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The Filibuster Might Finally Be Ended...


Leon Troutsky
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What's wrong with politics in a nutshell:

Reid’s move is a reversal of his position in 2005, when he was minority leader and fought the GOP majority’s bid to change rules on a party-line vote. A bipartisan, rump caucus led by McCain defused that effort.

At the time, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was the No. 2 GOP leader and helped push the effort to eliminate filibusters on the George W. Bush White House’s judicial selections. Eight years later, McConnell, now the minority leader, has grown publicly furious over Reid’s threats to use the same maneuver.

The filibuster is a symptom. The real problem is these men lack honor.

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Dont worry, they will change their position on the filibuster in about twelve months.

Of course they will, and Republicans will flip from their cries of armageddon to supporting repealing the filibuster completely if they get the majority. That's what the parties and politicians do.

Meanwhile, it looks like we're finally taking some steps to reducing the dysfunction that has seeped into the system. The minority party doesn't get a veto over nominees.

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They have for nearly 230 years. The problems is not the system as much as the people manipulating it.

False. The filibuster as a commonly used tool to block ordinary nominees and legislation is a recent phenomenon.

filibuster-chart-61-12.jpg

It's only in the last 20 years or so that it's become an effective veto on anything the majority party wants to pass or any nominee.

Also, do you know why the Republicans are blocking the three DC circuit judges? Here's a hint - it has nothing to do with qualifications. That is also a level of obstructionism that is completely new and unprecedented.

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Do you believe opposing ones judicial philosophy is grounds for blocking or opposing a nomination?

Judge Bork was possibly the most fully qualified nominee ever to the Supreme Court, but was viciously opposed for other reasons. I'm sure you supported that opposition.

He was a 12 year old budding Republican back then. So probably not.

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Do you believe opposing ones judicial philosophy is grounds for blocking or opposing a nomination?

Judge Bork was possibly the most fully qualified nominee ever to the Supreme Court, but was viciously opposed for other reasons. I'm sure you supported that opposition.

First, opposing and filibustering are two separate things. I don't like that ideology has seeped into those decisions, but it has and it's not going away. It's not how I would make a decision on a judicial nominee, but it is a political reality now.

Filibustering means not even allowing them to get a vote. If an ideologically extreme candidate is nominated then the president and his party will pay a political price when the minority party brings public attention to the nomination. Remember that Bork got a vote on the floor and his nomination failed 42-58. That's much different than preventing nominees from getting a vote at all.

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False. The filibuster as a commonly used tool to block ordinary nominees and legislation is a recent phenomenon.

filibuster-chart-61-12.jpg

It's only in the last 20 years or so that it's become an effective veto on anything the majority party wants to pass or any nominee.

Also, do you know why the Republicans are blocking the three DC circuit judges? Here's a hint - it has nothing to do with qualifications. That is also a level of obstructionism that is completely new and unprecedented.

Yeah, I've seen that. It's ridiculous. But again, my opinion is that the dysfunction we're seeing is emblematic of the people we've put in power.

When discussing this topic, as well as the shutdown a few weeks back ... you sound like you believe the minority party should never voice opposition of any kind to their opponent.

Edited by DawgBone
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False. The filibuster as a commonly used tool to block ordinary nominees and legislation is a recent phenomenon.

filibuster-chart-61-12.jpg

It's only in the last 20 years or so that it's become an effective veto on anything the majority party wants to pass or any nominee.

Also, do you know why the Republicans are blocking the three DC circuit judges? Here's a hint - it has nothing to do with qualifications. That is also a level of obstructionism that is completely new and unprecedented.

uh I thought America was 200 years older than that...
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Yeah, I've seen that. It's ridiculous. But again, my opinion is that the dysfunction we're seeing is derived from the people we've put in power.

When discussing this topic, as well as the shutdown a few weeks back ... you sound like you believe the minority party should never voice opposition of any kind to their opponent.

Voicing opposition is fine. Having an effective veto against the majority party is not. We're talking about the latter, not the former.

Republicans lost the election. They do not get to set policy. They can voice opposition all they like, but what they should not be allowed to do is prevent the majority party from enacting the agenda on which they campaigned and won in the last election.

The dysfunction is a product of the people we send to office, and that is partly a product of the voters in districts and states being more homogenous. It's also the product of primary elections where the most extreme voters demand candidates who are ideologically pure. The purists are the ones pushing for the "oppose anything and everything" tactics. Those who dare to compromise face primaries from the more ideologically pure and more combative candidate (on both sides of the aisle).

So we've built into the system an electoral incentive for politicians to never compromise and to use every tactical means to block the majority from enacting the agenda on which it won the previous election.

Mann and Ornstein wrote a great book where they talk about how the Republican Party has become essentially a parliamentary minority - opposing in any way the policies of the majority. Parliamentary style tactics work in a parliamentary system because the minority has no power to block and delay policy. In a system of separation of powers like ours, that disconnect leads to the dysfunction that we're seeing. Right now, it's the Republicans acting in this capacity. But the real cause (as political studies have shown) has to do with decades of the majority party using closed and limited rules to keep the minority party from adding amendments or otherwise shaping policy. So the frustrated minority - whichever party - would react with procedural tactics.

If we're going to have parliamentary style parties then we have to remove the powers of the minority to veto legislation and nominations. If we're going to have a system of government that relies on cooperation between the majority and the minority party, then we have to get rid of the mechanisms that have fueled the polarized and hyper-purist people who hold office.

The current state is unsustainable.

uh I thought America was 200 years older than that...

Filibusters were virtually nonexistent prior to 1900. That's kind of the point I was making.

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. Shouldn't extremists be opposed vigorously? Especially when a person is nominated for a lifetime position with no recourse if confirmed by a tyrannical majority.

It looks to me as though your opinion is dependent on who's ox is being gored on this one.

If it were just isolated to extremists, you might have a point. But in this case, Republicans are opposing three nominees for reasons that have nothing to do with their ideology nor their qualifications. It's obstructing for the sake of obstructing. The abuses of the filibuster have pushed us to the point where the dysfunction caused by it outweighs any benefits it might once have provided.

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