I doubt this will go anywhere, but it’s worth a try:
Senate Democrats will make a dramatic effort to reform the rules of the chamber when the next Congress begins, one of the body’s primary filibuster-reform advocates said Wednesday morning.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who has championed a weakening of the procedural mechanism that allows the minority party to hold up legislation, predicted “fireworks” on Jan. 5, 2011 — the day on which the Senate can, he argued, revamp its rules by a simple majority vote.
“There could be some fireworks. There could be some fireworks on January fifth,” Harkin said at a pro-reform event sponsored by several like-minded organizations. “I’m going to be there. I’m armed. I’m armed with a lot of history, and I know the rules, and I know the procedures too, so we will see what happens on the fifth.”
Update. I see mistermix just posted on this. I think we started the same time but my internet went hinky halfway through and I had to come back to it.
Suck It Up!
i’ll believe it when i see it.
Yeah? Get back to us after the New Year and see if you guys still have enough spine and gut to go through with it. I’ll believe it when I see it.
I hope so… maybe we can remember, remember the… 5th of January? What rhymes with January (and works)?
I’m imagining “fireworks” more like handheld sparklers.
(a weary and exasperated expellation of breath, indicating the author’s belief that Kryptik and Suck It Up! are probably right in their prognostications, despite the depressing fatalism of it all)
The Grand Panjandrum
Isn’t this wonderful rule change going to be delivered to us along with our magical ponies? Yay, team!
Isn’t it pretty much a moot point now, with the GOP taking the majority in the House?
What’s the goal … to make it easier for the GOP to ally with a few Blue Dogs and press crappy legislation upwards to force Obama to sign or veto?
When the Democrats folded like a mine canary?
@JGabriel: hope not (yes I still hope), but nicely done.
ETA: We need to see it all at once..
Remember, remember the fifth of January
When the democrats folded like a mine canary.
c u n d gulag
Uhm, and why couldn’t you assholes do something about this in, say, January of 2009?
Democrats – about as useless as mammaries on a male bovine!
You’ll go blind.
@c u n d gulag: good question… they’re scared of everything even with a majority. $%@!
@Greenhouse Guy: Fifth of January
and the Dems all Moe, Curly, and Larry
Fifth of January
Fifth of January
Dems timid and wary
The one thing that makes me think that this may have a chance is that the Republicans have been so over the top insane in blocking things only a complete moron can not see that the change is needed (though having said that of course Dodd defended the Senate’s proceedures in his good by speach).
Quaker in a Basement
I think we started the same time but my internet went hinky halfway through and I had to come back to it.
The whelp of a beaten cur, sir! You wuz whupped!
Hey, there may be impressionable youngsters reading this blog!
Yeah! Let’s make this rules change after we’ve lost the ability to do anything with it. Maybe we’ll get a bi-partisan attaboy for handing teh republicans the tools they need to move their agenda forward when they regain power.
I’m pretty sure, that any basic reform that is accomplished will be from the result of the democratic vice president of the US, over ruling the parliamentarian with a fiat of unconsitutionality, by declaring such a rule change can be made by a simple majority, and not a 67 vote supermajority,
Fireworks, indeed. Like you ain’t seen yet.
...now I try to be amused
At the very least, end the virtual filibuster and make ’em stand up and read from the phone book on the Senate floor.
OT but inspired by the post: does anyone recall what Reid’s infamous “sternly-worded letter” was about? Google (and the Lexicon) have failed me. Sorry for the interruption.
When the Democrats become the minority party, these procedural rules changes might come back to bite them in the ass. I wonder if they really want to do this.
Why not? That is the stupidest reason not to do it. The filibuster protects the status quo, which is what the Republicans are all about. It hurts the Dem agenda significantly more then the Reps. And before you raise “they will get rid of Social Security” I welcome them trying since if they do that they will not even sniff the majority for another 20 years.
@Brachiator: It will bite them on Jan. 6 when all Republican senators plus Manchin, Nelson, Lieberman and a Dem to be designated later vote to abolish the SEC and FDA.
… Nonetheless, it is the right thing to do if we ever hope to get anywhere in this country.
@Brachiator: yes, because they used it so often from 2000 through 2006 when they were the minority party, in order to block everything that Bush wanted to do.
@…now I try to be amused: At least on some selected bills, Reid should have been doing exactly this.
For example, the Middle Class Tax Cut. WTF? That was a no brainer. Let the GOP stand on the floor for a few days telling everyone over and over how the middle class shouldn’t get any tax relief if the wealthy aren’t getting a lot more tax relief. It would be wonderful theater.
hooray, hooray, the fifth of January
outdoor fucking ends when you marry
@Brachiator: They’re not a–skeered of what might happen when they become the minority party, they’re skeered of what they’d have to do as the majority.
(Edited to correct the damned “they’re”, dammit)
…when it’s cold enough to freeze off a mammarary.
@Poopyman: nah, that’s easyily addressed with a larger contingent designated to play the roles of blue dogs.
I was thinking the same thing, but really, the R’s will change them if they get into power too, now that they have paved the way for each party to be completely obstructionist.
The Moar You Know
@…now I try to be amused: Another victim of “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”. This is not how filibusters have ever been conducted.
To address the inevitable objection: Strom Thurmond’s 24-hour speech was to delay implementation of a law that had already been voted on and passed.
Can we ever forget
The fifth of January
And that man who stood tall,
Senator Reid, first name Harry.
It would be nice if such reform measures were not transparently targeted at adjusting the numbers to account for recent election results.
It’s awful fricking fucking wicked cold outside tonight
It’s colder than a witch’s tit, it’s really quite a fright
It’s so cold my dick froze off, it’s really quite atrocious
Only the majority party wants filibuster rules weakened…and when the Democrats are in the minority again (and they will be), they’ll rue the day they tried it.
@Mogden: ??? No, it would have been nice if they had done it two years ago when it actually would have been immediately helpful (not that it’s not still appropriate).
Arbitrary dignitary, the fifth of January,
Silent filibuster is shot.
I cannot muster why silent filibuster
Should ever have been wrought.
Bingo, does anyone think that if the Dems are not 1/10th as obstructionist as the Reps they wouldn’t even bother to wait until a new session of Congress but would simply change the rules mid-session? They proposed doing that a few years ago for judicial nominees. I really do not understand how anyone at all on the left/dem is not 110% in favor of getting rid of the filibuster, unanimous consent, secret holds, etc, etc.
@JGabriel: “Mine canary” is a great rhyme for “January” but you need it in a different spot in the line.
mistermix drank your milkshake, sir. He drank it up.
@Greenhouse Guy: The lamest thing to do would be to simply rhyme it with another month. And so:
Watch out on the Fifth of January
We’ll grow some balls by February!
…and there was trouble at the lab with the running and the exploding and the crying when the monkeys stole the glasses off my head.
This is a bad idea. Repeal the filibuster when the House will block anything decent anyway? We are headed toward even bigger Senate losses in 2012 and may lose the majority. Remember health care will only be implemented in 2014 and on. Democrats need to be singing the filibusters praises at this point. The fact that they want to do this now is another sign of their incomptence. This is not good news.
...now I try to be amused
@The Moar You Know:
The Moar You Know, indeed. Thanks for the info.
Be that as it may, I’d like to see every Senator who takes advantage of its various anti-democratic rules stand up and face the slings and arrows.
On the 5th of January the Democrats will start negotiations with Joe Lieberman and Olympia Snow. In the end, the rules will be left as they are now and the Republicans will get concessions for each and every piece of legislation that passes in the Senate.
The real changes to the filibuster will take place in 2013, should the Republicans gain a Senate majority. That last is a strong possibility because the Dems will be defending 21 seats to the R’s 10.
If past is prelude, the Dems will fumble the rules change now, the Senate will become even more constipated and then the Dems will find themselves unable to mount a filibuster after 2013 – because they plan ahead.
America: Beware the Fifth of January
When votes in the Senate become cash-and-carry.
@Citizen_X: Agreed. :)
Yes, because this wasn’t already the case.
Heaven’s to Betsy! What would we do if people could corrupt our dear, sweet, infallible Senators?!
Our press plays a role in enabling this obstructionism and it is not a symmetrical role with respect to the parties. If the Dems try to engage in obstruction on anything like the scale of what the GOP has done for the last 2 years the howls of outrage will be so loud you will be able to hear them all the way out on the moons of Jupiter, and underneath the icepack on Europa.
@The Moar You Know:
This is tagline-worthy.
Look! A flying pig!
Lieberman, Landreiu, Nelson, Manchin. You need 2 of these votes for the new rules to pass.
These hucksters in the ‘middle’ get literally everything from holding the majority hostage. I don’t see these new rules transpiring, and the filibuster will literally break Congress. The Republicans are going to block everything and Obama is either going to pass a highly unpopular Republican agenda or watch as the government shuts down for months.
And Obama will get impeachment as a reward.
What is sad is that removing this control will end up hurting us in the long run. It would all be so unnecessary if we had 2 parties of grown-ups but we do not. We have the Old Republican Party and the Batshit Insane Party. The BIP has abused the rules to the point they have broken the government for no other reason than it benefits the BIP. The ORP will in response attempt to take this power away from the BIP. So the next time the BIP is in the majority there will be no governor on the throttle and the handcart will pick up speed at a stunning rate.
Since Bush got most of his federal court nominees seated, since Republicans are unafraid to wield budget reconciliation under transparently cynical pretenses, and since the 2006 Social Security privatization amendment didn’t even get a majority of votes in the Senate, what’s all this moaning about Dems regretting this once they’re back in the minority? If President Palin is elected, Democrats probably won’t have forty votes left anyway.
@General Stuck: The goopers will throw a bloody fit (but be secretly pleased since they’ve been wanting to blow it up for years), and David Broder will faint over the blatant display of partisanship. In any case, I’m sure We, the People are fucked either way, so I’m just not sure it matters.
You think the Senate parliamentarian would rule that 67 votes are needed to change the rules at the start of a new Congress? Really? You sound very confident.
Back in the day when it took days to travel to and from Washington, there might have been some wisdom in a rule allowing individual Senators to hold up action for a brief time while others returned to the Capitol for a vote. Those circumstances, if they ever existed, not longer exist today.
The Senate is undemocratic enough. By its geographic makeup, it gives undue influence to sparsely populated states. The Connecticut Compromise didn’t seem too out of wack in 1787 when there were only 13 states, and differences in population density between states were relatively small, but the situation is a whole lot different today.
Given the narcissism of most senators, regardless of party, I don’t think there is much chance of the filibuster being repealed in January 2011. It will need to wait until 2013 when the Republicans are back in full control, and finally see the value of majority rules.
I tried so hard to find a rhyme for “Fifth of January,”
I even went and searched the online rhyming dictionary.
And then I tried to find a rhyme for “January Fifth.”
And then I said “oh, the hell with it” and decided to start drinking.
Not sure what the fireworks analogy is about. The scheme either works, or it doesn’t, right? If it does, then good. If not, then bad.
What will the minority do? Take the chamber hostage and set up a confrontation with the Capitol Police?
Yell really loud? Get up on their desks and jump up and down?
VETOs exist for this reason.
So let me get this straight…
…The Democrats have been bitch-slapped, kicked in the balls and assraped for two long years, and now they suddenly get wise that it might be a good idea to procedurally reform the goddamn senate?
Why the hell didn’t the senate Democrats mount an all-out massive this-is-the-hill-we’re-going-to-die-on push to change the senate procedures on January 5 2009?
When all you obots scream “What could Obama have done differently?” THIS IS EXAMPLE NUMBER ONE!
Spoken like a true helpless feckless clueless Democrat.
The minority in the senate has blocked legislation and shut everything down for two long years. They can continue to do that now.
If the Democrats had any spine, they could shut down the goddamn government unless their legislation (like UI extensions without tax cuts for the rich) gets passed. Senate Democrats can hold all the Republicans’ legislation hostage.
Senate Democrats can walk out en masse. Without a quorum, the senate grinds to a halt. See how the Republicans like it when the senate has to be adjourned for six months due to lack of a quorum.
Of course, that would take some intestinal fortitude, and Democrats have none. Only the Republicans seem to boast that particular quality nowadays, and only in the service of the most vile agenda.
Remember, remember the fifth of January
We all know where you’ve been, you military fairy
Spoken like a true fuckhead who isn’t paying attention.
Either the rules change, or they don’t. Who, on our side, is in favor of keeping the current rules? These rules have turned the senate into a trainwreck. Eliminate the rules.
The current rules tilt too far in favor of minority protection. Tilt them the other way. The minority in the next senate is the Republicans. Fuck them.
The Republicans like the current rules because they know that history and demographics are going to keep them largely in the minority in the future in the senate. So they have agreed to rules that make the majority effecitvely powerless. Take those rules away.
Because they expected at least some of the Republicans (i.e. half a dozen or more – enough to make the filibuster a purely academic matter) to honor the mandate won by Obama and the Dems in the 2008 election and make a good faith effort to work with the Dem leadership in crafting legislation.
And yes, they are that stupid.
ETA: and the reason why they expected this is that this is precisely the courtesy which the Dems have always extended to the GOP in the past when the Republicans had 51+ but were short of 60 seats in the Senate. And again to repeat it for emphasis, yes, they are that stupid.
I’ll believe it when I see it. And why now? Why not two years ago when it would have made a big difference?
my best guess is so they can say in ads,
see we tried and they lied.
I used to argue against this sort of thing, but am mostly with you on my current sentiment. They shoot horses, don’t they? might as well get the revolution on now cause I ain’t getting any younger.
Not sure I want to witness Sarah Palin sign the bill killing The New Deal from a simple majority vote by her wingnut senate.
Thanks for spewing ignorant twaddle. I don’t even have to point out how foolish you are — you’re doing it for me.
There’s a third option. When the minority of Republican senators refuses to change the rules, the majority of Democratic senators walks out.
You want to get something done? Agree to our fucking rule change. Or this institution ends.
Eat it, bitches.
Evidently enough prima donnas like Joe fucking Lieberman to prevent changing the rules. So go to war with the arrogant fucks like Lieberman. Lock him out hard. Grind him into hamburger. Investigate the living shit out of him, unleash so many investigative committees that his life turns into legal hell. Pelosi could do that. Feed Lieberman and the other obstructionist Democratic fucks into a legal meatgrinder feet first and only shut the process down when they agree to vote in favor of procedural reform.
That’s how you do it. This isn’t a tea party, it’s goddamn street politics, which is two guys with stilettos tied together by the wrist with a one-foot rope.
Christ on a minibike, isn’t it obvious? Because the Democrats can smell a Palin presidency coming and they know Demos don’t have the balls to bloc-vote and filibuster the way the Repubs have been doing, so the Demos know the next two years is their goddamn last chance to get anything done. For that, they need to break the deadlock in the senate.
Unfortunately, this is classic case of “too little, too late.” These stupid Democratic fuckers are only now calling the fire department after their house has burned down and the furnace has exploded and they’re flying through the air along with the cat and the roof fragments and the burningdebris.