Skip to main content

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives to speak to the media about healthcare on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Just four months ago, I wrote:
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 [...]

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.

I must admit, I didn't expect Republicans to challenge this notion this quickly. And the reason is simple: Even with a truncated and compromised filibuster, Republicans were able to gum up the works to unprecedented levels. As Bill Sher at the Campaign for America's Future notes, the federal judiciary is now evenly balanced, with 390 GOP-appointed judges and 391 Democratic-appointed ones. However, there are 93 vacancies.
Republicans could relent on Obama’s right to fill vacancies and keep the filibuster in place. Obama would get some more judges, but he would not be able to fill all the outstanding vacancies by next year considering that he has only identified nominees for about half of those seats. But if Republicans provoke the end of the filibuster, then I suspect the White House can quickly find another 50 or so judges without much fuss.
In other words, surrendering on three judges would've allowed the GOP to continue obstructing the other 87. Provoking the Democrats into eliminating the filibuster, on the other hand, now allows Democrats to ram all 90 through with minimal trouble. And there's no longer any need to try and find judges that can pick up a handful of Republican votes, so they should prove better ideologically. This will also take the judiciary from a 50-50 partisan split to a 55-45 Democratic-appointed one. And we still have another three years of vacancies ahead of us before we choose our next president.

So why surrender their ability to gum up the works? Is it a bet that they'll take over the chamber in the 2014 elections? Not really. A presidential veto would negate the need for minority Democrats to filibuster.

So is it a bet that Republicans will take both the Senate next year, and the White House in 2016? Perhaps. But if so, why not give proper deference for three years, relent on a handful of judges, preserve the filibuster, and then ditch it when they theoretically took power in early 2017?

None of this makes sense. Republicans have been daring Democrats to go nuclear all week, and today things went "boom!". But that bomb detonated over Republicans while Democrats watched from a safe bunker miles away. So what were Republicans thinking?

Originally posted to kos on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:44 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

deminva, chuck utzman, From the choir, Bill in Portland Maine, Kaina PDX, Phoenix Woman, True North, ferg, assyrian64, glitterscale, Maudlin, greendem, tiponeill, bosdcla14, MouseThatRoared, Shockwave, BryanRI, eeff, FyodorFish, Walt starr, exNYinTX, Creosote, Heart of the Rockies, Morgana, emmanuel, 88kathy, cyberKosFan, wonkydonkey, annrose, susakinovember, whenwego, buckhorn okie, vmibran, porktacos, artebella, Lawrence, johanus, wdrath, mnguitar, Steven Payne, defluxion10, Catte Nappe, chickeee, papercut, lcrp, Brian82, Lilith, imicon, tomjones, densityland, sawgrass727, vcmvo2, maybeeso in michigan, 3goldens, ichibon, LakeSuperior, citizenx, Kdoug, ratzo, fixxit, skyounkin, markdd, jane123, Tunk, Rusty in PA, FindingMyVoice, coloradorob, mightymouse, kathny, begone, lgmcp, newbyblogger, The Sheeping of America, WB Reeves, highfive, Ky DEM, Gorette, Gottlieb, gpoutney, Rosaura, katrinka, AllDemsOnBoard, onionjim, bumbi, va dare, RantNRaven, dochackenbush, sea note, PatConnors, Tamar, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, peagreen, Loudoun County Dem, Van Buren, edsbrooklyn, Duccio, wildweasels, flumptytail, Dave in Northridge, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, deepeco, jedennis, klnb1019, Rosalie907, mudslide, jnhobbs, Rumarhazzit, leonard145b, TomP, gizmo59, mconvente, bythesea, Lujane, boatjones, TokenLiberal, Kathy S, TexanJane, Parthenia, Tross, JamieG from Md, cadfile, prettygirlxoxoxo, enemy of the people, pileta, juca, don mikulecky, bobatkinson, maryabein, aunt blabby, followyourbliss, politicalceci, papahaha, kevinpdx, moviemeister76, Tortmaster, Dragon5616, boatwright, Larsstephens, ruscle, Railfan, cezariusz, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, henlesloop, T Maysle, gramofsam1, LOrion, Lost and Found, appledown, Eddie L, JoanMar, ItsSimpleSimon, Goingallout, laserhaas, AJ in Camden, sharonsz, addisnana, Patate, ericlewis0, Dems in 08, fiercefilms, stevenaxelrod, slice, Mac in Maine, Pakalolo, Onomastic, annieli, Maximilien Robespierre, redlum jak, ebbet, kerflooey, Bluefin, I love OCD, coquiero, spooks51, slowbutsure, implicate order, Mr MadAsHell, mikejay611, gmats, homeschoolmama, PorridgeGun, IllanoyGal, incognita, akmk, BarackStarObama, gof, docterry, enhydra lutris, corvaire, whaddaya, Marihilda, Vatexia, blue aardvark, ratcityreprobate, jhaw, jham710, Chitown Kev, caryltoo, allergywoman, Azazello, Rejoinder, Monsieur Georges, Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom, wolf advocate, quill, nominalize, OldDragon, sow hat, angry marmot, Chrislove, charliehall2, IndieGuy, Eric Nelson, tb92, pimutant, a2nite, kellius, belinda ridgewood, Lilredhead, Jimmy D 84, jes2, lunachickie, wxorknot, stvnjon, Glen The Plumber, Sue B, nomandates, remembrance, Setsuna Mudo, poopdogcomedy, Says Who, Joy of Fishes, aresea, SheilaKinBrooklyn, leeleedee, optimistic pizza, howabout, northerntier, Icicle68, OjaiValleyCali, Lyapunov, peterfallow, ET3117, marcr22, tampaedski, JustGiaco, Knockbally, ChristineM, ekgrulez1, martianexpatriate, OregonWetDog, H E Pennypacker, eagleray, Capt Crunch, pierre9045, Penny GC, gnosticator, darma2u, Joe Calarco, DarthEVaderCheney, LiberalLoner, SouthernLeveller, Armor and Sword, kieriae, AliasMe

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site