“Opening minds and angravating liberals since 2001”
“I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.”
My Friends and Fellow Goldenrings:
BEFORE we get going, two things. Normally by now I have written something about this time of the year. And with all due respect to people who not share my beliefs, I beg your indulgence. Despite what, when, where, why or how, to most of us it is CHRISTmas. Yes, there are other real holidays such as Hanukkah and made up ones such as Kwanza and non-ones likes the Solstice. But it is CHRISTmas. And for me CHRISTmas it will be with a capital CHRIST so we all know the reason for the season. And keeping with my ever cheery disposition – stop laughing – I ask you to take a moment and send our friends at the ACLU a CHRISTmas Card! They are located: 125 Broad Street, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10004.)
A filibuster is not a cowboy who breaks horses nor is it a stallion brought in to service a mare. While it may share some of those characteristics, it is a parliamentary procedure employed to delay or defer a vote in our Senate.
According to Dingy Harry Reid the ELF, it is some kind of newfangled thing the racist Republicans invented because Biff is black.
In reality, which is nowhere near where that ELF lives, it goes back to Cato the Younger in Roman times and despite what Dingy thinks, it goes back to our earliest Congresses. (Also see Federalist #62.)
In reality, it was Reid who used and abused the filibuster to thwart the Republicans and later the Republicrats in getting their way.
In reality, it was the Ku Klux Klan Democrat Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd, who took the filibuster to a senatorial art form. Byrd was a racist and overall not a nice person. He filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was against the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
(Byrd was a Senator from 1959 until his untimely death in 2010. Some say he was a senator with Cato the Younger. That is false. He was a senator with his father.)
The Rules of the Senate are kinda like Chinese Algebra with a side order of the rules of a cricket test match, just in case anyone gets close to figgering them out. But, say what you will about Dingy Harry (and I often do and never is any of it good) he, like his predecessor Byrd, knows how to work the rules, stack the deck, deal from the bottom and get a bill passed while lying the entire time with a straight face.
The filibuster, like anything else, has nothing to do with what its supporters suggest and everything to do with that which is not being reported in the SRM.
Bear in mind, that until the 17th Amendment, a century ago, the Senators were picked by the states assemblies. The Senate was a check valve, if you will, between the popularly elected House and the several states that placed them.
With the 17th Amendment came popular election of the Senators who, in far too many cases, do not adequately reflect the opinions of the electorates as do the House and the states legislatures. This is largely due to the six-year term of a Senator versus the two-year term for a congressman and most state legislatures. So, we can have a Senator who does reflect the will of We the People but after a few years become inured and ingrained in the machine.
(A debate on the 17th Amendment has been previously broached and perhaps will be revisited at a later time.)
Anyway, we have all seen the slide chart, educational tutorial or have taken civics class so, we all know “How A Bill Becomes Law!”
It is NOTHING like that.
While the mechanism is much like described, as we see that smiling sheet of paper walking from one house to the other to be voted upon and how happy that bill is when he is approved by both houses, in reality it is more like “How A Sausage Is Made” but without the morals of the animal slaughterhouse.
There are various thresholds for votes. Some are a simple majorities and supermajorities required in others. Depending on the circumstance, a supermajority is typically a two-thirds majority.
Then there is the filibuster vote, or, more accurately a cloture vote.
Where a filibuster is designed to delay a vote, cloture is the vote taken to end a filibuster. Here the threshold is three-fifths or sixty votes.
The filibuster has some good aspects and some not so good. There are times where a party will wish to vote on a bill only to have a member of his own party start a filibuster against it. This allows the “I was for it before I voted against it” to be used in electioneering.
Usually it is used by one party (usually the minority party) to delay or dissolve a vote. Sometimes these stalling tactics work and the bill goes back for an overhaul, other times the Senate Majority Leader garners the votes needed for cloture then the vote, and at other times the bill dies on the floor.
Then there is the “Nuclear Option.” Yes, the Nuclear Option that Dingy the ELF hated so much, complained about vigorously, claimed it an affront to the Constitution and that it was prolly against the law.
You see, the Nuclear Option allows certain cloture votes to be carried with a simple majority on filibusters pertaining to nominations for Cabinet positions and inferior federal court judges.
Now that Biff is having a hard time getting his Marxist and Socialist activist nominations confirmed to many of the Federal Court, for some reason, Dingy the ELF thinks the Nuclear Option is an idea whose time has come!
Yup during Bush’s terms it was a threat to America, God, Apple Pie, the Girl Next Door and Chevrolets. But now that the most “conservative” of Biff’s choices for a black robe hold views that may have landed them in jail not that many years ago could not get past the Republicans then, chew gum, it is time to change the rules.
(You realize this allows for an “Appellate Justice William Ayres” or “Appellate Justice Bernadette Dorn” and the like.)
Of course, this is only a small thing, lies Dingy the ELF. Ya know, there are so many vacancies that the back log goes back….. in some cases less than 30 seconds in some jurisdictions. But just because there is no need for a justice there NOW, does not mean that these pillars of justice might not be needed in the future. And what a better way than to make sure your anti-American viewpoints live on long after one has left the big chair than to have fellow travelers appointed to the second highest courts….. FOR LIFE!!!!!
So, it is not small potatoes, Dingy.
And while Dingy is making is sob story case for ending filibusters for ONLY these few, small, hardly ever used, no big deal kind of appointments (and we all know, the smaller a deal they say it is, the more it directly impacts us) he swears it is only in this tiny little instance.
Hark back some years with the Lawrence v. Texas case. Recall that the lawyers arguing the case made it sound like it was no big deal, it was about privacy and we all want privacy, right? So, if two grown men want to grill steaks wearing a towel around their waists, who are we to judge! It is not like there would be parades and demonstrations and parties and naked people having gay sex in the streets if they prevailed!
And did your Precious say, that there WOULD be parades and demonstrations and parties and naked people having gay sex in the streets if they prevailed.
And in the following days when Lawrence prevailed, what happened? There were parades and demonstrations and parties and naked people having gay sex in the streets.
So, you will excuse me when I hear Little Dick Durban of Illinois say the VERY NEXT DAY that ALL cloture votes for ANYTHING can and should be a simple majority and moving on that ALL votes for ANYTHING ought to be decided likewise.
Raise tariffs on microprocessors: 50% vote.
Approve a treaty with Grand Fenwick: 50% vote.
Pass a Constitutional Amendment overturning the 22nd Amendment…
Do you see where this is going?
I assure you, that Biff & Co has some “skin in the game” but getting this cloture concession, if nothing else, it allows them to place all sorts of creatchures in all sorts of judgeships.
But, it gives them the advantage of having the ability to totally shred the Constitution and create the “Post American” world that the Fabians so desperately desire.
So, for the few of you who wrote to me asking why the filibuster/cloture vote was such a big deal, I trust this answers your question. And knowing this bunch, would you be surprised?