comes to convincing the rank & file to moderate their stances and proceed with caution.

      •  the "Constitutional option" (0+ / 0-)

        was nothing more than a rebranding of the "Nuclear option" when they realized that framing was playing very poorly in the press. They also tried the "Byrd option" for a time, claiming the option was originally pushed by Byrd in other circumstances.

        And true, those Senators are the ones left (and of them McCain seems far less likely to stand firm), but there are 37 others, and if the GOP were to reclaim the Senate, at least 9 more on top of that. How many sane ones would it take to stop an ultimately self-destructive move like that?

        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

        by raptavio on Fri May 07, 2010 at 12:02:51 PM PDT

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        •  There's an actual difference between them. (1+ / 0-)
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          raptavio

          The "constitutional option" involved executing this maneuver at the beginning of a new Congress, based on prior rulings from the chair.

          The nuclear option involved executing the maneuver in the middle of a Congressional session, based on a majority's ability to uphold a theoretical ruling from Dick Cheney in the chair, despite its lack of support in precedent.

          •  Ahhh. (0+ / 0-)

            I see. Well, as I recall, there was a time when they did try to rename "the nuclear option" as "the Constitutional option" - but perhaps it developed a life of its own later.

            We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

            by raptavio on Mon May 10, 2010 at 08:12:08 AM PDT

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            •  They tried to use an existing name for it. (1+ / 0-)
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              raptavio

              The "constitutional option" was the name used for the plan to make such changes at the beginning of a new Congress outlined by the conservative scholars Martin Gold and Dimple Gupta in 2004. When the Republicans found they were on the short end of the PR stick with the "nuclear option" terminology, they hoped to switch over to the use of the already existing "constitutional option" language without anybody noticing.

              But in so doing, they had to ignore Gold and Gupta's basic premise, which was that this was doable at the beginning of a new Congress, not mid-session. So it was sort of an after-the-fact thing that the nuclear option became defined as the mid-session, damn-the-precedents approach, while the constitutional option remained the beginning-of-a-new-Congress version.

      •  and by the way (0+ / 0-)

        I appreciate you taking the time to discuss it all with me. There are angles to this I'm still trying to fully understand.

        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

        by raptavio on Fri May 07, 2010 at 12:40:52 PM PDT

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