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Rand Paul speaking at LPAC 2011 in Reno, Nevada.


“What we really need is an anti-bullying ordinance in the Senate,” Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “I mean, now we’ve got a big bully. Harry Reid says he’s just gonna break the rules and make new rules.”

“He’s gotta have everything his way, he’s gotta control everything. This is more about them trying to control the agenda and shift it away from Obamacare than it is about anything else,” Paul added. “Basically he’s become the dictator of the Senate. He’s going to bend and break the rules to get his way.”

It's easy to understand why Rand Paul is upset. After all, the only Senate he's ever known has been a Senate in which Republicans were bullies capable of vetoing anything they wanted to veto—despite the fact that they have never held a majority of seats in the Senate during his time in office.

But now that winning a vote on presidential nominations requires a simple majority instead of three-fifths, Paul no longer enjoys the same power to veto the will of the majority. I suppose you can call that "trampling minority rights" if you want to be overwrought and dramatic, but this has nothing to do with dictatorship.

Despite Paul's claims otherwise, Harry Reid did not obtain dictatorial powers. He's still one vote of one hundred in the Senate, and his power depends entirely on the power of persuasion. Reid didn't somehow grab ahold of the power to make nominations—that still belongs to the president. The Constitution is entirely intact.

The only thing that's changed is that the veto power of the minority has been eliminated on all nominations below the Supreme Court level. And contrary to Paul's hypochondria, I'd bet my bottom dollar that over time, this is a decision that will lead to more input from the minority party, not less—even if it is extended to legislation, as it eventually probably will. Before the rule change, the minority party had a strong incentive to simply say no in order to wield influence. Now, however, if they want influence, they need to find ways to work with the majority. And although Paul seems incapable of conceiving not a world in which the majority would work with a minority partner, history shows that cooperation is much more common than Paul's vision of hyperpartisan conflict.

Ultimately, Paul's real problem is that the America of today is no longer the America that existed a century ago. Filibuster or not, that America is never coming back.

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Comment Preferences

  •  sounds more like drug testing & restraining orders (12+ / 0-)

    for lobbyists are needed before any antibullying ordinances are addressed

    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 Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:10:40 PM PST

  •  My level of concern for the Rs (10+ / 0-)

    that are whining and screaming about unfairness doesn't really make it past "fuck 'em, they reap what they sow."

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by ricklewsive on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:14:49 PM PST

    •  call him Senator Aqua-Boohoo (4+ / 0-)

      "Did they really think that we wouldn't notice? Nice try-- but we got you!" Rev. Al Sharpton

      by growingMajorityMN on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:55:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  whiny schoolchildren (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elizabeth 44, ricklewsive, dewtx

      Basically the only people who complain about fairness are whiny children and entitled adults who are about to be taken off the civil list, i.e. are facing the prospect of doing a real days work.

      The other depressing thing is this bullying idea.  Past middle school I no long see bullying.  I see criminal activity such as theft and assault, and calling it bullying is just a way to to protect the guilty from going to jail and convince others that the innocent brought it on themselves. It is like the ADULTS in San Jose who assaulted their room mate.  If it were not for this bullying motif charges would have been pressed, they would have a record, and future generations would be warned(i.e. locking someone in is false imprisonment).

      In this case the bullying is used by the oppressor.  It is like the case in Louisiana where black students were bullied for an extended period by white students.  Because it was bullying, and not assault or  a hate crime as it should have been, the black students had no choice but to defend themselves.  Due to the rules, remember they white boys were just being good old boys, the black boys ended up being the real bullies that were prosecuted.

  •  Four words of advice to (5+ / 0-)

    Senator Paul- STFU!!!!

  •  Know who else made up new rules? Hitler. (0+ / 0-)

    Senator Paul accused Majority Leader Reid of putting on a Christ Cristie mask in order to appear... Incognito.

    GOP - Shutdown Obamacare. Bad website? GOP - Why no access to Obamacare?

    by filby on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:24:59 PM PST

  •  If Harry Reid were really a bully and the rest (5+ / 0-)

    of the Democrats were his "posse" he would've done this years ago. And even now, with 5 years of obstructionism to prove the necessity of this, he still had 3 DINO's vote to maintain the filibuster. So cry me a river, Rand Paul, there's no bullying going on in the Senate.

    There are lies, damn lies, and statistics but they all pale in comparison to conservative talking points.

    by ontheleftcoast on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:25:13 PM PST

  •  Man up, sissy! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Jeezus! If there's someone in the senate who wouldn't have your back in a fight, it's Rand Paul, aka Senator Pussy.

    What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

    by TerryDarc on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:26:19 PM PST

  •  Senate gets to make rules (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, LuvSet, myboo, dewtx

    For a compilation of Republican statements against filibustering nominations, check out Media Matters:

    When Cons hated filibusters

    My favorite:

    ROVE: In December, the president sent nominations up to the Hill. He took seven nominees who'd been previously stymied and not allowed a vote, some of them now four years that they've not been allowed a vote. We sent seven of those names up, we withdrew three. I saw no change in the tone of the other side. In fact, the flamethrowers and RPGs came out within moments of the statement. We believe that fairness means these people deserve an up-or-down vote. The Senate can debate, the Senate has a right to oppose, it has a right to support, but it has an obligation under the Constitution to offer its advice and consent by a vote. And it's only fair. [USA Today, 4/25/05]
  •  Hey Rand Paul: (0+ / 0-)


    porktacos has gone vegan

    by porktacos on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:32:07 PM PST

  •  Controlling the agenda? (0+ / 0-)
    This is more about them trying to control the agenda...
    Um, just like John Boehner does in the House, you mean?

    Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

    by UncleDavid on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:38:41 PM PST

  •  When is his 15 minutes up? (0+ / 0-)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:40:14 PM PST

  •  Bullies always the first to cry foul when someone (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuvSet, jakewaters, plok, Lucy Montrose, Byblis

    fights back.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:41:34 PM PST

  •  When GOP doesn't get THEIR way, it's tyranny (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Lucy Montrose
  •  Maybe Paul should invite Reid to a duel... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernLeveller, Lucy Montrose
  •  You can tell just by looking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuvSet, Lucy Montrose

    You can tell just by looking is an expert on being bullied.

    Sit down, wee-man.

    I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

    by roninkai on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:43:16 PM PST

  •  Rand Paul should thank Harry Reid (3+ / 0-)

    for not throwing him in jail like Julius Caeser did to Cato the Younger.

    Cato made use of the filibuster again in 59 BC in response to a land reform bill sponsored by Caesar, who was then consul.[6] When it was Cato's time to speak during the debate, he began one of his characteristically long-winded speeches. Caesar, who needed to pass the bill before his co-consul, Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, took possession of the fasces at the end of the month, immediately recognized Cato's intent and ordered the lictors to jail him for the rest of the day. The move was unpopular with many senators and Caesar, realizing his mistake, soon ordered Cato's release. The day was wasted without the Senate ever getting to vote on a motion supporting the bill, but Caesar eventually circumvented Cato's opposition by taking the measure to the Tribal Assembly, where it passed.

    Filibusters were never used to block cabinet appointments. Senators have used the "hold" to gain some kind of quid pro quo but filibusters to block cabinet appointments were never used until Obama was elected. Until 1949 cloture could not be invoked on any appointment judicial or otherwise.

    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

    by harris stein on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:43:37 PM PST

    •  The same Marcus Cato who committed suicide rather (0+ / 0-)

      than surrender to Julius Caesar in the subsequent Civil War.

      When Caesar learned from people who came to him that Cato was remaining in Utica and not trying to escape, but that he was sending off the rest, while he himself, his companions, and his son, were fearlessly going up and down, he thought it difficult to discern the purpose of the man, but since he made the greatest account of him, he came on with his army in all haste. 2 When, however, he heard of his death, he said thus much only, as we are told: "O Cato, I begrudge thee thy death; for thou didst begrudge me the sparing of thy life." For, in reality, if Cato could have consented to have his life spared by Caesar, he would not be thought to have defiled his own fair fame, but rather to have adorned that of Caesar. However, what would have happened is uncertain; though the milder course is to be conjectured on the part of Caesar.
      ---Plutarch's Life of Marcus Cato the Younger

      Also as I remember the story, Caesar had seduced Cato's sister Servilia.

  •  What Harry Reid did was the opposite of bullying. (3+ / 0-)

    What Mitch McTurtle did with his threats of revenge was bullying.

    "Inside the Senate, furious Republicans who portrayed the Democratic action as a blatant power grab will no doubt try to exact revenge by further slowing the chamber's activities and making life as complicated as possible for Democrats. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader and an expert student of Senate rules, made it clear that Democrats would rue this day."

     Said McConnell: "But if they want to play games and set yet another precedent that they will no doubt come to regret, well that's a choice only they can make."

    That word does not mean what you think it means.

  •  anti-bullying rules (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose

    a typical target of Republican disdain & ridicule ... except when they want the rule themselves ... did you hear the one about the bully who feels victimized because you point a finger & laugh at the bully who was just pointing his finger & laughing ...

  •  Are we even sure those are his words? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose, xanthippe2, Tunk

    He may have stolen them.

  •  The Voters Don't Care About Senate Rules (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buzzer, Lucy Montrose

    All of the discussion and vitriol over changing Senate rules is completely lost on the general public. They either tune it out or weren't listening in the first place. Voters care about action and results, not the process, and they are completely disgusted with mindless obstruction while their lives go further down the drain. There is no downside. No price to pay. Changing the Senate rules is  one of those rare things in life where its all positive and the unintended consequences all favor the interests of Democrats and the American public.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:51:43 PM PST

  •  Rand, give him your lunch and you won't get hurt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:54:22 PM PST

  •  Let us have an (0+ / 0-)

    anti-"gotta" ordinance.  And then let us have an anti-moran ordinance.  Rand Paul perhaps was bullied for his hair ointment choice and being a gaping asshole -- but I'd guess he really doesn't comprehend the concept of bullying.'


    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:54:35 PM PST

  •  So Rand Paul wants the government to protect him? (0+ / 0-)

    This guy's consistently inconsistent in his "philosophy."

    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

    by deben on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:54:44 PM PST

  •  Dandy Randy dons the asshat again, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    aqua buddha still has a word with the ways.

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:55:01 PM PST

  •  We just passed an anti-bully ordinance (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plok, SouthernLeveller, Lucy Montrose

    It's called the "Reid Rule!"

  •  Boo hoo hoo, Rand Paul.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose

    With every single utterance, Rand Paul proves he is not the stuff of what a US Senator is made.  He certainly isn't alone in this, but he's one of the more outstanding buffoons.
    One can only hope KY comes to their senses (for the second time in two years - yes, McChinless, hopefully you get to retire in 2014) and votes this Rand Paul total cartoon outta office.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 05:08:33 PM PST

  •  I'll quote David Letterman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizabeth 44

    "oh who cares..."

    Knock twice, rap with your cane

    by plok on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 05:10:12 PM PST

  •  And I'm sure Wolf Blitzer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    did SO much to push back against his claims, didn't he?

  •  Pass a anti bullying rule (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose, brn2bwild

    and expel Cruz for bullying.

  •  A bully (0+ / 0-)

    like Rand Paul and his Republicans cohorts in the Senate, can never see their inner bully and their own bully behavior. Talk about projection at it's finest.

    Why yes there is a war on women and minorities.

    by karma5230 on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 05:49:30 PM PST

  •  Do I understand this correctly? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tunk, brn2bwild

    After Paul and his cohorts spent the last 5 years shutting down a sitting President's Constitutionally- mandated obligation to appoint jurists to the Federal Bench as well as damned near everything else this President has offered - and now that someone finally woke up and decided to do something about it, Paul now wants protection from those mean ol' socialist takers from a government he has sworn an oath with his party to overthrow?

    This guy must have seeds as big as beach balls to suggest something like that- but instead I'll just chalk it up to arrogant stupidity

  •  It's interesting... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that Rand Paul professes to be a strict constitutionalist, but yet he cries foul when Senate decorum is moved much closer in line to the dictates of the Constitution. Go figure!!!

    As an aside, now the consequences of voting are much more important than before. If/when the American public's short term memory loss kicks in and the rethugs gain the majority in both houses and the presidency, we will be in for a very rocky ride, legislatively speaking. They will pass their wish list and shove it down everyone's throats. We must remain vigilant and keep progressing forward. Now the gloves ARE off.

    This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in-T. Roosevelt

    by DoctorRobert on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 05:59:55 PM PST

  •  Let's start with an anti-idiot ordinance (0+ / 0-)

    That will pretty much clean out dolts like Paul.

  •  Bullies usually cry the loudest (0+ / 0-)

    when someone actually hits back.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:07:50 PM PST

  •  More propoganda from Rand Paul (0+ / 0-)

    This was not a decision made by Harry Reid and enforced on the rest of the Democratic Senators by fiat. This was a decision made by every single individual Democratic Senator with, I think, one exception.

    The Republicans have made the Senate totally ineffective on purpose. they have worked to do that since Obama defeated McCain.

     Now that the Democratic Senators have decided that the Republicans simply cannot be worked with, the Republicans are whining to the press to get more individual face time. If you think they wouldn't scrap the filibuster themselves within half a day of gaining control of the Senate themselves just look at how the liars like Rand Paul flip stories like pre-WW II European Communists told by Moscow to switch sides Then you don't understand the Republican Party of today.

    Rand Paul believes in propaganda and in getting power for himself personally. He does not believe in America as a robust democracy.

    The US Supreme Court has by its actions and rhetoric has ceased to be legitimate. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

    by Rick B on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:08:02 PM PST

  •  If the GOP wins in 2014 (0+ / 0-)

    Will the Dems on the last day of this session vote to reinstate the old rules? That way the GOP would have to vote to go nuclear themselves, even before any attempt to filibuster anything.

  •  The Senate makes its own rules except as (0+ / 0-)

    specifically enumerated in the Constitution. It does this by majority vote. That is the plain fact of the matter & there have been many rules changes on that basis over the years.
    It has traditionally afforded many privileges to the minority in the spirit of comity. These can be withdrawn if they are abused.
    The R's are too stupid to acknowledge this fact of life & basically forced the weak-kneed D's into this fairly modest rules change. They have declared all-out war on PBO & the Warrens, Merklys, Udalls have decided it is long past time to fight back.
    It is now time to change the "blue slip" courtesy tradition that has allowed the R's to block all judicial appointments from sataes with a R Senator.Mother Jones

    Fellow MoJoer Nick Baumann tweets that "too much of the coverage of Obama and judges has not mentioned Sen. Leahy and the blue-slip rule." That's true! One of the Senate's oldest traditions is that judicial nominees require approval from their home-state senators before they can move forward, and that approval comes in the form of a blue slip returned to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The recent history of the blue slip is surprisingly slippery, if you'll excuse the pun, but here's my best take at a handy potted history of the blue-slip rule:

        Pre-1994: Generally speaking, only one blue-slip is needed for a nominee to move forward....

    Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

    by chuck utzman on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:38:38 PM PST

  •  No, they need to win the next election (0+ / 0-)

    "Before the rule change, the minority party had a strong incentive to simply say no in order to wield influence. Now, however, if they want influence, they need to find ways to work with the majority."

    They don't want to influence legislation in any sort of bipartisan governance.  They want power.  They want to be able to write the legislation themselves, and make sure our side has no influence on that legislation that their party alone will get to write.

    You know what, they are absolutely, 100% right to want that.  They have goals that are completely contrary to ours, so no, there is no way that they should want to work with the majority, to influence legislation.  They should want to win the next election so that they won't have to work with our side.  I only wish our side were as single-minded and uncompromising.

    Where they can be faulted is in their attempts to get their uncompromised way despite not having won the last election.  Their behavior in that respect has been so destructive that one of our side's chief goals in winning the next election so that we can once again write laws without any influence at all from their side, should be to rewrite all laws that leave loopholes permitting just one chamber of Congress, or the president, the ability to hold hostages such as the budget and debt ceiling.  We can and should make divided government safe once again, even if we can never make it very effective at decisive action.

    We've had two generations of a fake truce between the parties, ever since New Deal Democrat Eisenhower agreed run as an R to keep them from going the way of the Whigs.  He made them swear off going back on the New Deal.  As long as they respected that bargain, we basically just had two flavors of New Deal D, and the parties had little ideological difference standing in the way of bipartisan cooperation on any number of extensions of New Deal thinking.

    Well, the truce is over.  There were always unreconstructed plutocrats who were never reconciled to the New Deal, and those well-funded individuals gradually built up a collation of people who were never reconciled to desegregation, and people who were never reconciled to women putting on shoes and leaving the kitchen, etc. etc.  They built up a coalition of all the resentments felt for all the real and imagined wrongs done to white guy Christians by the last two generations of reality.

    Individually, these people can and should be reasoned with.  But their political movement is hopeless as a partner in sense, reason, and compromise.  They just need to be defeated.  First, our political house needs to be child-proofed by getting rid of the debt ceiling and making the annual spending bills hostage-proof.  Such measures ill be necessary at least until such time as we can be sure that their party will never control the WH or either chamber of Congress ever again.  

    Their party needs to go the way of the Whigs and the Federalists.  No sentimental nonsense about preserving a two-party system.  The continued existence of this fake opposition to the New Deal is the main obstacle to a true and honest opposition to the Ds arising.  I harbor no illusions whatever about the Ds being so wonderful that we will need no opposition once the Rs have gone the way of the Whigs.  The Ds deserve an honest, adult, opposition, not a bundle of resentments acted out in successive tantrums by emotional children.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:52:44 PM PST

  •  The Senate needs an anti-whining ordinance (0+ / 0-)

    Boo hoo, Rand.

  •  This IS the anti-bullying ordinance! (0+ / 0-)

    If they weren't being total asses, we would not be discussing a Senate rule change, would we?

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***
    The ACA is all about getting started toward great health care. No turning back. The way forward is through. Every Democrat is married to this law and we all need to work together to make it awesome.

    by potatohead on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 10:37:12 PM PST

  •  The chief cry baby, Rand Paul, thinks that Harry (0+ / 0-)

    Reid is just a terrible bully.  Reid is got the gloves on, Rand and your entitled self is in for a lot more deflating.  

  •  Yeah, good luck with that vote Randian (0+ / 0-)

    toupeed pinhead.

    "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

    by Snarky McAngus on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 10:36:44 AM PST

  •  He kidnapped a woman in college. (0+ / 0-)

    His goons curb-stomped a small woman for daring to wave a sign.

    He's done actual harm to actual people. But now that he's not allowed to get his own way by screaming, he's howling that He's Being Picked On and It's Not Faaaaaaairr.

    Bullies are the first ones to run bawling to the teacher when ONE of their many, many victims hits back, once.

    Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

    by gardnerhill on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 03:41:40 PM PST

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