File under “I wouldn’t get my hopes up”; ThinkProgress’ Ian Millhiser reports that Senate majority leader Harry Reid is talking filibuster reform again, after the last stab at it turned out to be a completely inadequate joke. In an interview with a public radio station, Reid threatened once again to bring democracy to the US Senate.
“All within the sound of my voice, including my Democratic senators and the Republican senators who I serve with, should understand that we as a body have the power on any given day to change the rules with a simple majority, and I will do that if necessary,” Reid said on Nevada Public Radio.
…“I’m a very patient man. Last Congress and this Congress, we had the opportunity to make some big changes. We made changes, but the time will tell whether they’re big enough. I’m going to wait and build a case,” Reid said. “If the Republicans in the Senate don’t start approving some judges and don’t start helping get some of these nominations done, then we’re going to have to take more action.”
Yes, Harry Reid is a “very patient man.” In fact, on the issue of Republican obstructionism, Harry Reid has been far too patient.
Reid needs to stop threatening to revisit the filibuster unless he actually means it. Empty threats accomplish nothing. Indeed, they’re counterproductive. They make Dems look weak. They inflate expectations among Dem base voters — and supporters who worked hard to reelect Obama and Dems to Congress — that we may soon enjoy a functional Senate.
I understand the concern very well: if Democrats lose the Senate and there’s no filibuster, things could get ugly. Take it from a guy from a state where Democrats can only offer token resistance at the moment.
But that’s only a real worry if there’s a Republican president who won’t veto crazy GOP bills and who’ll nominate terrible candidates to courts, cabinet positions, and ambassadorships. And that doesn’t seem very likely for the foreseeable future. Demographically, the major qualification required to become president right now is that the candidate not be a Republican. So if dems own the White House, they own the veto. It takes a 2/3 majority to override a veto, so that’s virtually the same as overcoming a filibuster in the Senate, plus the additional hurdle of a 2/3 majority in the House; i.e., a “super-filibuster” of sorts.
In fact, the current political landscape makes this the perfect time to reform the filibuster. Personally, I’m torn on whether or not to do away with it altogether (leaning toward no, the minority party should never be completely powerless) . But there’s no reason just to leave it as it is. Washington is deeply, deeply broken and dysfunctional and the Senate filibuster has a lot to do with that. If there’s one thing I’m not torn about, it’s that the current version of the filibuster must die — preferably painfully and with a stake through its heart.
Harry Reid should stop with the threats and grab up a hammer and that stake.
[photo by Steve A Johnson]
Merely weeks after the Senate came together in a good-faith effort to fix the Senate’s problems, Senate Republicans are now engaging in the first-ever filibuster of a Secretary of Defense nominee. It is deeply disappointing that even when President Obama nominates a former conservative colleague of the GOP caucus, the minority is abusing the rules and the spirit of ‘advise and consent.’ If our step we took last month is to be successful, extraordinary stunts like today’s filibuster can’t happen.
Dishonestly spinning poll numbers, Reid goes spineless on assault weapons.
The Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate will not be a free-for-all of new gun regulations following the shooting at Sandy Hook, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Instead, Senators will focus on passing legislation that can move through the Republican-controlled House, Reid said.
That could spell doom for an assault weapons ban. Speaking on Nevada Week In Review, a news show on the PBS affiliate in Las Vegas, Reid said there’s no real chance of a new ban passing the House.
“Is it something that can pass the Senate? Maybe. Is it something that can pass the House? I doubt it,” he said in video of the program provided to TPM by Vegas PBS. “So I think there are things that we know we can do.”
The National Rifle Association has praised Reid in the past for his opposition to the assault weapons ban, as well as his support for other legislation favored by the gun lobby.
“We have to be fair. I was surprised with the poll results that came after this terrible situation that occurred at Sandy Hook. the numbers around the country — most people favor having the ability of people to carry guns,” he said. “So I think that the American people want us to be very cautious what we do. I think they want us to do things that are logical, smart, and make the country safer, not just be doing things that get a headline in a newspaper.”
The generic statement “carrying guns” and the specific statement “carrying assault weapons” are two very different things. Two recent polls showed that 55% support a ban on assault weapons, so Reid is cherrypicking his statistics to cover his failure to represent majority opinion. Support for the right to bear arms is not the same as supporting the right to bear weapons of war — and Reid knows it. This is an incredibly dishonest lie of omission.
It doesn’t matter that an assault weapons ban wouldn’t pass the House, since who voted for or against it would be information voters would use to decide whether someone was worthy of reelection. And, since majority opinion is not pro-assault weapon, Reid’s merely protecting blood lobby tools from having to face voters armed with that info. Any other explanation he gives is bullshit.
You know, we were right on the verge of putting the worthless, spineless Bush-era Harry Reid behind us. I guess that sort of fecklessness never really goes away.
Go f– yourself.
John Boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership than about keeping the nation on firm financial footing. It’s obvious, Mr. President, what’s going on around here. He’s waiting until Jan. 3 to get re-elected as speaker before he gets serious with negotiations because he has so many people over there that won’t follow what he wants. That’s obvious from the debacle that took place last week. And it was a debacle.