Wednesday, February 02, 2005

 

Balls

This is exactly the kind of fight I'm talking about. Apparently, Bill Frist has publicly said he will attempt to change Senate rules which would ban the ability to filibuster as a means to block judicial appointees. It is called "The Nuclear Option." Harry Reid had this to say about it:
"They can threaten the nuclear option," he said. "If they feel that's great for the institution and the country, let them do it." Noting that the only complaint he has heard from fellow Democrats is that not enough of Bush's judicial nominees were blocked in the past four years, Reid said he is prepared "to go behind the pool hall and see who wins this one."
(via Radical Georgia Moderate)

Comments:
Congressional Democrats have a response to Frist "nuclear option" that been nicknamed the "MAD option" from the same old cold war vocabulary... Mutually Assured Destruction.

What would be done is if Frist changed the rules to stop filibusters in the Senate, Democrats would withdraw unaninimous consent from all Congressional Proceedings. That means that we immediately go back to having the complete text of any and all legislation read into the record three times, all congressional actions from recessing for the day, to those minor Congressional statements congratulating Super Bowl champs and Punxsutawney Phil for another successful weather forecast, would require recorded votes on the record.

The MAD option would gring Congress to a standstill. More than 90% of the business of Congress is done by unanimous consent. The GOP could not govern if the Democrats withdrew it permission for unanimous consent decrees.
 
Unfortunately for MAD, there isn't really any "assured destruction" involved.
The Republicans have taken anti-government rhetoric very far and on paper they would see it as progress to have the machine jam. In practice this is bull of course; it would inconvenience them not to be able to pass more laws giving blessing to corruption. But the Administration can just soldier on, illegally, without congressional authorization if necessary--who is going to call them on it? The press?

Meanwhile, remember that despite their mandate in controlling Congress, and their long-proclaimed anti-government goals, when the Congressional Republicans refused to cooperate with Clinton in the mid-90s and refused a budget, they got very unpopular and backed off. Even if the R's made up their minds and turned into actual libertarian anarchists, the people of the USA expect the US government to function. Anyone blamed for impeding that is _out_.

I really hope that the Democrats _do_ bring the Republican's chickens home to roost somehow. Say by showing some spine in opposition and being rewarded with suddenly taking the majority in both houses in 2006 (this assumes that election fraud will somehow be minimized--or that the people will be so outraged that the level of fraud in place will not suffice to rig the outcomes enough). And then of course having a "mandate" to do anything without consulting any Republicans; I'm sure that would make them cry out at the injustice of it all.
 
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