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Senator Sessions, the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, speaks at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol.
Keep talking, Sessions. It's helping your opponents.
Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III (R-AL) says, "Jack Lew must never be secretary of Treasury." Sessions has a say because he's ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee. What Sessions isn't saying is that he'll make sure that Lew doesn't become Treasury secretary through a filibuster.
"At this time of unprecedented slow growth, high unemployment, and huge deficits, we need a Secretary of Treasury that the American people, the Congress, and the world will know is up to the task of getting America on the path to prosperity not the path to decline. Jack Lew is not that man," Sessions said.
There's been similar chest-thumping from Republicans about President Obama's nominees for the CIA and Defense, John Brennan and Chuck Hagel, insisting that they're going to make every single nomination from Obama a fight. They're playing to their base, obviously. These nominations are highly unlikely to be filibustered, in the end, but the Republican base wants a fight over everything Obama wants, so these senators are obliging, at least with tough talk.

But what they're also doing, unwittingly, is making a strong case to their Democratic colleagues for filibuster reform. This kind of knee-jerk opposition and obstruction just demonstrates that Republicans haven't been chastened by the 2012 election, Mitt Romney's loss, and the loss of two Senate seats. They're as determined as ever to obstruct and to try to threaten and bully the White House on everything from nominations to legislation. It worked for them in the case of Susan Rice, so why wouldn't they?

What could help end all of this, the threat-making and the real obstruction, is real filibuster reform. The Republican posturing and threats to block nominations and legislation is doing little more than providing a damned good reason for Democrats to end it with real reform.

Join with CREDO and Daily Kos by signing our petition rejecting the McCain/Levin proposal, and supporting real reform.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (29+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:52:22 AM PST

  •   GOP Please proceed nt (10+ / 0-)

    As the Elites Come Together to Rise Above to Find a Third Way to do Rude things to the 99%

    by JML9999 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:22:19 AM PST

  •  Much of this kind of rhetoric is bluff. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Unmuzzled, rabel

    The last time Reid told them to drag out the cots, filibuster rhetoric was quickly abandoned. The real problem here is that Senators have had the luxury of their objections carrying all the weight of a filibuster.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:22:41 AM PST

    •  I think it's a bluff, too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      What I see happening is the Republicans pushing the Democrats to the brink of filibuster reform, then suddenly backing down (and to the eyes of their whackadoo base, caving in). The Democrats, gulled into thinking the Republicans have really, truly, this-time-for-sure changed, will let filibuster reform die for this session.

      Then we're back to another two years of Republicans stopping everything, Democrats impotently denouncing it, media talking heads clucking about how partisan everyone is (except them), and people dying in the streets. But dying quietly, so as not to disturb the dinner parties and cocktail hours.

      At the end of which time, the Republicans will again claim to have had their eyes cleared of all scales, they really, truly, pinky-swear promise to operate in good faith and then . . . well, see previous paragraph.

      Please, please, please prove me wrong, Democrats.

      •  You've nailed it. See the Bloomberg piece below. (0+ / 0-)
        Filibuster Dispute

        More immediately, a group of Democratic senators led by Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado is pushing for changes to the rules for the filibuster, arguing that its routine use has rendered the chamber dysfunctional.

        Republicans oppose weakening the tactic, the minority’s most powerful tool. While Reid has expressed support for altering some Senate procedures, he has said he wouldn’t back changing the core of the filibuster -- the requirement that 60 votes are needed to overcome it.

        That leaves Reid and McConnell with the task of figuring out adjustments they both can live with and that satisfy majorities of their caucuses.

        One likely change, say aides on both sides, might be speeding the process for Senate consideration of presidential nominees. The right of a senator to anonymously place “holds” on nominees, essentially stopping them without debate, could be modified.

        Reid and McConnell “are working together on this issue to see if there are any issues we can agree on that would make the Senate work better,” said Alexander.

        Dated, but applies today, I suspect.  Just another shiny object distraction (away from 'sequester negotiations.')

        Here's the link to the entire piece entitled, "Reid Friendship With McConnell Helps Bridge Gaps That Ideology Might Widen."

        Thanks for your comment.


        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 08:47:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  they basically want... (10+ / 0-)

    Obama to offer the nominees that Romney would have, which is ludicrous on its face, but ludicrous on its face is what the GOP now is.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:23:01 AM PST

  •  GOP has a strategy problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, Words In Action

    They keep thinking tactically and trying to score short term wins, not realizing they might be giving up the game on the strategic long term.

    If they're going to filibuster Obama's nominees like this, there's going to be hell to pay. It's not even like Lew is unqualified or has a controversy around him besides that bullshit 'Obama needs that binder full of women' bull.

  •  Are they really going to completely gum up (7+ / 0-)

    every single appointment?


    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:26:54 AM PST

  •  The Case Has Long Since Been Made (6+ / 0-)

    The last four years already made the case for filibuster reform.  A record number of filibusters, along with outright statements made by Republicans claiming their priorities were stopping Obama, and not governing, are all the case we need for filibuster reform.  

  •  Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III (9+ / 0-)

    is Ernie, the Keebler elf who has turned to the Dark Side.

    •  Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III is Ernie, the Keebler elf who has turned to the Dark Side.
      Rec'd for comment.

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:30:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Heh... (0+ / 0-)

      What a name!  You can't trust anyone named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III from Alabama. That's the sort of name you associate with the vain fop variety of Southern civil war commander or a person who cheats at cards.

      Sessions said he thought the Klan was OK until he heard they smoked pot. That, along with calling a black attorney "boy" and failing to prosecute civil rights cases in the 1970's, ensured that his nomination to the federal district court died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  I don't get why we should still be dealing with these damn Confederates. They've got no business in government; the fact that he didn't change his name in shame renders him unfit for federal office.  

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:13:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They want to sabotage Government, plain and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Unmuzzled, Laconic Lib


    "Government sucks, and I'll prove it," should be their platform.

    Why Grover Norquist is not the Democratic Party's Public Enemy #1 is beyond me.

    Until we call them out on trying to sabotage the United States Government I think we will continue to lose ground as a people.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:27:22 AM PST

  •  Screw Banjo Boy. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:27:33 AM PST

  •  Is Sessions standing on a box (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Unmuzzled, shoeless, wishingwell

    in that picture?

  •  Why Should We Assume They Won't Filibuster? (6+ / 0-)

    If there is ANYTHING we have learned from Republicans in the Senate, it is that they will filibuster ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING OBAMA WANTS.

    While it's highly unorthodox to filibuster an appointee, it's also highly unorthodox to cause economic damage by threatening default on our debt, and yet they did. It's highly unorthodox to use the filibuster at all time historical highs to obstruct the legislative agenda of a president, and yet they did.

    I just don't see the rationale for expecting any rationality from Republican Senators.

  •  Kelly What's-her-name shows up everywhere. (7+ / 0-)

    She either hates Obama or she's running for Wingnut Queen.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:31:51 AM PST

  •  Normally, I would say Jack Lew must be a good man, (0+ / 0-)

    if a jack ass like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III is against him. But, these days that does mean anything, since the Republicans would try to block Jesus Christ from leading the prayer at the inaugural prayer breakfst if President obama selected him.

    When someone tells you they are lying, you should believe them.

    by shoeless on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:36:58 AM PST

  •  Whenever I see sessions' whole name... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I hear the voice in my head of Yosemite Sam, saying, "Jeffahson Bo-reegard sessions....that jawja bawh....what was his name??"

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND JANUARY 31, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:38:12 AM PST

  •  Why would they spout off like this (0+ / 0-)

    If they thought filibuster reform was a close question? Even someone as stupid as Sessions must know this could encourage those on the fence to jump off.

  •  Jeffrey Beauragard Sessions III - R as in Racism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mindara, wishingwell, Eric Nelson
    As a U.S. Attorney in Alabama, Sessions' most notable effort was prosecuting three civil rights workers, including a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr., on trumped up charges of voter fraud.

    Also during his illustrious career in Alabama, Sessions called the NAACP "un-American" because it, among other groups, "forced civil rights down the throats of people." A former career Justice Department official who worked with Sessions recalled an instance when he referred to a white attorney as a "disgrace to his race" for litigating voting rights cases on behalf of African Americans. Sessions later acknowledged having made many of the controversial remarks attributed to him, but claimed to have been joking.

    Link here.

    During the Sotomayor hearing, Sessions, bringing up for the 27th or so time her "wise Latina" remark, quoted Ricky Ricardo's frequent scream at Lucy on the Lucy Show, in mock Hispanic accent:  "You got a lot of splainen to do."  

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:39:17 AM PST

  •  Awww, the old racist bastard wants a fight with (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mindara, wishingwell, Eric Nelson

    us?  Let the sonofabitch have it. I've got O's back on this one to the hilt.

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:39:23 AM PST

  •  Honestly... (0+ / 0-)

    the republicans need to think about the concept of "pick your battles", or "the boy who cried wolf".

    They could be taken a little more seriously if they didn't react to every single goddammed thing as though it would be the end of the world as we know it.  Thankfully, I think Americans get it and are pretty damn tired of it.

    Aren't they getting tired of it?  Seriously, the party of old white men sure has a lot of energy for drama and rancor....  but I think they're shaving years off their life expectancy.  Hope it was worth it, fellas.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:42:30 AM PST

  •  If Dems don't implement serious filibuster reform (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib, Words In Action

    then it can only mean one of two things. Either they're too gutless to try it, or they want it to remain in place because they want the bills and nominations they're supposedly for to fail. Thing is, the stakes are simply too high for them to be this gutless--why bother to run for office if so--and I continue to have a hard time believing that they're in on some massive kabuki inside con with the GOP to give them political cover for their real agenda. That just seems too out there for me. I mean, did Obama nominate these people because he wants to suffer massive political defeat and embarrassment before getting the people he really wants in these jobs? What kind of crazy person believes such CT?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:43:11 AM PST

  •  Where is the article? (0+ / 0-)


    Where is the article that documents the GOP's unprecedented efforts to basically block anything that the Obama admin does??

    I realize that both dems and republicans have blocked nominees and stuff but I've never seen it so bad. Ever.

    Most articles you read talk about "congress" and "gridlock" in a sort of bipartisan way blaming both sides but democrats voted for the wars. Voted for the Bush Tax Cuts.

    What the GOP has done with Obama has taken it to a whole nother level but I really dont' see anybody in the media bringing this to the attention of the public.

  •  Why some Dems would want paralysis baffles me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, Laconic Lib, Words In Action

    Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:43:53 AM PST

  •  Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So there's Ron Johnson, to the right in that picture, looking like a very earnest and important person as he listens to Senator Sessions carry on about the evils of the recently re-elected president being able to nominate his own cabinet secretaries. Yes, Ron Johnson looks important, almost like there's something eloquent he'd like to add to the national conversation. But actually, there's only one thing on Ron Johnson's mind. Just one thing.

    "I love lamp".

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:44:11 AM PST

  •  Well, who is that man then, Beauregard? (0+ / 0-)

    Please, feel free to submit a list of acceptable candidates - aka the usual war criminals, talk radio firebrands, and the last of the laffer curve holdouts - so we can get a glimpse of life in America under the GOP's stewardship.

    Then we can kindly discard your suggestions to the round filing cabinet and let the adults take over. STFU.

  •  Where is Harry Reid on.... (0+ / 0-)

    filibuster "reform?"

  •  So Jack Lew is BAIT? Harry DARES you... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell, Words In Action

    Come on.  Bring it.  Filibuster a Cabinet appointment and see what happens.  It's still the FIRST DAY of the Senate, remember?  (And might be for the next two years!)

    Countdown to Rule Change-mageddon...3..2..1..

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:47:29 AM PST

  •  Clearing obstruction of Presidential appointees (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, Eric Nelson, wishingwell

    is reason enough to reform the filibuster.

    There are now 102 judicial vacancies - 82 current and 20 pending. This includes 20 Circuit Court vacancies, or 11% of all Circuit Court seats.

    Republican refusal to allow votes on judicial nominees - there have been no successful votes on Circuit Court judges since June 2012 - has been just another attempt by Republicans to delay Obama's long-term imprint on the Federal Courts.

    Obama got 30 Circuit Court and 141 District Court nominees confirmed in his first term. With 102 vacancies now, and possibly another 150-200 over the next 4 years, Obama could end up with well over 300 appointments to the federal bench - if the filibuster gets fixed.

    Federal Judicial (District & Circuit) Appointments by President:

    171 Obama
    328 Bush II
    379 Clinton
    194 Bush I
    384 Reagan
    262 Carter
      65 Ford
    232 Nixon

    How long do these appointments last? Decades. Currently serving Circuit Court judges, by President

    17 Vacant (3 more pending - 1 Reagan, 1 Bush I, 1 Clinton)
    30 Obama
    54 Bush II
    43 Clinton
    12 Bush I
    17 Reagan
      5 Carter
      1 Ford

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:49:28 AM PST

  •  Hardy har har... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Filibuster Reform you say?  51 Senators ending the Filibuster, you say?


    For what?

    Filibusters are a star player at the Kabuki Theater of the Absurd.  

    Why would anyone want to do away with them?

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:50:58 AM PST

  •  Those obstructionist GOP thugs against (0+ / 0-)

    Jack Lew?

    THIS Jack Lew?

    After leaving public office in the Clinton administration, Lew served as the Executive Vice President for Operations at New York University and was a Clinical Professor of Public Administration at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service.[20] While at NYU, Lew aided the university in ending graduate students' collective bargaining rights. The Obama administration has maintained that Lew supports workers' union rights.[21]

    In June 2006, Lew was named chief operating officer of Citigroup's Alternative Investments unit, a proprietary trading group. The unit he oversaw invested in a hedge fund "that bet on the housing market to collapse."[22]

    Lew co-chaired the Advisory Board for City Year New York.[23] He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution Hamilton Project Advisory Board, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.[24] Lew is also a member of the bar in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.[25]

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:52:00 AM PST

    •  Or are they daring us to accept him? (0+ / 0-)

      Not like any liberal has a snowball's change of getting nominated.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:53:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm just glad "progressives" have someone (0+ / 0-)

        to rally around!

        It's great!  Who cares who Jack Lew is?  Obama selected him so we must defend him against the GOP at all costs.

        The policies Jack is most likely to advance are so irrelevant.

        Damn that GOP!  They WILL let Obama put a Wall Street Thug in as Treasury Secretary!  How dare they stand in the way of progress!

        The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 02:31:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is Sessions self-aware enough to realize what (4+ / 0-)

    he's just done?  He's made Filibuster Reform fashionable.

    The fence-sitters can now jump.

    Either by design or stupidity (I vote for the latter), he's made Harry's case.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:52:59 AM PST

  •  Jack Lew, being primarily a political operative, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    is not who I would pick for Treasury.  

    That being said, Jack Lew has previously served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under two administrations.  He clearly meets the minimum qualifications to hold the office and is a known entity for the President. It should be the President's call. It's called "advice and consent".   Don't like him? Give some advice on who should get the gig, or shut up.  Unless there is compelling evidence (not philosophical differences with the candidate) that he is not qualified for the office, the President's pick should get the job.

    That's what the Republicans (and Democrats) scream when their party's President has qualified candidates filibustered.  "Let's get an up or down vote on all appointments".   Well, if you don't like who is getting appointed, win some elections.  

    Robert Bork is rolling over in his grave that this sh#t still goes on.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:58:37 AM PST

    •  On the other hand, the Dark Drone Lord, Brennan, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      ain't exactly who I think should be the head spook.   If that's what he does in the light of day (facilitate killing people, extrajudicially and with impunity), can you imagine what he will do if he gains access to the CIA and all of its tools?  

      Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

      by SpamNunn on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:03:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One good thing Rachel Maddow covered is the.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    ..extension Harry Reid redefined as the of the 1st day, which is when rules changes must normally occur.
    It's now until January 22 2013 that reform can take place

    But why are these Democrats on the fence:
     • Max Baucus - Mt (not really a surprise)
     • Barabara Boxer - Ca
     • Diane Feinstein - Ca
     • Pat Leahy - Vt
     • Carl Levin - Mi
     • Mark Pryor - Ar
     • Jack Reed - RI

    Also too is there a mechanism in place to establish a definite end date of the 60 vote super majority requirement reaching a simple majority threshhold?

    Tom Harkin's idea does this in stages 60 votes super majority - first vote; then  57 votes - 2nd vote; then 54 vote threshold and finally 51 votes - end of super majority requirement.

    Maybe this plan does that and I'm missing it but i haven't heard much about the super majority threshold reform as a priority.

  •  History might explain this. Sen. Sessions was ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    ... denied confirmation to be a Federal District Court judge (Reagan nominated him in 1986). According to Wiki, Senator Joe Biden challenged Jeff Sessions on a statement he'd made in which he called the NAACP and other civil rights organizations "un-American."

    Sessions was only the second nominee to be so rejected in 48 years. Some regard as ironic his assignment to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee that approves judicial nominees.

    Now, I would not accuse Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of holding a grudge, or playing politics, or engaging in nomination-envy, or denigrating (good word in this context, isn't it!) other well qualified nominees.

    Instead, let's judge him by his actions.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:22:29 PM PST

  •  Jeff Sessions Is A Rank Member -n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Jeff Sessions looks like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    that elf who ran away from Santa's workshop because he didn't fit in. He wanted to be a dentist...

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