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Today, along with allies in the coalition to reform Senate rules, I am going to Capitol Hill for six meetings, each with the staff of a different Senator. At each meeting, I will be delivering the more than 20,000 signatures to our petition to reform Senate rules. In each case, the home state signatures will be on top of the petition. None of your emails will be handed out.

At each meeting, once the petition is delivered, I will ask the staff with whom we meet to answer the question that forms the petition:

Does Senator X believe that Senate rules can, and should, be changed with only a simple majority vote on the first day the Senate is in session in 2011?

These meetings, which are made possible in part by your signatures, will form the kernel of our public whip count to prove that the rules of the Senate can be changed on the first day Congress is in session in 2011.

I will be updating the progress of these meetings on Twitter as they happen. You can follow our progress @ThisBowers.

If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please do so here. We will be able to deliver your signatures to all future meetings on Capitol Hill.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  which Senators staffs will you be meeting with? (5+ / 0-)

    Proud to be a Democrat.

    by yanksfan6129 on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:04:06 AM PDT

  •  Which Senators (2+ / 0-)

    have signed on?

    There should never be a tax benefit for companies that screw over American workers.

    by bear83 on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:04:43 AM PDT

  •  I really appreciate the updates. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, ridemybike

    I've signed many a petition but never knew when it was going to be delivered, much less have a Twitter Feed.

    Thanks so much!

  •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scientician, ridemybike

    Majority rule is key to real progress on any issue we care about.

  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    Suit and tie? And hopefully a good tie?

    PrairieStateBlue - Open Source Illinois Politics

    by ltsply2 on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:15:03 AM PDT

  •  Don't bother (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RweTHEREyet

    with your petition, the Republicans will get rid of the filibuster as soon as they win in November.Obama and the Democrats really screwed the pooch this time.

    •  I agree, it is a mistake (0+ / 0-)

      "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

      by shmuelman on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:57:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't forget the irony... (0+ / 0-)

      Sans the legislative trickery.. the filibuster would probably have protected the Democratic hold on power..killing this ill-planned monstousity and allowed them to survive November; start over with incremental, digestable reform of which we'd ALL at least have a comfortable understaning..

      •  yes (0+ / 0-)

        That worked so well in 1994.  The lack of a health care bill was such a vote-getter for the Democrats.

        Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

        by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:26:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see your point.. (0+ / 0-)

          .. but that was a different, political era. It is similar in that a BIG comprehensive plan was suggested.. instead of sensible, bi-partisan, incremental reform.. the people at large will always reject it. Plus 1994 had a wave of aggressive gun-banning in it (Brady, Assualt-weapon bans, prohibitive ammunition taxation)

          Bottom line, no massive politcal reform works, or is even a good idea.. ideology aside.

          •  everything (0+ / 0-)

            You said is ahistorical and unsupported.  The New Deal was the largest reforms in US history and worked brilliantly for decades.  If they didn't work, it would be hard to imagine the US winning WWII and becoming the global hyperpower.  They were certainly popular which is unarguable however you rate their effectiveness.  

            1994 was not about guns.  There's no credible evidence that in the absence of the AWB that the Democrats keep Congress.  Gun control was popular in 1994.  It was not a major campaign issue in any case.

            And the HCR that passed was largely Bob Dole's plan from the 1990s.  It was bi-partisan and incremental.   The public option was cut.  Offering Medicare to 55 year olds was cut.  Allowing the government to negotiate drug prices was cut.  Allowing drug importation from Canada was cut.  The idea of buying insurance over state lines was incorporated in the form of allowing inter-state compacts to do just that.  There is a long list of right wing ideas in that health care bill, and it still doesn't reach universal health care.

            Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

            by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 09:04:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If we all agreed.. (0+ / 0-)

              .. there'd be no problems  : )

              But I can tell you from the perspective of a foot soldier in the 1994 movement; that gun control was a HUGE reason many Dems lost their seats..  just ask them..

              As for new deal stuff..  there's no sense in debating popular v succesful.. it's too entrenched in ideology.. but we can get more recent in the "popular v succesful" arena.. A person entering the workforce the day that Medicare was enacted, has yet to benefit from it, and it's already grown to unsustainability. Popular ? Of course.. but far from succesful... it's a black hole for money.

              Look.. this stuff is obvious..  the public is rejecting these massive reforms... even a Progressive has to see that a more open, transparent, incremental approach was called for. There's nothing incremental about 3000+ pages, and trillions of dollars of MORE government, as a starting point for negotiations...

              It's too late of course.. the momentum is set.. and trust me, I'm not happy about a bunch of empowered neo-cons, either. Neither party has really listened to the folks in total.. they're too swept up in the power struggles.

  •  excellent! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StepLeftStepForward

    Good luck, Chris.

    Thanks for this effort... I seriously hope it gains some traction.

    If Helen Keller could do what she did with all the hurdles she had to take, then we can certainly ride our bikes and be tolerant of others. -citisven

    by ridemybike on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:17:50 AM PDT

  •  Be careful what you wish for... (8+ / 0-)

    If Republicans were to gain control of the Senate, then filibuster reform might not seem such a good idea. It's not so bad with a Dem in the White House, but if things also go wrong in 2012...

    Sorry if this sounds too pessimistic - just trying to remind folks that reform is double-edged.

    •  I would agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aexia, Bob Friend, Major Tom

      except how many times did the Dems fight Bush II when
      they had the chance?  

    •  here's why this is misguided (4+ / 0-)

      The filibuster cannot save social security, medicare or any other federal law or program you care about.

      It is a gentlemen's agreement that only survives so long as it is useful to both parties.  It can be ended any time either by the means Chris advocates for, or by the nuclear option.

      So in the event the Republicans are ever poised to undo some cherished gem of the New Deal or Great Society, and public opinion is not sufficiently united to stop them, and somehow 41 Democratic senators cobble together a filibuster (I have trouble typing that it's so implausible) - the Republicans will end the filibuster.

      They like the filibuster, it is very useful for them, but they hate hate hate Social Security far more and given the choice, the filibuster will go.

      In 2005 when they first made a run at killing it, note that this was the first time since the Hoover Administration that the Republicans held the trifecta with more than a 1 seat majority in the Senate.  1952 they had the trifecta but it was only a 1 seat margin in the Senate and 2002 was a 51-49 Senate - the margins were too narrow to kill the filibuster (think Lincoln Chafee).

      Point being the filibuster only survived because the Republicans have not had sufficient opportunity to kill it.  It only survived in 2005 because the moderate Dems caved and gave the Republicans all their odious judges.  You can't invoke the nuclear option if the opposition doesn't filibuster anything.

      So it's a one-sided shackle that only serves to block progressive governance, but won't stop regression if the stars ever align to do it.

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:22:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One side of that blade is far duller (3+ / 0-)

      If your agenda is popular with a good portion of conservative/moderate Democrats (see Iraq War, etc), the filibuster is irrelevant.

      If your agenda is too unpopular to get even a majority (see Social Security privatization), the filibuster is irrelevant.

      And if your agenda is preserving the status quo and doing nothing, the filibuster is actually quite useful.

      The upsides of getting rid of it far outweigh the downsides for progressives.

  •  Are you talking about reform (0+ / 0-)

    or abolishment?

    I'm not for getting rid of the filibuster. Something along the lines of Coburn's plan where the number of votes required to overcome it gradually comes down, I'd be all for.

    Which does your petition endorse?

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:21:52 AM PDT

    •  that (0+ / 0-)

      Would still leave the bulk of the routine republican obstruction in place.  They could block every minor nominee because it would still be too expensive in terms of floor time to go through a week or more of floor time and successive cloture votes to pass them.

      The price is much the same as now, where there are record judicial vacancies.  

      Also, as I argue above the filibuster can be declared unconstitutional any time by majority vote so in the event the Republicans were stymied from something they really want to do by this sort of scheme, they'll end it.

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:25:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Chris wants full-on abolishment of the filibuster (0+ / 0-)

      But this petition is to see if Senators will agree that the Senate rules surrounding the filibuster can be changed, in general.

      So if you want the filibuster to be changed at all, you can sign this petition.  But I believe it's understood that Chris' follow-up work will be toward removing the filibuster altogether.

      •  Fair enough. I'll sign then. (0+ / 0-)

        Because I do believe the filibuster can and should be changed.

        Just not abolished.

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:59:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let us know which Senators you are meeting with (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF, Overseas, Frameshift

    and what the end result were of those meetings.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:22:55 AM PDT

  •  filibuster reform (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cardinal96, Dont Tread on Me

    You know, the filibuster as it stands now protects us when the darksiders are in power. I realize our cowardly Dems in the Senate might not use it effectively. But given the shellacking we look to take this fall,maybe we shouldn't rush to change things. I shudder to think about the two houses controlled by the Confederate party with a weakened filibuster.

    •  how (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aexia

      Does it protect anything when it can be declared unconstitutional at any time by 51 Senators?

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:36:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  filibuster reform (0+ / 0-)

        I say let the other side get rid of it and let them rue the day. I don't think the time to make significant changes is when there is a good chance you will lose the majority. These changes are best made at the beginning of a majority when the changes can be used to promote legislation fitting one's agenda. Why hand a weapon to your opponents?

        •  they won't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aexia, Bob Friend

          "rue" anything.  They're hypocritical enough to wait until they need to get rid of it because they've finally mustered the courage and confused the public enough to kill medicare or something.  In 2005 they invented a distinction between "judicial filibusters" (which were bad, evil and wrong) and "legislative filibusters" (legit, minority rights yay!).  They're utter hypocrites and utterly shameless.

          The filibuster won't save anything you care about and only stops things that need doing like pricing carbon or ending DADT.  

          Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

          by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:51:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Make a list (0+ / 0-)

      of all the things the filibuster stopped during eight years of Bush. (And no, Social Security Privatization wasn't one of them.)

      Now, make a list of all the thing the filibuster stopped during two years of Obama.

      Which list is longer?

      •  the filibuster (0+ / 0-)

        ...is a potent weapon in the hands of those tough enough to wield it. Your comment is more an indictment of weak kneed Dems. When we are down to 46 Dems w/the quislings Baucus and Nelson,we'll need it. There were some victories through its use when Bush was pushing unqualified crazies for the federal courts. We'll see more of that if Obama turns out to be a one termer. If the Rs decide to get rid of it then they will. To do it now when we appear to be about to lose both houses strikes me as batty.

  •  Political considerations (3+ / 0-)

    Do you really think the Democrats are going to want to be on record now, right before the midterms where there majority is looking like it will go down to 1 or 2 votes, as supporting steps to get rid of a filibuster?  

    If getting rid of the filibuster is a principle thing -- i.e., you think that, on principle, majority should control even if you are the party with 48 seats -- then Democrats should have proposed getting rid of it when they were the minority party.  Instead, when Democrats were the minority, and Republicans suggested getting rid of the filibuster just for judicial nominees, Democrats screamed bloody murder and made speeches about how hallowed the filibuster is.    

    To propose it now, shortly after the Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority (60 votes) and when their majority is likely to go down to a bare majority of 1 or 2 votes, is going to strike much of the public (those who are not partisan Democrats, those "Independents" that both parties covet) as crass political maneuvering, I suspect.  

    Whether or not it's good as a matter of principle, I don't think it's good politics right now.  

    •  They did. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aexia, Frameshift

      Joe Lieberman and Tom Harkin introduced a motion allowing for the majority to (Eventually) pass legislation through a series of declining threshold cloture votes on the first day of congress in 1995.  That was the start of the Gingrich revolution and Democrats were in the minority in both chambers, with the prospect of Clinton losing in 1996 very real.

      It was shelved on a vote of 76-19.  All 19 votes to keep the idea alive were Democrats.

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:44:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  65 days till midterm (4+ / 0-)

    and we're delivering filibuster petitions? oy.

  •  I think it is a better idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    illusionmajik

    to get individual Senators to pledge never to use the filibuster--majority or minority. Democrats used the filibuster frequently, I recognize a lot less than every vote which the GOP do now, but it would not sound right to anyone who has been alive since 2004. This petition is not a good idea.

  •  so short sighted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tirge Caps, illusionmajik

    the filibuster is not the problem, and once democrats are back in the minority we will regret trying this "reform."  The problem is Harry Reid, who wrote the Senate rules in such a way that the Republicans can conduct filibusters without any risk or consequence.

    It used to be that to do a filibuster, you had to go out on the Senate floor and talk, virtually non-stop, or it automatically ended.  It created a spectacle - who can forget Strom Thurmond reading from the telephone book - which then drew attention to the fact that the minority was blocking legislation from being voted on.  Now imagine if Reid had said back when the Republicans first tried this on the stimulus go right ahead.  The public would have been more aware of WHY the senate does not work and WHO the people doing the blocking were.  And as they did in 1996, the Republicans would have paid the price.  But Democrats lack the political will to challenge the Republicans, and so they allow them to conduct multiple filibusters without consequence.

    change the rules if you want, but Democrats will find new ways to justify capitulation.  A better plan would be to get some new senators - especially a majority leader with some sense of political combat.

    I vote for people, not parties

    by Dont Tread on Me on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:39:47 AM PDT

    •  Exactly. He should make them filibuster! (0+ / 0-)
      •  He cannot (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aexia, Bob Friend, Frameshift

        The Jimmy Stewart filibuster is a thing of the past, undone in the 1970s reforms that lowered the threshold to 60 votes for cloture.

        Now the onus is on the majority to overcome the filibuster, the minority only needs keep 1 person in the chamber to object to unanimous consent requests.

        Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

        by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:46:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  then THAT should be the goal of reform (0+ / 0-)

          and actually he could, though not Jimmy Stewart style.  Just block off unlimited debate until the minority agreed to a vote.  Nothing would get done, but then that would also cost the minority senators politically as well, since they wouldn't be able to get their pork passed and get their other pet projects back home...

          I vote for people, not parties

          by Dont Tread on Me on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:53:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  not really (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aexia, wsexson

            Conservatives represent the powerful and the predators, who by their existing power don't really need government to do anything.  They'll take government cheese if they can get it, sure, but generally they really do just need government to stay out of their way while they pillage.

            So a government that does literally nothing is fine by them.  This is the asymmetrical flaw at the heart of the reasoning of the House and Senate.  The People (House) want the government to act much more than the aristocrats (Senate).  So the aristocrats have the automatic negotiating upper hand since they have no need to settle.

            Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

            by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:00:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  THIS THIS THIS (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Friend, wsexson, Scientician

              The dynamics of the filibuster inherently favor the Republican position.

              Guess what people - Republicans don't need 60 votes to do nothing about health care. They don't need 60 votes to do nothing about the environment. They don't need 60 votes to do nothing about the financial industry. They don't need 60 votes to do nothing about the economy.

              When your agenda is to do NOTHING, 41 votes will do just fine.

              •  re: THIS THIS THIS (0+ / 0-)

                but sadly the Republican agenda is not to do nothing.  When they regain control of congress (not necessarily this year), they will push for deregulation, more tax cuts, privitzation of Social Security, more intrusive social policies, and maybe a war or two.  And at that point, it will be nice to have the filibuster to fall back on, since you can bet the Ben Nelsons of the world will go along with what the Republicans want to do.

                the filibuster protects the minority, whichever that party happens to be...

                I vote for people, not parties

                by Dont Tread on Me on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 09:00:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  no, it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

                  As I've said, in fact it can be killed by 51 Senators so it doesn't protect the minority.  It's only alive because the Republicans haven't killed it.  

                  If the stars ever align for them to privatize SS and the only thing in the way is a Democratic filibuster, say good bye to the filibuster.  They proved they're ready willing and able to do this in 2005 with the "nuclear option" fracas over some bottom rung Bush Judicial nominees.

                  Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

                  by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 09:07:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  re: not really (0+ / 0-)

              don't confuse government with the legislature...many of the things businesses don't want are regulatory in nature, and can also be carried out via the executive branch or under existing statues.

              also, the "powerful" may not care if government does anything, but the people who don't do - even all those conservatives screaming about keeping government hands off their medicare.  You shut down the government and you will pay a steep electoral price, as we saw in '96

              I vote for people, not parties

              by Dont Tread on Me on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:56:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  thanks for remembering a ubiquitous quorum call (0+ / 0-)
    •  At least there is a few sane people left (0+ / 0-)

      on teh Dailykos.

      ...Fuck the High Priests...

      by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:00:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you not reading replies? (0+ / 0-)

        Reid cannot make them filibuster under the current rules.  You can make Sanders or Feingold majority leader and they cannot make Republicans stand in the well and read the phone book to block legislation.  

        Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

        by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:24:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Who made those current rules? (0+ / 0-)

          ...Fuck the High Priests...

          by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:36:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Byrd (0+ / 0-)

            And others, during the post-watergate reforms in the 70s.  Same time the threshold for cloture was lowered from 67 to 60, the nature of cloture was changed to shift the burden.

            Byrd was majority leader at the time.  I don't recall specifically who proposed the current Rule 22 though.

            Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

            by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:44:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So it has worked for the last 30 years (0+ / 0-)

              And now it isn't?

              Look, I don't pretend to be an expert on this, but I from what I have seen, I just view this as an inability to fight.

              I simply do not believe this in the only way to deal with this issue.

              ...Fuck the High Priests...

              by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 09:02:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  fighting (0+ / 0-)

                I totally agree the Democrats don't fight hard enough.

                However I think the filibuster is a crutch they use to conceal their own cowardice.  It's the perfect all-purpose excuse.  We see it with Dodd opposing Elizabeth Warren on the pretext that she's not confirmable.  Or the abandonment of Dawn Johnsen.  

                However in the years since the filibuster was reformed you always had one of two things being true:

                1. Democratic infighting preventing big legislation (Carter, Clinton 92-94)
                1. Republican control of 1 or more branches preventing any need to rely on the filibuster to block stuff (Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, Republican Congress 95-2006)

                The rise of the filibuster comes just as a new Democratic majority appears that is willing to actually pass a somewhat progressive agenda.  

                Certainly I think many of the Dems are traitors or cowards, but I think they get to hide behind the filibuster as an excuse, which makes it hard to sort them out.  

                Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

                by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 09:24:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •   in time for republicans to take over the senate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    illusionmajik, shmuelman

    i remember the filibuster saving the constitution from flag burning and other right wing wet dreams.  just saying.

    •  Fear is the mind-killer. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, Scientician

      If we decide our fear of the Republicans outweighs our aspirations for progress, then we've basically lost already.  If our nightmares of what they might do outweigh the prospect of actually DOING SOMETHING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, getting better legislation on health care, campaign finance reform, and so on - then what the hell are we doing here anyway?  Eternally playing defense and protecting the status quo?

    •  no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Friend, Frameshift

      The Constitutional requirement that amendments to the Constitution pass with a 2/3rd majority is what stopped the Flag burning amendment.  It wasn't the filibuster.

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:47:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Could the timing of this be any worse? (0+ / 0-)
    Based on the polling trends?

    I guess ultimately Filibuster reform needs to happen to have a funtioning democracy, but this could be a pat on the ass for Republicans after November.

    "Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what."

    by peacemaker33 on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:44:42 AM PDT

    •  That is not a concern. (5+ / 0-)

      The Republicans can't pass legislation with Obama in office, unless they come up with a friggin 2/3 majority in the Senate.

      Dems are quite likely to keep the Senate majority anyway - and it's in that case that a filibuster-free Senate actually matters next year.

      To recap, we have all the incentive and none of the risk in the short term.  And in the long term, the filibuster is no friend of progress.

  •  We will need the filibuster to protect social sec (0+ / 0-)

    if the Repugs take over.

    •  It can't. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, Frameshift

      Republicans can declared the filibuster unconstitutional from the Chair, and 51 votes can sustain that ruling.  No Court will hear any appeal of this.  If the Republicans have majorities in Congress willing to vote to end social security, and a President willing to sign it, they'll do it.

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:48:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're assuming they're the only ones (0+ / 0-)

      who want to cripple or kill Social Security. Take a good look at that Catfood Commission and who put whom on it! Your assumption is neither safe nor valid.

      We're in deep doodoo filibuster or no filibuster.

      If it's
      Not your body
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      AND it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:50:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No we don't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scientician

      Social Security Privatization didn't fly in 2005 when Republicans had a Republican President and a larger majority than they have any hope of having after 2010. It was so unpopular that they couldn't even get a majority.

  •  Either get rid of it or sharply limit it (0+ / 0-)

    For instance, set a (low) number of times per session that it can be used, or restrict it to specific (important) issue classes, or....

    If it's
    Not your body
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    AND it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:48:16 AM PDT

  •  Let's just get rid of the Senate instead. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Friend, wsexson, Scientician

    Unequal representation would be eliminated from Congress. And while we're at it, let's get rid of the Electoral College too.

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day ~ Harry S. Truman

    by HairyTrueMan on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:49:33 AM PDT

    •  Constitution has very strict rules regarding this (0+ / 0-)

      all 50 state legislators would have to agree. The only place in the constitution this is required.

      •  I've thought about this (0+ / 0-)

        I think the loophole is that a constitutional amendment could be passed that gutted the enumerated powers of the Senate.  It's more or less what Canada and the UK did, who both have Senates, but neither Senate is really allowed to interfere with the operation of Government or passage of legislation.  

        The Senate would exist and would maintain the undemocratic character, but its power as an institution would be degraded.

        As proof I would offer the 25th amendment, which sets out that the House also has to approve of nominees to fill a vacancy in the Vice-Presidency.  This waters down the Senate's power over confirming appointments.

        Just an idea I've kicked around.  Still requires the very difficult normal constitutional amendment passage path, but a bit easier than all 50 states.

        Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

        by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:07:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that seems like a good idea (0+ / 0-)

          But it would take a slow process, and the Senate would still have power to approve treaties, and could hold them hostage until they are given power etc. Also don't forget constitutional amendments need Senate approval!

          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

            My answer to that is always to point out that the 17th Amendment was eventually passed.  It can be done.  A group of appointed Senators did eventually pass an amendment requiring them to face election.

            Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

            by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:23:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Politicially a non-starter (0+ / 0-)

            Why would a small state agree to this?  

            Any state that has is over represented in the Seante would block this measure?  Why would any state reduce its power in the Seanate.  Why would a Republican State shift the power to population centers?

            No way you ever get 2/3s to vote on this, better to spend your time thinking / planning on realtiy.

            "I used to think I wasn't a morning person, but things never go better after lunch." - Walley (aka Scott Adams)

            by Edge PA on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:30:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, democracy that's why (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Edge PA

              Why did men agree to dilute their own voting power by allowing women to vote?  Why did Whites cede voting influence by allowing blacks to vote?  Why did people over 21 allow 18 year olds to vote?

              Not everything is realpolitik, people are sometimes amenable to moral arguments about fairness.

              I don't think it would be easy, but neither was the crazy idea of directly electing senators and that happened too.

              Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

              by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:42:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Agreed sometimes morals are the reason (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Scientician

                But, realizing the art of the possible is important.  I would rather see the effort needed to do this focused on health care, wall street reform, electing better Dmeocracts and leave the (nearly) impossible alone.  

                "I used to think I wasn't a morning person, but things never go better after lunch." - Walley (aka Scott Adams)

                by Edge PA on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 09:05:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Changes to the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    require Constitutional Amendments - in this case, probably at least two. And we've never even been able to get an Equal Rights Amendment.

    So dream on.

    If it's
    Not your body
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    AND it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:52:31 AM PDT

  •  Great work - really hope you get it done (0+ / 0-)

    The Republicans will get rid of the filibuster as soon as they win in November and the Dems will have even less control over the will of the people. (I bet at least half of your petition signers are Republicans - maybe all of them.)

  •  What a cop out. Dem Senators do not know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wanderindiana

    how to fight, so everyone wants to change the rules because of this glaring inadequacy.

    I have always been against filibuster reform. The filibuster is fine, but when you have people like Harry Reid running the show, it will get abused because Reid is a spineless gutless ghost of a human.

    So let's change the rules rather than exercise our power. Perfect.

    Not another dime to these fucking sell out pansies. And watching this site go along with this insane idea is pitiful.

    This is a disgrace. How about ever challenging the republicans? Anyone capable of doing that?

    Bill Clinton made me a libertarian. George Bush made me a Democrat. Looks like my time is up with this party.

    Good luck in the mid terms. No one wants to vote for a bitch.

    ...Fuck the High Priests...

    by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 07:57:08 AM PDT

    •  What a stupid and divisive comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Friend, Forward is D not R
    •  What are you saying here? (4+ / 0-)

      Are you under the impression that Reid could "make them" filibuster a la Strom thurmond or something?  If so, the rules don't allow him to do that anymore.  The onus of work is on the majority to achieve cloture, rather than the minority to sustain a filibuster.  

      The minority only needs 1 Senator to filibuster, and no debating is required, sit at their desk, read the paper and object to any unanimous consent requests.  A cloture vote of 59-1 is a failure to achieve cloture and a sustained filibuster.

      The senate rules really suck which is why they need changing.

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:03:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, he could challenge them. And yeah, the rest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wanderindiana

        of the Dems could too. I remember when the situation was reversed the Repubs went on a media blitz, fought hard in the Senate for their position and didn't give up. The Dems, however, do not do that. They capitulate every time.

        The filibuster is abused because the Democrats are not willing to fight.

        ...Fuck the High Priests...

        by Tirge Caps on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:31:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You mean (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aexia

          How the Republicans threatened to invoke the nuclear option and end the filibuster?  The Democrats caved because ultimately the filibuster is a fiction that can be undone by the majority at any time.  So why keep it?  Let's have honest majority rule, and we'll know to blame.

          I'm not aware of any other major Democratic filibusters even attempted.  John Bolton and some shitty judicial nominees.  That's about it.

          Why keep a knife that only cuts one way?

          Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

          by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:36:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  this really boils down to moving the previous (0+ / 0-)

    question without the need for the 60 vote super majority, that is starting to debate. It is such nonsense that 40 senators can claim to want more debate when they can stop a motion to begin debate. the previous question should NOT be subject to cloture, like it currently is excluded in morning hour.

  •  For my own safety's sake (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lize in San Francisco

    Does Senator X believe that Senate rules can, and should, be changed with only a simple majority vote on the first day the Senate is in session in 2011?

    Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? ...I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

  •  This is (0+ / 0-)

    the dumbest petition campaign I've ever seen.

  •  It's a mistake, because... (0+ / 0-)

    ...if this happens, it'll only make it thru Congress just in time to benefit the Republicans.  The real problem is the Democrats unwillingness to play hardball, softball, or even slow-pitch softball, while the R's don't hesitate. Do away with the filibuster and it will only harm the D's in the long run.

  •  This is a very bad idea. (0+ / 0-)

    When there was all that talk of the "nuclear option" a few years back, independents (and the few remaining moderate R's) didn't like it at all; R's were forced to give up the idea. But now with just a couple of years of filibustering routine procedural matters and appointments of Third Assistant Undersecretary's they've mind-fucked the D's into doing their dirty work for them.

    You don't really think there's going to be a permanent Dem majority, do you? If the filibuster is abolished, Ds will regret it soon, and for the rest of their lives.

    •  that isn't how it happened (0+ / 0-)

      They didn't "give up" the idea, they got what they wanted:  All their Bush nominees confirmed.  The Gang-of-14 "compromise" was actually a complete capitulation.  No further Bush nominees to the Judiciary were filibustered.

      They were blocked on some low-profile nominees and freaked out, threatened to change the rules and got what they wanted.

      The public doesn't understand the filibuster or care about it.  Neither party will pay any electoral price for ending it.

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 10:35:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ten percent? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Friend

    How sad is it that only ten percent of the Dem senators will meet with you? And how many will be around in 2011? You're not meeting with Burris or Bayh, are you? Please tell me you're not.

    Getting so tired of ramming head into brick wall...

    they sentenced me to 20 years of boredom
    for trying to change the system from within

    by wanderindiana on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 10:24:42 AM PDT

  •  Good going! Might need another 20K (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson

    of follow up sigs to scare them a little.

    I think, therefore I am. I think.

    by mcmom on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 10:45:15 AM PDT

  •  SO you met with Menedez? (0+ / 0-)

    What was his response? He is one of my senators and I have not gotten a clear response from him yet about protecting Social Security (other than that we're fighting privatization crap), and would like to know what he will do about reorganizing the Senate rules to get rid of or improve filibuster rule.

    Did you have any luck, or just get the typical "Thanks for coming in; we're going to discuss this with the Senator and let him know how you feel on this issue?"

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