In my previous post, I talked about how Republicans broke an “unwritten rule” when it came to the filibuster. While I’m not alone in saying “It’s about time!” I’m also aware of the various reasons behind the Senate’s unwillingness to change the filibuster rules. This is not, by any means, a “new discussion,” in that filibuster reform has been talked about for quite some time, with serious pushes being made by Senator Merkley over the past two sessions. So why do it now?
Tag Archives: Democratic Party
The news sites and the political blogs are all running with the surprise that Senator Reid called a vote and got the “Nuclear option” passed for Senate conformation votes on judicial (except Supreme Court) and executive department appointees. What is the “nuclear option?” It’s simply a rules change, which turns the need for a 60 vote majority to break a filibuster into a simple majority vote.
The vote overturned an existing rule that required a 60-vote majority for the approval of presidential nominees. Now, just a simple majority will be required for executive branch and judicial nominees except for Supreme Court picks.
It’s not like this is a big surprise, Senator Reid said he would do it if Republicans failed to legislate in good faith in the Senate.
If you read or watch the news media, particularly the political press, you’ll see a lot of stories – even polling – about the 2016 Presidential race. You can’t visit any of them without seeing some story, column, or commentary handicapping the current contenders, and their prospects for getting through the primaries. It’s even a subject for many blog postings on various sites, as to why Candidate X has any chance, or who is the overwhelming favorite. If I were running a fantasy league for politics, I’m sure I’d be fascinated. In reality? I don’t care! Neither should anyone else who is politically aware and active.
What always manages to astonish me about various “politically aware” people is their failure to recognize that there’s an election every year in many parts of this country. They seem to believe that only the presidential election years matter, or if they’re stretching a bit, the even year House races. Yet it’s the “off year” elections that have more impact on people’s daily lives which are ignored. This year, many states are having their local elections. We’re going to be selecting mayors, and town and county officials, along with (in some states) judges. Various propositions will be on ballots, which will impact your local and state taxes as well as its direction. All the things which you tend to take for granted: Street lights on; road plowed; water and sewer systems work; police and fire departments are there; and what the schools are like will all be determined by who gets elected.
Over the past few years, I’ve read any number of political pundits, across the ideological spectrum. They can, and sometimes do, offer insights into the large-scale policy, and the nitpicking details of legislation or policy decision. It’s educational in that aspect, but what has struck me over that same time frame is how often they get caught out by actions or statements by politicians that “don’t make sense” to them or when it turns out that the public doesn’t have the same opinion the pundits thought they’d have. One has only to look at their incredulity that immigration reform is being blocked by members of the party that would most benefit from passing it, or that someone like Chris Christie, who appears to be a “prime candidate” is actually unlikely to win the nomination. The reason they get caught out so often is that they are working from a fundamental misunderstanding of politics, and in particular political parties.