A Not-Very-Flattering Defense Of Lieberman
January 21, 2011
It's not surprising that David Brooks would devote a column to praising Joe Lieberman as a paragon of principled moderation. What's surprising is the evidence he summons to make this case: After Barack Obama won the election, the hammer came down. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, told Lieberman that some Democrats wanted to strip him of his chairmanship of the homeland security committee. Lieberman, an independent, said if that happened then he might not be able to vote with the Democratic caucus.
Republicans Learn To Hate The Filibuster
January 19, 2011
Brad notes, hilariously, that Republicans have been running the House for a week and they're already flip-flopping on the merits of the filibuster: Earlier this morning, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor kept insisting to reporters, "The Senate ought not to be a place where legislation goes into a dead end." (He said some variation of this three times.) Cantor's frustrated because the House is all set to repeal health care reform, and Harry Reid has said he's not even going to bother bringing the bill up for consideration in the still-barely-Democratic Senate.
‘Right of Revolution’
January 11, 2011
In the wake of the Tucson massacre, the left is attributing the violence at least partially to a “climate of hate” encouraged by anti-government extremists on the right—the phrasing used by Paul Krugman in his latest column—a reaction made easier by conservatives’ frequent use of violent and intimidating rhetoric since 2008. Conservatives have responded by alleging the politicization of a random act of violence by a lunatic, and sought to place themselves in the ranks of victims of the event.
Will Senate Reform Happen?
December 23, 2010
One little-known fact about the filibuster is that it no longer requires the minority to hold the floor and make long speeches. It actually requires the supermajority to assemble and hold the floor to break it. Here's some good news.
‘Senator Junior DeMint’
December 23, 2010
With all the hullabaloo surrounding Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell and Joe Miller during the midterms, it was easy to lose track of some equally conservative, but less flamboyant, candidates. And it seems safe to say that no Tea Partier had more success while garnering less national attention than Mike Lee. While running for Senate, the 39-year-old Utah Republican proposed dismantling the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The GOP's Secret Senate Plan
December 17, 2010
One of the oddities of the debate over repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell is that Republican moderates seem far more interested in procedure than substance. They favor repeal, but they oddly seem to care more that the Senate hew to Mitch McConnell's run-out-the-clock timetable than they care about the outcome of the issue: Here's what Sen.
How Harry Reid Ruined Christmas Break
December 16, 2010
Harry Reid gets it: We are in session, if necessary, up to January 5th. That is the clock our Republican colleagues need to run out. It's a long clock. He can only pass things (barring a successful bluff to go nuclear, which is highly unlikely at this point) if he has 60 votes (and more for START), and he can only pass as many things as he can pack in to the space available.
Obama's—and Reid's—Judicial Nominations Fiasco
December 13, 2010
Jamelle Bouie has been following judicial confirmations, and he has an excellent post up today criticizing the possible deal Harry Reid has been negotiating with the Republicans over the remaining judges. With good reason: the deal reportedly would allow confirmation of some—but not all—of the nominees who sailed through the Judiciary Committee with no opposition at all, while leaving the rest of them to rot, along with other nominees who had bipartisan (but not unanimous) support, not to mention the handful of actually controversial nominees. Bouie notes: Of course, if there's anyone to bla
DADT Repeal Fails, Senate Hits A New Low
December 09, 2010
At this point, it's hard to overstate just how dysfunctional and inane the U.S. Senate is. Earlier today, Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal was shot down by a 57-40 vote. In other words, 57 senators were in favor of repeal, 40 were opposed—and the thing still failed. Okay, fine, plenty of critics have decried the fact that the filibuster gets overused and you need 60 votes to pass even the smallest piece of legislation in the Senate. Set that aside.
Never Let Go, Harry
December 09, 2010
Democrats in the 111th Congress still have an unfinished agenda. Republicans, quite sensibly, are using the clock as a weapon; at this point of the session, even a filibuster that doesn’t have the votes to block cloture can still be enough to derail something. What weapons does the majority have to fight stalling? Well, there’s one big one that Harry Reid should be at least threatening, and if necessary invoking: he can add more hours for the Senate to work its will. He has already scheduled a Saturday session last week, and he has already said that, like last year, he’ll go up to Christmas.