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According to Talking Points Memo, Senator Reid is planning on introducing some moderate Senate reforms, but will stop well short of requiring actual 'talking filibusters' (much less scrapping the practice altogether, as I believe should be done).

So why am I ok with the watered down approach?  Because of how he's planning to implement the changes: through the infamous 'nuclear/constitutional option.'

If Reid does indeed 'go nuclear' then I will breathe a huge sigh of relief, no matter how watered down the actual reforms may be.  The method of changing the rules would in itself represent a crossing of the Rubicon, establishing that Senate rules will be determined democratically, by simple majority.  This is crucial if we are to have any hope of dealing with the problems that lie before us, most significantly that of climate change.  

If the particular rules being adopted still prevent the Senate from functioning properly, they will be revised by the majority.  Once the Senate goes back to functioning democratically there's no putting that genie back in the bottle (as opponents of reform well know). Over time the back and forth tussle over Senate rules will inevitably bend toward expressing the will of the majority, since that's where the votes will be.

True I would prefer to enjoy the fruits of reform now, while we're in charge, but even if real procedural reform doesn't happen until Republicans take the Senate (and make no mistake, if we go nuclear, Republicans will squeeze that power for everything it's worth as soon as they get the chance), eventually Dems will take it back (before losing it again, etc.)... This is really about the long game and if our Republic will be able to face the challenges ahead, or if we will cripple ourselves in a way the founders never intended.  

On a side note, I am about speechless when it comes to people like Carl Levin.  It's truly sad to see him and others put their Senatorial perks over the good of the Nation (although I'm quite sure they've rationalized it otherwise).

At the end of the day we live in a democracy, and that means when people we don't like get elected they will do things we don't like.... And that is how it should be!!  At some point the public will need to see the consequences of Tea Party policies so those ideas can finally be rejected and we can move on.  Those who protect the status quo in the Senate fundamentally do not believe in the project of Democracy, which as someone who still gets excited from time to time about this great experiment we are all part of, I find very sad indeed.

You gotta have a little faith in people.  That's what this country is all about.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    Extricandae copiae.

    by Lee on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:02:53 PM PST

  •  This is a very good point. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jasan, Gary Norton

    One step at a time.

  •  I think Reid agrees to a new filibuster plan (0+ / 0-)

    that gets bipartisan support and more than 60 votes. Reid doesn't really want majority rule in the Senate and his wingman is even more vocal about it.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:32:02 PM PST

  •  Lee, your diary is premised upon a (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    followyourbliss, grrr, Gary Norton, FG

    fundamental misunderstanding.  Changing the rules at the beginning of the new Congress with a simple majority vote is not the nuclear option. (The Republicans describing it as such are engaging in scarey (and inaccurate) hyperbole.)

    There is a complex procedural mechanism whereby a simple majority can change the rules during a Congressional session. THAT is the nuclear option.

    See my diary on this subject from three years ago.

    Wear it proud. Wear it loud. Outlaw concealed carry. That gun hidden under your coat won't deter shit.

    by WisePiper on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 11:17:38 PM PST

    •  well, this Dem Senator's Chief of Staff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      thinks it amounts to the nuclear/constitutional option... and if Senators believe they've crossed that line that's all that really matters, since none of these rules are written in the Constitution anyway.  

      If they believe they've broken from tradition, then the tradition is broken.  

      Extricandae copiae.

      by Lee on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:49:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think we live in a democracy. (0+ / 0-)
    At the end of the day we live in a democracy,
    It's a Republic.

    Big difference.

    "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 17, 2013 at 03:11:30 AM PST

    •  fair enough, but that's not what every kid learns (0+ / 0-)

      in school... Americans believe we live in a democracy, and if filibuster defenders want to explain to us that we do not in fact live in democracy, that's an argument I'm willing to have.  Because I believe in democracy, and so does pretty much every other American.

      Extricandae copiae.

      by Lee on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:55:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No, the important part is for bills to be able to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grrr, chipoliwog

    be actually VOTED ON.  Not whether or not to begin debate.  Motions to proceed should NOT be filibustered.  And there should be 41 Senators holding the floor in order to filibuster, talking or not.

    They want to filibuster, they have to EARN IT.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:07:11 AM PST

  •  Agree about Levin. He is a total disappointment. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And in the unlikely event the Republicans retake the senate in for a big letdown from his GOP buddies.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:17:30 AM PST

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