happy2bhere, term limits on the Presidency were implemented by constitutional
amendment, a GOP initiative in response to FDR's four terms in office. That
is why the term limit on the presidency differs from term limits imposed solely
by an enactment by a state legislature. The GOP use of the
filibuster on non-judicial appointments made by the President is unprecedented,
and provoked the unprecedented response from Senator Reid. Mitch McConnell is
the least likeable and most obstreperous minority leader in the Senate's
history. He has been very clear about his obstructionist goal. I
do not think Harry Reid would have had any difficulty whatsoever dealing with
McConnell's predecessors: Bill Frist, Bob Dole or Howard Baker. As a Democrat who fully expects the Senate to become majority Republican in
2014, I would like to see the filibuster reformed so that it can slow down a
bill (for a year or two even) but could not ultimately kill it.
This whole episode is very much like the behavior of Orrin Hatch, who, having
been in the Senate since 1976, has gone through multiple administrations of both
parties.When Clinton was president, Hatch opposed almost every
judicial appointment, only dislodging the logjam when he got his friend
appointed as a federal judge in Utah. When Bush II was President and
the Senate was controlled by the Democrats, Hatch wailed and moaned and had
great gnashing of teeth, even bawling in fluent Bablylonian at the injustice of
Senate Dems scrutizing Bush appointees.Now that Obama is president,
Hatch reverts back to his Clinton era motif, complete with his own huffing and
puffing about how things are going to blow up if the rules are changed.Mitch McConnell is trying to submarine Obama any way he can, trying to redeem
himself because his #1 goal previously was to make Obama a one-term president.
McConnell poisons relations so badly that a third party often has to step in to
negotiate a modest compromise. Recently, Biden, now John McCain.All
so McConnell can position himself in his election for 2014.
happy2bhere,Term limits are one solution. Another would be voters who
don't just vote for whoever their party gives them. Or people going to
the caucus and convention to make sure the party changes people every now and
then.We probably won't have official term-limits any time soon,
till then we need to do it ourselves. It would also be nice if we could
prevent them from going straight back to Washington as paid lobbyists for the
same companies they were working with when they were legislators.The
problem with term limits is... it would have to be voted in State by State.
And if some states don't do it... the other States won't.It's like limiting pork-barrel spending. Everybody wants it... but they
want the other States to do it first. Which won't happen.Everybody wants other States to not just focus on bring home the pork spending
in their state. And other states to have term limits. But not them.
That's why nothing changes.
to Roland Kayser:Yes you are right. Article I, Section 5, of the U.S.
Constitution provides that "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules
of its proceedings."The Senate rules concerning debate were
originally developed shortly after ratification of the Constitution. Because of
the great consequence laws had on the populace, the Senate decided debate had to
be open and continuing until agreement on legislation. The rules of debate have
changed somewhat, but the principle of protecting minority party rights to
continue debate was established in those early days.The term
"filibuster" was used for the continuation of debate to delay a bill.Since the Constitution provides for the Senate to make it's own
rules by simple majority, changing the traditional filibuster/cloture rules is
up to the Senate. It would not be a breach of Constitutional authority.
So Democrats continue to reveal their method of government:"They
can come along for the ride but they'll have to sit at the back of the
bus" (Barack Obama).Then we see Harry Reid threaten to change
the rules of the Senate so that the minority will have no voice or power. These two Democratic leaders fail to represent everything that has been
great about American values. They seek only for power at the expense of our
2 bitsI think you hit on the solution to the problem, namely term
limits. However, for some stupid reason the Supreme Court ruled that term
limits were unconstitutional. That I can't understand as apparantly the 2
term limit for the President isn't unconstitutional. So, we get stuck with
career politicians who lose touch with reality in their D.C. bubble after so
many years there. I say, any politician (like Hatch for instance) who has lived
more time out of his own state than in it should no longer be considered a
citizen of said state and therefore not eligible to hold state office. How
about that? Every state should pass that law. We have to get around the
"no term limits" anyway we can.
"The Constitution provides that the President “shall nominate, and by
and with the Advise and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other
Public Ministers and Counsels, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all Other
Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise
provided for, and which shall be established by Law.Not that long
ago it was rare that nominees would linger on the list of pending confirmation
for days, weeks, and months. On Memorial Day 2002, during George W.
Bush’s administration, 13 nominations were pending on the executive
calendar. Eight years later, under Obama, the number was 108.But
the culture of today’s Senate provides no restraints on the exercise of
this potential power and no protection of the country’s interest in having
a newly-elected president move quickly and effectively to form a government. One
telling indicator of the arbitrary and self-indulgent use of holds on nominees
is when a successful cloture vote to overcome a longstanding hold is followed by
a near-unanimous vote for confirmation. This happens with increasing frequency
in the Senate. "(Thomas Mann)
There's been a lot of talk about Senate traditions, and how reforming the
filibuster just allows majorities to abuse the minority.Sorry,
folks. That ship sailed a long time ago. The Senate was once a
place where republicans and democrats debated proposals in good faith for the
good of the country. A filibuster was a way to keep debate going--think
"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." But now, just by threatening a
filibuster, the minority can stop anything it wants, no questions asked. And
this is increasingly routine--which is why the Senate can't get anything
done.Reforming the filibuster wouldn't mean discarding the
traditions of the Senate. Perhaps we could go back to requiring an actual
"talking filibuster", as it was before the 1970s. Or we could require
that fewer and fewer votes be needed to break the filibuster as time went on.
That could actually help make the senate into a place of intelligent debate,
rather than partisan obstruction.
to patriot vet: The constitution does not mention filibusters anywhere.
atl134,You can split hairs, but he was against it. And he'll be
against it again when Democrats are in the minority again someday.It
will happen. I guarantee it. America has a long history of switching the
party in the majority every few years. Some Democrats are getting cocky and
think they are going to be in control forever... so they don't need to
worry about it and can do whatever they want. But throughout history
that's precisely when America has decided to make a switch (when the
majority party gets cocky).It's happened to both parties. It
will continue to happen to both parties. As soon as they think they have
Washington in their pocket for good... they start making mistakes and America
switches. I don't see this ever ending (regardless of Media's
insistence that Democrats are the only remaining party and that Republicans will
soon cease to exist).Even if Republicans go away... they will just
be replaced by something else. That's the way it's always been, and
it will always be. There will never be one party in control forever in a
country like America. Moscow... maybe.
The Constitution provided rules that insure the Senate minority party has power.
After 224 years, this most wise blueprint for democracy continues to be the
World's greatest political achievement (and inspired by Diety, too).The filibuster has been adjusted over time, such as in this case where
it is used for confirmations of Executive branch appointees. But, even with
modern updates, the filibuster and the Constitutional format for the Senate are
@2bits"He objected to this concept when Democrats were in the Minority
and Bush was in the White House. "He objected to this concept
with regards to Republican consideration of using it for judicial appointments.
What he was threatening here was using it only for administration official
appointments, not judges or legislation.
Filibusters...Both sides...An editorial investigating
the record number of filibusters used by Republicans in the Senate would be
welcomed.A bar chart would be a great visual aid.The
whole exercise would give readers an idea of the Republican Filibuster records
the Democratic Senators will surely attempt to break when they are in the
atl134 you ask the question everybody asks (throughout time). How do we get
anything done when somebody keeps blocking us? The answer is... come up with
ideas that are a win for both sides. Find ideas so obviously
"good" that even the opposition wants them. I know you
don't believe the other party can ever accept that the other party could
have a good idea (I find myself doubting that frequently). But we have to have
faith in the people (not the politicians). We have to have faith that the
people will get mad if their politicians just keep playing games in Washington
and voice their displeasure (which sometimes gets politicians attention)... or
vote them out (which always get's politicians attention).The
problem today is the politicians, but it's also the people. We are afraid
to vote anybody out because we are so afraid somebody from the other party will
sneak in. That's why we are where we are today IMO.That's why I support getting rid of incumbents frequently (including
Hatch and Bennett). IMO congress was never intended to be a life-long career.
It's a privilege... not a right.
Politicians in the majority who want to pass laws that allow them to walk all
over the minority just need to realize that the same laws they pass now will
still be in effect when they are in the Minority again someday.They
tend to want these laws when they are in the Majority... but they whine like
babies when they are in the Minority and the same laws are used to trample over
them.What we need is more intellectual_honesty in Washington. That
means what's right is right regardless of the side you're on today.Harry Reid is the worst at this. He objected to this concept when
Democrats were in the Minority and Bush was in the White House. But now he
wants it. There are reasons our founding fathers wanted a
super-majority for some decisions. They wanted to encourage leaders to come up
with ideas that would get at least some approval from both sides. They wanted
them to have to try extra-hard to come up with legislation that both sides saw
as "good".Granted out-of-control partisanship makes this
extra hard (both parties)
No comment on the Republican's egregious abuse of the filibuster though?
What were democrats supposed to do in the face of record-breaking usage of GOP
filibusters (in some cases designed so that nobody, no matter how qualified,
could ever be appointed to a position like the chair of the CFPB or the ATF)?
Democracy was held hostage.But, hey- democracy is all we've got
to work with, this side of tyranny.