Friday, November 22, 2013


Well, perhaps off topic, but in the US approval of positions for science and science policy agencies often get tied up in the Senate so Eli is not exactly crying about Lucy getting kicked in the head yesterday.  Still, as many have pointed out that while the Republicans were filibustering an awful lot of people, there is some value to it, and sometimes (see Bork, Robert who, btw was not filibustered but rather defeated in a straight vote, or, perhaps more recently Miguel Estrada who was) there is a value to it.

So Eli has a modest proposal, which, as all of Eli's simple and modest proposals, will be ignored.  OTOH, what are blogs for.  Give the minority leader a small number of cards to play, say four or five per year.  When the minority leader decides it is important enough, why yes, that appointment does not come to a vote if there are forty supporters or more.  Since such things are more often tactical than strategic, if say within a month the situation is resolved, the card is returned

ADDITIONAL THUMB SUCKING:  Curious bunnies inquire why a few Republican Senators on the business side of the party did not break away, eliminating the log jam, as happened in 2005 with the business side of the Democratic Party joining with Republicans to make filibusters much harder to do for the Dems.  The answer is simple.  The business wing Senators WANTED Reid and the Democrats to eliminate the filibuster.  The radicals on the right WANT government to fail (what that means perhaps tonight).  The left wing of the Democratic Party (which actually is not so radical) and even the far out left do not.  That means that any Republican business wing Senators who break filibusters would be attacked and primaried from the right.  Eliminating that issue eliminates or limits the treat.  Every damn judge or third level bureaucrat approved does not become a club to be used against them.

Reid and the Dems did the business wing of the Republican Party a favor.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd once idly mused about the equivalent of football red flags for senators. I'm not sure how great that would be because the Pres could just nominate crazies until the red flags run out. But there needs to be some cost to the filibuster, otherwise, a minority can hold up a government forever. (or, alternatively, a swing Senator can milk the majority for every vote). Ideally, that cost would come at the voting booth... but our 2-party primary system makes that difficult*. At the minimum, the filibuster should have required an active vote of 40 members to create a filibuster, rather than requiring an active vote of 60 for cloture.


*(e.g., in a state 60/40 Rep/Dem, the Rep will always win. So, it is all about the primary... which means the State elects someone who is at the 30 percentile of the state population. Even worse, primaries are low-turnout, and there are independents who aren't in the primaries, so the election actually favors someone who kowtows to the 15 or 20 percentile of the population. Multi-member districts and preferential voting systems please!)

Brian said...

A variant of Eli's idea that I read somewhere is that business wing Rs wanted to keep the filibuster for occasional use and realized that meant they had take turns providing the 60th votes, but got so sick of the crazy wing Rs attacks that they gave up. IOW the crazy wing Rs forced the business wing Rs into a behaving like crazies even though they knew the end result would be bad for Rs.

MMM - California recently adopted a "top two" runoff system so in theory, a moderate R in a district skewed to Rs could still win. Political scientists are doubtful, but we'll see.

John Mashey said...

As per Nonpartisan blanket primary, his has some history elsewhere.

That notes
"The 2012 general election was the first non-special election in California to use the nonpartisan blanket primary system established by Proposition 14. As a result, eight congressional districts featured general elections with two candidates of the same party: the 15th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 43rd, and 44th with two Democrats, and the 8th and 31st with two Republicans."

Unlike Washington, we had not "Prefers Salmon Yoga" party preference.

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear: Reid did NOT invoke the "nuclear" option but more of a "hand grenade" option. All legislative votes and SCOTUS, Inc. nominees are still subject to the prior filibuster rules.

John Puma