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The United States Capitol.
Jed Lewison:
In one sense, that means nothing has changed—the filibuster is still every bit as intact as it was before the confrontation began. At the same time, however, Democrats showed that they have the ability to stop Republicans from using it by doing little more than telling the GOP to choose between stopping their abuse of the filibuster or eliminating it altogether.
That's about right. Look, I want the filibuster good and dead. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wasn't going to give us that anyway—today's showdown was supposed to be focused entirely on administration nominees and only administration nominees. That would leave Republicans free to continue obstructing on judicial appointments and legislation.

True, today's deal preserved the existing filibuster rule, but it really didn't. Democrats established that they could bust through any filibuster with a simple majority anytime they wanted. Sure, it's still a process to do so, full of blustery threats and hyperbolic doomsaying, but it's a process.

And best of all, it won't be limited to just administration appointments. Republicans have conceded that Democrats can change the filibuster rule at will, and they clearly understand that the will to do so exists.

So Democrats can now wield this against Republican obstructionism in legislation and judicial matters as well.

Don't get your hopes too high—bullshit Senate "collegiality" still means that Democrats will suffer way too much obstruction. And in matters of legislation, some bipartisanship is necessary in the Senate for any bill to have a prayer in the Republican-controlled House.

But if Republicans continue to prevent up-or-down votes on further administration officials, or perhaps more importantly, judicial ones, Democrats now have a tool to force action. And that means we've come a long way from a few years ago, when Senate Democrats simply shrugged at the inevitability of the GOP filibuster arguing they had no other option.

If we had this four years ago, for example, we'd have a far better health care law. But late is better than never.

Originally posted to kos on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  From your mouth to Sessions Enzi Grassley (8+ / 0-)

    Barrasshole Inhofe etc ears.

  •  I still think... (16+ / 0-)

    ...that forcing talking filibusters would go a long way to alleviating the obstruction in the Senate.

    But until Harry decides to do it, we're stuck with this small step to stop McConnell in his tracks (somewhat).  

  •  On the other hand ... (21+ / 0-)

    there's this from Alec Macgillis at the New Republic, which argues the GOP folded because the calmer heads among them knew what they'd do given the chance without a filibuster to stop them.

    Lamar Alexander:

    What’s at stake here is not just a change of the rule, it’s the way the rule is being changed. What it means is that with 51 votes, any majority can do anything it wants on any day in the United States Senate. It can change abortion rights. It can change civil rights. It can change environmental laws. It can change labor laws. Today, the House can do that, and when it comes to the Senate, we stop and think and consider. But after this, whoever has the majority can do anything it wants, on any day. That is a dangerous trend.
    Notice that list of things the majority might do. How many of them are included in Rand Paul's dreams? Or Jim Inhofe's? Yeah. The appetite is there to do terrible things that the base wants done.

    And they are terribly, horribly unpopular things to do. The GOP, given the chance, would put itself in a position where it would only be able to retain power by naked force. Once that inevitably failed, they would be gone forever.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:51:35 AM PDT

    •  Well, in a democratic/republican (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, TomP, codairem, Dragon5616, blue aardvark

      government like ours, if the same faction controls the Senate and the Presidency (as well as the House, which doing any of those things would require too), the voting public put them there to enact that kind of legislation. (Or at least, if they then re-elected them after they passed those laws. I guess one might agree with Seward to argue that there is a "Higher Law" than the Constitution (and I certainly agreed with his POV in re: slavery), but allowing obstructionism along these lines is, by definition, anti-democratic.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:09:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But if SCOTUS says they suppress the vote (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aunt Pat, bryduck, blue aardvark, Bronx59

        Making sure only the right people can vote, then those who weakened or repealed the laws protecting the environment, civil rights, and labor, get reelected, and those of us left will appeal in vain to that Higher Law -

        "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 Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:25:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure, but again, that kind of action is the result (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark, Loose Fur

          of previous lawful elections. Disgusting, to be sure, and perhaps requiring extralegal/Constitutional public behavior, but until the majority of the public--not just a majority of voters, even--support those extracurriculars, we're stuck . . .

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:35:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  So whether or not the Democrats change the rules, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris, Bronx59

      anyone can, so let's just wait and let the Republicans do it?

      Not sure I get the logic.

  •  If the will to do so exists (6+ / 0-)

    then why didn't the Dems just go ahead and actually get rid of the filibuster.  Why deal with all this extra wasted time on procedural votes and all that stuff to counteract any Republican obstruction that is sure to happen in the future.

    It's very rare that I would ever consider saying this, but here goes:

    Both you (Markos) and Jed are entirely wrong on this matter.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:53:39 AM PDT

  •  The problem has never been the filibuster (15+ / 0-)

    or any other rule. The problem has been the Republican lack of comity.
    The filibuster fight is just a symptom of the greater ill.

    •  the job of the opposition is to oppose (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't see anything wrong with what the Republicans are doing. They were elected to oppose the Democrats.

      (And, no, I don't believe politicians are elected to get "things" done. The point of politics is that people disagree. The purpose of elections is to resolve those disagreements in favor of one side.)

      •  not really. (8+ / 0-)

        They really ARE supposed to get things done. The majority is supposed to consider the minority and cooperate as they see fit.
        The last few sessions of Congress have seen the GOP totally obstructing progress solely to prevent the Democrats from gaining favor in the electorate's eyes.

        They weren't elected to oppose the Democrats. That may be what some voters wanted, but that's not the overt purpose. That is, however, what they have based all their actions on- opposing the Democrats and especially the President. But it is not what they're supposed to be doing at all.

        Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by Gentle Giant on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:12:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I like your idealism. (8+ / 0-)

          Politics is the art of the possible, eh?
          Problem is, since 1994's Contract On America, that has not been what the Republican Party has been aiming for. Their intent has been to defund the government and implement their policy objectives by any means necessary, which is the exact opposite of the "art of the possible." I think it is fair to say that after a few elections, their constituents certainly agreed with those objectives when they pulled the R levers . . .

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:17:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Or (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryduck, WB Reeves

            they pulled the levers over the shiny object/morality play issues and are blissfully ignorant that they've been taken for a ride, everything being the fault of those damned liberals.
            Granted, not all of them, but the majority of blue collar conservatives I know have little to no idea what their party of choice really stands for. They believe it's God-fearing, patriotic Christians against filthy homosexual hippie anti-American assholes.
            They buy the dog and pony show hook, line and sinker because it makes them certain of their own rightness and gives them a massive group of people to feel superior to. That's all they need.
            And any collateral damage done by their guys in the houses of power is all due to "liberals". No need to explain how. It's just "liberals". That 7-letter 4-letter word.

            Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by Gentle Giant on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:27:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  'twas ever thus. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gentle Giant

              Voters being snookered has a long history in this country, and nothing you or I or any number of well-meaning bully pulpiteers has been able to change that. You have to work with that knowledge in mind when crafting your own campaigns/platforms. Railing against ignorance (not saying you are doing this!) is no way to go through political life, son.
              (And yes, this is an "Animal House" reference, not a condescending comment in and of itself!)

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:40:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Got it. (2+ / 0-)

                Mayhaps 'twas ever thus.

                But mostly since 1980. I was 24 in '80. I remember Congress functioning much, much, MUCH more smoothly before the Conservatives were all the way in bed with the GOP. Once they got the numbers, the game got waaaay nastier and has remained so. It's mud wrestling in a pig sty. That ain't mud they're rolling in anymore.

                For instance, many of the conservative assholes Reagan despised and thought to be no-good were exactly the people GDub brought into his administration. Reagan had no use for Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al and had no room for them in his administration. But they found their way in easily a few administrations later.

                Same as it ever was, yes. But much, much worse.

                Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

                by Gentle Giant on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:48:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sure enough. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Gentle Giant

                  I don't necessarily agree with your contention that the modern (post-1979) public is any more ignorant than we've been throughout our history, but I will agree that the Reagan Republican Party is certainly more caustic than most parties have been. And that they have been more duplicitous as well. Think how duped the religious right has been as a whole, although now it seems they are finally getting "their due" for having been the engine of the Party for 3 decades. Maybe they just had to wait their turn . . .

                  "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                  by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:59:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I'm not saying the public is more deluded since 1979. I'm saying the politicians on the right are much nastier and more ill-behaved in that time frame than the preceding decades.

                    And actually, voters were more informed in the pre-television age and especially the age preceding radio. Public speaking was a form of entertainment and edification, and it wasn't only the college-educated and public servants doing the speaking.
                    The small farming community in upstate NY that I grew up in is a good example. When my brother became the pastor of the church we grew up in, funds were raised for remodeling, repairing and upgrading the church building, which was originally built in 1875 after the first structure burnt down. The town was established in the early 1770s. A journal found in the rafters of the church during remodeling was rife with historical ambience, including some humorous stories.
                    One of the entries I read regarded the mule-drawn library wagon that followed the water line down from Rochester in the mid 19th century and how residents emptied it out every time. Books were read avidly and gatherings were created to discuss them. Speakers would draw crowds at the crossroads and speak on topics of all kinds. In short, the farmers and pottery factory workers, the millers and smiths, gathered in intellectual pursuits. The exchange of ideas was cherished.
                    So while I don't profess that the modern public is more ignorant today than ever before, I do hold that there were times in our nations history when common people actively informed themselves on many subjects and do so not only for entertainment but for self-improvement. Some still do that today. I wonder if the same percentage of the populace today could say the same.

                    Also, witness the eloquence of the civil war soldier's letters home vs. the level of eloquence generally employed in correspondence today. Communication may be much faster and far-reaching now, but it is arguably not of the same quality.

                    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

                    by Gentle Giant on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:29:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  On all of this we are in agreement. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Gentle Giant

                      I would actually add more fuel to your fire by stating that it has been one of the goals of the right wing to kill the economy so that the public doesn't have the time or energy to become better informed, as well.
                      I guess I'm thinking of pre-Civil War era (my academic bailiwick) pols--there were some very seriously nasty men in politics back then!

                      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                      by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:36:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it isn't (5+ / 0-)

        The job of the opposition is to provide an opposing viewpoint. Their job is to influence governance in the direction the opposition represents.

        Their job is not to obstruct at any cost.

        •  register polite disagreement? (0+ / 0-)

          No, your second sentence is more correct: their job is to influence governance in the direction the opposition represents.

          If the majority gives them additional power to oppose, and they refuse to use that power, they wouldn't be serving the voters who elected them.

  •  I'm waiting for the spin (4+ / 0-)

    that makes this a onetime, non-precedent-setting event.
    Like Bush V Gore.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:56:08 AM PDT

  •  I highly recommend Ezra Klein's (31+ / 0-)

    piece in WAPO  

    Democratic aides are gleeful. “CAVE,” is how one described the Republicans position over e-mail. They’re getting a vote on every major nominee and agency they wanted. And remember, the aide warned, “this has to be the new normal and we reserve our right to change the rules if the change doesn’t stick.”

    This will be the new normal. It will be the new normal under Democrats and then it will be the new normal under Republicans. The Senate stopped short of actually ending the filibuster against executive-branch nominations today. But the effect might well be the same.

    The Senate didn’t actually go nuclear today. But the majority took out a nuke, put it on the table, and made clear they can detonate it whenever they feel like.

     emphasis mine.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:56:49 AM PDT

  •  Time to stack the DC Circuit (21+ / 0-)

    now that we've got these administrative posts filled.

    The GOP minority is using lopsided courts as a rearguard to prevent us from implementing the reforms our country so desperately needs to move forward in the 21st century.  We've got a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate, so let's fill those court vacancies!


    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:00:58 AM PDT

  •  This just makes me mad. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subterranean, PorridgeGun

    I rather piss off republicans because the same horsecrap propaganda and hate is still going to come from the corporate MSM no matter what.  I rather be bold then afraid of my own shadow.  These democrats though...

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

    The Battle at Little Big Horn has raged on, but will end in about 15 minutes.

    A soldier holds up his rifle and mumbles, "I'm armed. Don't make me use it."

    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:03:05 AM PDT

  •  I have been waiting for two years (13+ / 0-)

    for an appeal on my Social Security Disability case because of obstructionism -- there simply are not enough judges to hear cases.

  •  But, but, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, Gentle Giant, WB Reeves
    Sure, it's still a process to do so, full of blustery threats and hyperbolic doomsaying, but it's a process
    Why does it have to be this?  Why not forget the damned bluster and threats and hyperbolic doomsaying and just bring the vote to the floor?  I can't tell you how sick I am of bluster and threats and doomsaying.  The process doesn't demand it and we shouldn't be advancing such a myth.

    The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

    by Alice Olson on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:06:13 AM PDT

  •  Going back to 2008-era practices is a BFD. (2+ / 0-)

    I'd love to get rid of the filibuster, too, but we had a functional Senate and a functional government even with the filibuster rules, until the Republicans started abusing them.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:08:27 AM PDT

  •  Why not insist on talking filibusters? (5+ / 0-)

    Can anyone help me understand why Dems don't insist on actual talking filibusters? I don't see the downside for us.


    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:09:12 AM PDT

    •  We'll wanna filibuster at some point, and, well (0+ / 0-)
      “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
      Abraham Lincoln
      Ya don't get to be a Senator by taking chances.
      •  TY for responding, but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I still don't get the downside. It would be a great way to get attention to the issue, and force the GOP to demonstrate how obstructive they are. I don't think the Dems have nearly the record for filibusters that the GOP does.


        All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

        by Boston to Salem on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:21:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They did away with those (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Boston to Salem

      because they figured out that if somebody wanted to filibuster, and the other side didn't have 60 votes to invoke cloture, there really wasn't any point in actually talking.

      I'm just trying to figure out just what the Senate does with all the time they save from not having talking filibusters.

      29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:25:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary that looks beyond the obvious (7+ / 0-)

    The problem with the filibuster rule is not that the concept exists, it comes from the GOP's gratuitous abuse of the rule. If the abuse stops I really don't care if the rule remains or goes.

    And now for the quibble. You knew that had to be a quibble.

    If we had this four years ago, for example, we'd have a far better health care law. But late is better than never.
    I don't think the bolded part is true. Part of the reason this worked today is because the past four years involved a lot of skirmishing over this same reform and it certainly featured continued GOP abuse. Now that the GOP has proven beyond all doubt they have not acted in good faith, today it is much easier to rally opposition to the GOP.

    Saying this would have worked easily four yeas ago strikes me as saying all the Allies had to do to win WW2 was to launch Operation Overlord (aka "D-Day") in the spring of 1941.

    I am not trying to pull a Godwin here. I am trying to point out the events which occurred between dates matter in overall success.

    •  I dunno. I think the Rs had already (6+ / 0-)

      proven their lack of good faith by 2008. I think impeaching Clinton broke that barrier; everything since has been icing on that sh!tcake.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:13:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In your eyes and mine, yes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nickrud, Gentle Giant, bryduck

        But our viewpoints are not at all indicative of the average American's.

        •  I doubt the average American (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferg, TrueBlueMajority

          knows or cares much about this inside baseball one way or the other. And in any case, they've been on record as "knowing" the Republicans have been the cause of all kinds of mischief for almost 10 years. Virtually all polls showed that the average American knows the Rs blew up the economy. Beginning in about 2006-7, iIrc, they showed that the Rs messed up in blowing up Iraq. Etc. etc.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:22:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Right. See: Cornyn delaying Hillary's confirmation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        on inauguration day, just to be a dick.

        That was a primer for things to come. Both the White House and senate Democrats should have had a battle plan for the next two years as early as February/March 2008, if not earlier.

    •  Overload took a lot of planning and preparation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      This too only saying it.  I wish Harry Reid had said it 3 years ago at least.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:17:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Overlord also took a lot of attritional warfare (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That is the point. The reason Overlord was not launched in 1941 was not because there hadn't been enough time to plan. It was because such a move would have failed.

        and no, this did not take mere saying. Any more than winning a poker hand "simply" requires bluffing.

        •  Well, that and the fact that the US (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          didn't even enter the war until December of 1941, of course.
          I disagree with this analogy, however. "Changing Senate rules when you have a majority in 2006-whenever" is nothing compared to "Launching the invasion of Europe" imho. Not even close.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:46:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think filibuster abuse and the certainty of it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is what led our president to proclaim the single payer option was "off the table" before the fight over the ACA even began.
      I am still pissed off about that. The GOP got a victory handed to them before the battle even began. At the very, very least, single-payer could have been a powerful bargaining chip.

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:19:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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

      Filibustering health care reform was one thing; the public might not have reacted so well had the Democrats done away with the filibuster in order to pass it (as they probably won't if Republicans ever do away with the filibuster to ram through, say, national right-to-work laws.)

      Filibustering executive and judicial nominees showed that the Republicans are not acting in good faith.

      29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:24:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've lost sight of the details (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Subterranean

    but if there continues to be a filibuster, I would hope Dems are pushing it to make it a real one.  Where the people imposing the filibuster are required to speak on the bill during the entire time.  Where the burden of assembling votes to move on or not falls on the minority and not the majority.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:13:41 AM PDT

  •  so this time the Goppers will pinkie promise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, PorridgeGun

    to be nice, cross their hearts.


    We're chumps.

    •  Lenny (0+ / 0-)

      If they have take votes on previously filibustered appointments, that won't be a promise, that will be a material fact.

      Yes, whether this is real political sea change or merely a blip remains to be seen but that's the point. It's an occasion for cautious optimism, not  for pretending that nothing at all has happened.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 04:24:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We only have 5-6 months to get good (8+ / 0-)

    judicial appointments.  Pres. Obama's agenda for his second term is all but dead. He needs to start getting his judicial appointments in place.  That seems to be more important these days anyway since these judges seem to be legislating from the bench.

  •  I agree with your analysis. (5+ / 0-)

    It's a step forward.  Someone else called it a "modest victory," and I agree with that, but modest victories beat the hell out of defeats.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:15:55 AM PDT

  •  Hostage-taking seems to be fair play for all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, TDDVandy

    The Republicans have held the debt ceiling hostage to obtain (damaging) budget cuts and the sequester.

    The Senate Democrats have obtained the current concession by threatening to change the (hostage) filibuster rules.

    •  I don't think (0+ / 0-)

      the two are really comparable. The first directly impacts the full faith and credit of the US. The other, when all is said and done, is an essentially administrative question.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 04:28:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Time to go after judicial nominations next (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, word is bond

    Perhaps the Dems are concerned that when the tables are turned they won't have the filibuster to block truly execrable nominees. The reasoning behind ending the filibuster for judicial nominees, given the overload in the courts, should be the same as that used for ending the filibuster for administrative posts: basic functioning of government is at stake. I hope they will take it up using that specific reasoning, because it would permit filibuster of judicial nominees on the grounds of their qualifications in the future once there is no longer a crisis of vacancies on the bench.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:20:50 AM PDT

    •  Good Idea - A Judicial Emergency Rule (0+ / 0-)

      Since a Democratic majority to revise the filibuster seems to depend on narrowly-defined situations (e.g., the President's ability to name his own team), it would make sense to go for up-or-down simple majority votes for judicial nominees when there is a judicial emergency - i.e., too many vacancies in a particular court.

      Right now, such an emergency exists in many courts. I would prefer a broader approach to reining in the filibuster, but would be happy to see anything that would let Obama fill those vacancies. As BeerNotWar notes, the basic goal of letting government function is a compelling argument against the filibuster.

  •  I suggest that we start having "Acting" Judges (0+ / 0-)

    and such type of appointments.

    Richard Cordahy shows that the person can be in charge - even when obstinate twirps won't allow them to be.

    We have Acting U.S. Attorneys - "Acting" Directors (like over the EOUST) -

    So let's keep acting like we are in charge, take charge and "Actually" get something done.

    Mitt Romney was CEO of Bain until Aug 2001. Proof of Bain & Romney Fraud

    by laserhaas on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:21:51 AM PDT

  •  It's quite possibly true (0+ / 0-)

    that this isn't just limited to executive appointments.  But I do have my suspicions that there are at least a few Democrats in the Senate who wouldn't actually be willing to go along with it on legislation.  Republicans might be willing to call the bluff their.

    (Aside from which, there's absolutely nothing that couldn't get 60 votes in the Senate that could also pass the House, so it's sort of irrelevant anyway.)

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:22:13 AM PDT

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

    Reid could simply have insisted that threat of filibuster, which is all the GOP has ever used as a weapon, must lead to an actual talking filibuster. Rand Paul lasted less than a day. Ironically it took a GOP kook to point out how pathetic Reid's stewardship on the filibuster has been. Remember we are talking about a majority leader who let the Lily Ledbetter act "lose" with 57 votes in favor.

    All of these last few years of posturing on the filibuster has made me want to throw up. It's simple: filibusters mean taking the floor and causing all other business to cease. But under Harry Reid nobody but a few GOP kooks have had to pay the penalty for seeking to obstruct. Everyone else on the opposition has been favored with merely having to threaten to invoke cloture, and popular progressive values with large majority support are scuttled.

    All of this triumphalism is unmerited. None of these eleven-dimensional chess rules would have been necessary if the Majority Leader had forced the opposition to carry out their threats. Once they saw he wouldn't they used the situation to their advantage. Only a fool would have thought that they wouldn't.

  •  No, it wasn't (0+ / 0-)

    Threatening to do something isn't doing something.

    And next time, the Republicans will win the media and opinion war on this issue, because if Democrats ever threaten this again, it will be seen as sour grapes over something they weren't willing to do in the first place.

    The Republicans "lost" 3 battles that they didn't really give a shit about anyway, because the House will just obstruct those departments anyway, but they won the war.

    And as to the health care law? Whatever we supposedly would have gotten would just be postponed like the employer mandate was anyway.

    More and better Democrats, what a joke. When we have the leader of this site trying to tell us that this turd is chocolate cake, something is very wrong.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:24:23 AM PDT

  •  reform won't work unless replicated at will (0+ / 0-)
    And best of all, it won't be limited to just administration appointments. Republicans have conceded that Democrats can change the filibuster rule at will, and they clearly understand that the will to do so exists.

    So Democrats can now wield this against Republican obstructionism in legislation and judicial matters as well.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:28:29 AM PDT

  •  You might think collegiality is bullshit (0+ / 0-)

    but the last time Senators started beating the shit out of each other we ended up in a civil war.  This is too bad because I really would like to see Diane Feinstein punch Mtch McConnell in the mouth. We're stuck, though. War is hell.

  •  Not much of a victory (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun, fat old man

    because of its limitations.  Passing the immigration reform bill was a victory because of how it positioned the Republican brand when the House refused to take up the bill.  Few people care about administrative appointments.  When we can pass the Pay Equity Act in the Senate and then have the House refuse to consider it, that will be useful for electoral politics.  Leaving the reality of the filibuster in place with regard to legislation that we can use expose Republican policies should have us leave the champagne corked.

  •  So Labor Sec, EPA Head and DC Court of Appeals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    nominees are still blocked but CFPB get through after 700+ day?  And I'm supposed to be excited about this why?

    If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:34:24 AM PDT

  •  I agree (1+ / 0-)

    This is a concise and clear victory for the Dems today.  Substantively, it gets a fully functioning NLRB before the August recess, a functioning CFPB with a permanent head, an ATF director, an EPA administrator and several other appointments.

    But procedurally and long-term, it has weakened the filibuster to the point that everyone understands that if it is abused (like 730 days for a vote on a presidential appointment), there is a simple and recognized way of a majority finding a way around it (appeal the ruling of the parliamentarian).  It will never again be as strong as it was and abuse has a remedy.

    I can see why Dem aides on the Hill are gleeful.  This is very good news!

    (But they need to move on judicial nominations as soon as the August recess is over).

    Thanks to President Obama, the Iraq War is Over!

    by Viceroy on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:37:43 AM PDT

  •  No, the filibuster was not reformed (0+ / 0-)

    There is, at best, a slightly more credible threat that the Democrats might reform it someday. Will the Democrats use that threat to move judicial nominees and legislation? I've seen no evidence that they will, they could have done so this time and didn't. Do they not consider the gaping holes in the judiciary to be important? Apparently not. McConnell knows that on judicial nominees, he can obstruct at will and the Dems will do nothing.
    This isn't the worst outcome that could have happened, Reid did get some decent concessions this time, but the filibuster remains in effect and will continue to be used to obstruct any meaningful reform the Democrats attempt to offer.
    The biggest upside is that it does indeed remove their excuses.
    This was a minor victory for democracy, but I think you are way overstating it's impact.

  •  The price of not forcing the issue (4+ / 0-)

    Basically, our side got its way today on this one set of nominees by threatening to end, but not actually ending, the filibuster.  That's great as far as it goes, and yes, the precedent will be powerful going into the future.

    But we set another precedent today, the precedent of our side's unwillingness to force the issue and end the filibuster plainly and openly.  

    Now, maybe that unwillingness is based partly on the idea that we want to leave the filibuster kinda sorta still standing in case we're in the minority some day and will find it a handy tool to block some especially egregious R atrocity.  If so, that's unfortunate, because one thing I believe we can all agree is a dead certainty is that we established a precedent for the Rs as well as ourselves, and that after what our side did today, their side will never even pause to think about letting us use the filibuster in the future.  

    Of more practical concern, the reluctance to just openly and cleanly end the filibuster is probably largely based on concern that swing voters might see an open end of the filibuster as the D power grab the Rs paint it as being.  I think that concern is overblown, but it isn't an unrealistic or unnecessary concern.

    The problem for our side now is that every day that passes between now and the 2014 elections strengthens the concern that ending the filibuster will cost our side in those elections.  Had we ended it today, we would have before e-day almost a year and a half of the actual experience of the world without the filibuster not being the nightmare of socialist tyranny that the Rs will claim that will inevitably result if they don't have their filibuster rights.  Conversely, the closer to e-day the final showdown, the less time for reality to give the lie to the inevitable R hysterics and histrionics, and the more actual price we will pay at the polls.

    The practical concern is this.  The Rs really have nothing to risk anymore forcing a showdown on the filibuster.  It's dead in practice, it no longer has hostage value.  But they would rather have the final showdown -- and big deal if they lose because the filibuster is really dead already -- near election day.  So they will force that showdown, say, by blocking any Obama SCOTUS nominee, and as near e-day as they can.  The showdown will be close to e-day, and it will be over judicial nominees.  Is it certain our side will have the votes then to win that showdown?

    The price of not forcing the issue today, under ideal conditions, is that we let the other side determine when the issue does get forced.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:42:28 AM PDT

    •  Yep you got it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Remember when the Republicans threatened to go nuclear over the Alito nomination, and the Dems backed down?  There are a bunch of judicial appointments that are being filibustered right now, the Dems no longer have an excuse for not forcing a vote on those nominations.

  •  What changed is that we are a little closer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to the 2014 election cycle.  Democrats know that they have a shot at the House with the House GOP's current level of unpopularity.  Dems also know that they have a shot of losing the Senate simply because of the distribution of the retirements.  Finally, Democrats know that they can pick up a number of gubernatorial seats and can improve their position in state legislatures because of tea party fatigue.  

    All that means is that the 2014 election is a jump ball and if we're able to motivate a higher turnout we could win.  That requires more action out of Congress and that's why there were 51 votes to end the filibuster.

    Alternative rock with something to say. Check out Global Shakedown's latest album, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes/Amazon, or stream it at

    by khyber900 on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:15:41 PM PDT

    •  I'd love it to be true but I just don't see (0+ / 0-)

      the Democrats being able to get back the House.

      If the Democrats couldn't do it in 2012 with the help of the Presidential election bringing out many Democratic voters who only vote in Presidential elections, I doubt they can pull it off in an off-year election.

      In 2012, more citizens voted Democratic for the House races than Republican and the Democrats still got beaten pretty badly.   I really don't see how 2014 is anything but worse.

      My best hope is that Democrats can maintain the status quo in the House.

  •  So are recent actions of the NLRB voidable? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    By forcing Obama to retract the nominations of NLRB members who received recess appointments, today's outcome may be harmful if it strengthens the argument that the recess appointments were invalid and, therefore, that NLRB actions taken while they were serving were also invalid.

    •  Wouldn't that be up to the Supreme Court? (0+ / 0-)

      I also don't like the judicial branch sticking their nose into this one either.

      •  Yes, it's on the SCOTUS docket (0+ / 0-)

        The White House appealed a Circuit Court decision that held the recess appointments invalid.  Presumably that ruling will stand unless reversed by the Supreme Court - unfortunately, the partisan Supreme Court we now have. Without something in the Senate deal to ratify the recess appointments before the appointees step down to be replaced by the new nominees, it seems likely that the Senate deal will, if anything, weaken the White House case.  Recent commentary is not encouraging.

  •  Explained precisely right on. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Just hope the Dems keep control of the senate (0+ / 0-)

    Because on day one of a republican-controlled senate the filibuster rules will be radically changed, and the reasoning will be simple: "the majority must be able to pass legislation unimpeded" - they will sing an entirely different tune and, unlike dems, they wont be waiting around to see if Lucy's going to pull the football away, because they won't be playing that kind of ball they will be playing hardball: really hard hardball, especially if a republican is in the white house. They would have not squandered 4.5 years and counting like Sen Reid has.

  •  If there is absolute certainty you will not use (0+ / 0-)

    a tool, then you, effectively, don't have such a tool. The Democrats cannot

    bust through any filibuster with a simple majority anytime they wanted.
    because there is no way in hell that Harry Reid would ever let them do so.

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    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:33:23 PM PDT

  •  too bad that workers were run over to strike a dea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    yeah great, as Harry 'Meeker and Blander than Khaki Pants' Reid said: "both sides got what they wanted":  so true, both the Pro-Big Business Democratic Party and Anti-Labor Republican Party got what they wanted.  Obama's NLRB appointees are tossed aside and he will now nominate new ones who meet the Republican Party 'hate the worker' litmus test.  hoo-frikkin-ray, a glorious victory for business interests.  what a shock, everyone except workers walks away happy.  thanks Tom Harkin for trying to stand up for labor, for your Party no longer even pretends to give a thought about workers rights.

  •  Senator Reid Cut a Good Deal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I believe this is good deal for the Democrats, and I applaud Senator Reid for getting this deal. Politics is the art of compromise, and I think Senator Reid got the best deal under the circumstances. Democrats will get most of our nominees and the GOP will only be left to make toothless threats. The alternative would have led to a continuing impasse and more inaction in the Senate. This deal will at least stop some of the GOP obstruction, and Senator Reid left open the option "to go nuclear" if the GOP tries to block more nominees in the future. If Democrats wants compromise, we must practice it when we can get the best deal from the GOP. Bravo, Senator Reid!

  •  I'll believe it when I see it (in action) (0+ / 0-)

    Senators like to pretend they're nonpartisan, seems to me, so the likelihood that either side will challenge the other is next to non-existent.  And what will the Democrats use the ex-filibuster for?  To advance the well being of Americans?  Or simply to feather their supporters' nests rather than the Republicans' supporters' nest -- who are, in the end, the same?

    Bob Jacobson, Tucson, Arizona & Malmö, Sweden | "The spirit is to win in the heart of the enemy." -- Sun Tzu, Art of War, 6th BCE

    by Cyberoid on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 06:48:24 PM PDT

  •  Harry Reid (0+ / 0-)

    Harry is spineless and a puppet to do as he is
    commanded to do.  
    If you notice the DNC and other democrats make sure they
    have the personal in place to do as they command.  
    Corporations are setting their seeds into the democratic party today.  
    We  have a right  wing extremist party and a republican conservative democratic party today..
    There has been a steady erosion of progressive democrats in the democratic party for decades NOW.
    Strautmanis , Emanuel & White House attacks on the Professional Left and anyone disagreeing with them.Tthose who criticized the Administration, instead of following their policies, would find themselves on the outside.
    White House weekly meeting called and DC progressive organizations were invited a one sided conversation. White House dictated their agenda and wanted the professional left to back it up.
    In 2006 Rahm Emanuel, had worked hard to guarantee that Democratic candidates in key toss-up House races were pro-war.
    This ensured that 20 of the 22 Democratic candidates in these districts are pro-war. So the fix is in for the coming elections.

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