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Does anyone here know their political history?  The 'bluedog Democrats" almost all from the South saw President Obama's election as an opportunity to increase their influence and be power brokers- even though they had almost always (and continued) to vote with the Republicans; go back and look at the votes in those first two years and you will find time and again that it was votes from this block that stopped much action or caused many bills to be scaled down (stimulus e.g.).  The only thing I fault Obama for was his continuing to believe compromise with moderate Republicans was possible long after that fantasy train had left the station.  But this block of blue dogs kept voting with the Republicans time and time again so there never was a real Democratic voting block making up a majority NEVER.  Many of them were voted out and replaced with Republicans so on the surface it looks like there was a majority of Dems, but not when it came to voting


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Comment Preferences

  •  well (17+ / 0-)

    it is factually correct to say that Democrats had full control in 2009-10.  Saying that liberals had full control of the government, though, is factually incorrect for the reasons you point out.

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

    by TDDVandy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:06:37 PM PDT

    •  Even Dems Can't Have Control While Repubs Have (7+ / 0-)

      filibuster strength. They only lost filibuster strength after Franken was finally seated, for a few weeks till Teddy Kennedy was gone. The rest of the time they could stop anything even with minority.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:47:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And if Repugs get back the Senate, Dems will (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83, JamieG from Md

        refuse to do what Repugs are doing and filibuster every last thing they don't like.  Dems will trip all over their morals and refuse to "sink to their level".

      •  Six Weeks During High Summer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Yep.  I've pointed this out before as well.  Franken got seated in the first week in July 2009 after a spitefully contested election and Teddy Kennedy died in the third week of August.  Effectively, the Democrats would have been able to influence legislation until the end of July before the summer recess occurred for the full month of August.  That's the only time the Democrats had any effective control of Congress before the filibuster provisions could make any legislation grind to a halt.  Virtually no one remembers the details any more and few are willing to research what the facts really were.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:52:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, not really (6+ / 0-)

      Because they only had a filibuster proof majority for about 4 months total (out of that 2 years), when the Dems had both House and Senate.
      If you'll remember, both Teddy Kennedy and Robert Byrd were both out most of 2009 with illness, Al Franken did not get his seat until sometime in July of 2009, and then of course, there was Joe Lieberman.
      Here's a great article from 2011 that lays it all out:

      If trees gave off WIFi signals, we would probably plant so many trees, we would save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.

      by skohayes on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:45:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So change the filibuster. (0+ / 0-)

        The fact that Sen Reid screwed up doesn't change the possibilities.  Politics is the art of the possible.  Much more was possible in 2009-2010 than got done.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:49:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ignoring the facts here (0+ / 0-)

          Reid did not even have a simple majority to change the filibuster until last year.
          Stop blaming it on Reid.

          If trees gave off WIFi signals, we would probably plant so many trees, we would save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.

          by skohayes on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 03:38:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  But Chris Matthews said.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, jan4insight


    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:08:32 PM PDT

  •  Never filibuster-proof (14+ / 0-)

    Remember, Al Franken didn't take his seat until July  because Norm Coleman (R-Sore Loser) ran crying to the courts (as all Rs do) to try to keep his seat.

    And Ted Kennedy was very ill and wasn't attending sessions for some months prior to his death.  It looks like his last vote was in late March, and died August 25.

    So we never really had 60 votes, and the filthy R-s were filibustering everything that came down the pike.

    •  Don't forget (0+ / 0-)

      Al Gore. Need to be factual.

      You best believe it does

      by HangsLeft on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:47:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How Was Gore Involved? (4+ / 0-)

        Al Gore was totally out of government by 2009.  Just how would he have been involved in any Senate votes during this period in question.

        If you mean Joe Biden, as President of the Senate in his capacity as Vice President, he would not be casting any votes for cloture to cut off debate in the Senate.  Cloture requires 60 votes under the then rules and Democrats could muster 60 votes only between the time Franken was seated and Ted Kennedy's death.  Otherwise, the Democrats would have been able to secure only 59 votes, which is insufficient to pass cloture.  That was it for controlling the Senate, notwithstanding all of the bumpf that the Teahadists distribute about Democrats running the show during that Congress.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:59:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Majority could've eliminated the filibuster (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew, quill, Odysseus

      but Reid whose not to.

      History = the Democratic Party controlled the Senate.

      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 Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:47:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Water under the bridge (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976, Odysseus

    Whether certain opportunities for bolder congressional action were squandered through lack of sufficient power, or through lack of will to exert what power we did have ... is now immaterial.   But my take is that probably BOTH things were true to a considerable degree.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:17:57 PM PDT

  •  Seventy-Four Daze.... (5+ / 0-)

    ....that's the number of days they had complete control.

    ....and how many LEGISLATIVE DAYS that equals, only the Blessed FSM knows fersure....

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:39:32 PM PDT

    •  actually five months (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew, Odysseus

      See this article for the details.

      They could have gotten much more done in that period, given that the House under Pelosi passed a lot of good legislation.  They were sabotaged by conservative Senate Democrats, who repeatedly sided with Republicans and supported filibusters.

      Also, Democrats could have ended or limited the filibuster in 2009, or they could have used reconciliation more aggressively.

  •  We accept excuses the right wing of the GOP (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, rduran, dfarrah, Odysseus

    would never put up with. Reagan, Bush 41 and 43 never had 60 Senate seats. Can you imagine the damage they would have done with 57-58?

    Harry Reid could have easily changed the rules. Any doubt that Dole or Howard Baker would have?

    New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

    by AlexDrew on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:09:46 PM PDT

    •  The Republican Senate under Bush II (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, sebastianguy99

      did almost abolish the filibuster for judicial nominees but then-majority leader Bill Frist backed down.  So yes, there is doubt that Dole or Baker, who like Frist were establishment types, would've changed the filibuster rules.  

      "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

      by puakev on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:31:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  SMH. But we backed down, hence Roberts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dfarrah, bear83

        and Alito.

        New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

        by AlexDrew on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:05:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, but problem is that Dems wanted (0+ / 0-)

          to be able to use the filibuster themselves, next time they were in the minority. For this and other reasons, a lot of Democratic Senators opposed filibuster reform.

          In the long run, though, the filibuster is incompatible with the Constitution. The Framers were perfectly capable of specifying when they wanted super-majorities (impeachment, treaties), so if they didn't specify a super-majority, a simple majority should suffice.

    •  That's because Democrats (6+ / 0-)

      are interested in governing, and actually doing their jobs, and Republicans are not.
      And Harry Reid could not have "easily" changed the rules in 2009 as several Democrats did not agree with him about it until the situation was completely out of control.

      If trees gave off WIFi signals, we would probably plant so many trees, we would save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.

      by skohayes on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:48:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  FTR, the Blue Dogs were NOT "almost... (5+ / 0-)

    ...all the South."

    In 2009, 29 of the 54 Blue Dogs were not from the South.

    In 2010, 16 of the 28 Blue Dogs who lost their elections or chose not to run for reelection were not from the South.

    11 of the 19 remaining Blue Dogs today are not from the South.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:49:53 PM PDT

    •  Thank you. We forget the 50-State Strategy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Meteor Blades

      ...produced winning candidates from conservative districts and states from around the country. The disaster that was 2010 eliminated many of those districts and many cases replaced those more conservative Democratic coalition members with Republicans.

      The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

      by sebastianguy99 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:14:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Following the 1936 elections, the Democrats had (5+ / 0-)

    a 334-88 majority in the House and a 76-16 majority in the Senate.  But by the end of 1937, the New Deal was effectively dead.

    In other words, having a big majority is important, but it doesn't make passing sweeping legislation automatic.  The real determining factor is where the political winds are blowing, where public opinion is headed, both locally and nationally.

    If lawmakers feel that voting for sweeping legislation may threaten their jobs, they will not vote for it.

    Or if they feel that voting against such legislation is in the interests of their local constituents and/or big donors, and if they know that voting against such legislation will not hurt them politically or threaten their jobs, they will vote against that legislation.

    On the other hand, if they feel that not voting for progressive legislation will threaten their jobs, or if they feel that voting for such legislation will bring them political advantage, then they will vote for such legislation.

    Clearly in 2009-2010, however big our majorities, it was hard to pass truly progressive legislation because there were clearly enough Democrats - and virtually all of the Republicans - who felt that voting for progressive legislation would hurt them, or that voting against such legislation would not hurt them and in fact would help them, or that any political advantage from voting for such legislation would not be worth the potential downside.

    In reality, it is exceedingly rare to have both the majorities and the political momentum for truly sweeping legislation.  There was, for example, a brief period from 1933-1936, the New Deal era, when that was the case.

    But beginning in 1937, despite having even larger majorities than the 1933-1936 period, no New Deal legislation on the scale of those passed in FDR's first term was forthcoming.  It was because the political winds had shifted, and nothing, not even 3 to 1 majorities in both houses of Congress, could overcome that.

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:00:19 PM PDT

  •  Yes they did, you excuse-mongerer. n/t (3+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    cville townie, Odysseus, Mother Shipper
    Hidden by:

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:49:01 PM PDT

  •  They voted for Pelosi and Reid (0+ / 0-)

    Speaker and Majority Leader are a valid definition of control.

    Always want to have more control though!

  •  Let's look at a timeline.... (4+ / 0-)

    Apparently no one remembers that Scott Brown was sworn into office in February of 2010.  The President had only been in office for ONE year.  Most folks remember that the election of Scott Brown reduced the number of Democratic senators to 59.  So what majority are they talking about?

    January 20, 2009 – After suffering a seizure during Obama’s inaugural luncheon, Senator Kennedy’s health forced him to retreat to Massachusetts. Also Senator Al Franken of Minnesota had not been seated because the previous Senator, Norm Coleman challenged the results.

    So at the beginning of his Presidency, Democrats had 58 sitting senators.......56 Democrats and 2 Independents.

    Why do you think he had to compromise with Republicans on the Stimulus bill?  He didn’t have enough Democrats to pass the bill!  

    April 28, 2009 news outlets issued the following report:

    Republican Sen. Arlen Specter has switched parties, which would give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 seats. You do remember the filibuster? The Republicans employed it more than in any time in history for the express purpose of stalling legislation.

    Despite the fact that the media hailed the party switch of Arlen Specter and claimed it gave Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate,  the Minnesota seat still remained vacant. The Senate had 57 Democratic members and 2 Independents.  Technically, the Senate was two members short, but I’m counting Senator Kennedy even though he was at home ill because he did cast a vote in June.  59

    May 15, 2009 Senator Robert Byrd was admitted to the hospital reducing the number of sitting Senators to 56 Democratic members and 2 Independents.  58

    July 7, 2009 Al Franken (D) was sworn in after the election dispute over the Minnesota seat was decided in his favor.  Senator Kennedy continued to recuperate at his home in Massachusetts and was unable to cast any more votes; Senator Byrd was still in the hospital.  The Senate had 56 sitting Democratic members and 2 Independents.  58

    July 21, 2009  Senator Byrd returned to the Senate making the count 59 seats.  No Senator Kennedy.

    Senator Kennedy died August 25, 2009.

    The Kennedy seat was vacant from August 25 – September 24  when  Paul G. Kirk was appointed to occupy his seat until the completion of a special election. The swearing-in of Kirk gave the Democrats a 60-seat majority.

    Democrats had a 60 seat majority from September 24, 2009 thru February 4, 2010.   4 months people; not 2 years!!

    Democrats lost their 60 seat majority when Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts was sworn into office in February of 2010.

    But here’s the most important detail that no one ever mentions:


    •  Details. You obviously missed the point of it all. (0+ / 0-)

      The devil was cast out of the White House and purity was returned, bringing relief to true believers all over the land, and installing a leader who had conversations with God. Never again would God-fearing Americans be subject to the horrors of a President engaging in consensual pleasure between two adults. Our spiritual leader also cast Satan out of Iraq, freeing up the oil that had been lying fallow, so to speak, due to the sanctions we, the Puritans, had imposed on him and his followers, the people of Iraq. Yes, a few hundred thousand children may have been sacrificed as a result of those sanctions, and a few hundred thousand Iraqis died in the process of purifying Iraq, but God works in strange ways and it is not up to us to have conversations that suggest mere mortals control their own destiny. It is complicated, and that is why you have to seek counsel from the ministers of God. They are all over the place.

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