Thursday, December 23, 2010

WaPo Hack Lays Down Covering Fire for Dem Filibuster Reform: Forgets to Mention Who Instigated Judicial Filibusters and Other Statist Innovations

Perhaps Journolist really is dead, but the coordination of talking points between the Democrat Party and legacy media was never more obvious than today. Word on Capitol Hill is that Democrats are committed to reforming the filibuster -- with the word reform used in the same sense as it was employed in the phrases "health care reform" and "financial reform".

All Democratic senators returning next year have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging him to consider action to change long-sacrosanct filibuster rules.

The letter, delivered this week, expresses general frustration with what Democrats consider unprecedented obstruction and asks Reid to take steps to end those abuses. While it does not urge a specific solution, Democrats said it demonstrates increased backing in the majority for a proposal, championed by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and others, to weaken the minority’s ability to tie the Senate calendar into parliamentary knots.

Among the chief revisions that Democrats say will likely be offered: Senators could not initiate a filibuster of a bill before it reaches the floor unless they first muster 40 votes for it, and they would have to remain on the floor to sustain it. That is a change from current rules, which require the majority leader to file a cloture motion to overcome an anonymous objection to a motion to proceed, and then wait 30 hours for a vote on it.

Leave it up to the The Washington Post's resident Leftist and full-time Democrat publicist -- Ezra Klein -- to lay down covering fire for this inanity.

[] tracked the number of cloture filings (when the majority begins the process of breaking a filibuster), cloture votes (when they vote to break the filibuster), and clotures (when the majority actually breaks the filibuster) in each Congress since 1919, when the Senate first gave itself the power to break a filibuster. Here's what it all looks like in graph form:

A few things about that graph. First, the rise in filibusters is just shocking. And this doesn't even count all of them. It only counts those filibusters that the majority actually tried to do something about. Plenty more filibusters get threatened, but cloture doesn't get filed because the issue isn't important enough or the votes aren't present.

Second, note how many filibusters get broken. It's not all, but it's a far cry from none (and it's more than you see in this graph, as filibusters that get withdrawn don't end through cloture). Some get broken by overwhelming majorities. But that doesn't mean the filibuster failed. A dedicated filibuster takes about a week to break even if you have the votes. That's a week of wasted time in the Senate. If your preference isn't merely to delay one vote but to threaten the majority with the prospect of getting less done overall, then launching a lot of fruitless filibusters makes perfect sense.

Say, Ezra, when every week seemed to herald the introduction of a 2,000-page bill that no one read, did you ever stop to consider that blocking this dreck might be a good thing?

Or, given the magnitude of the uprising by the American people in November against the Democrats' unrelenting Statist agenda, that it might be precisely what the citizenry demands?

Oh, and schmuck: perhaps you could also chart the number of pages of bills (and attendant regulations) passed by each session of the Senate. Consider the hundreds of thousands of pages of "transformational" legislation that not one person bothered to read. That, in the case of health care "reform", is being actively fought as unconstitutional by half the state Attorneys General in the country. That, in the case of financial "reform", omitted the cornerstones of the financial crisis: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Perhaps, dweeb, you could also mention which party created "innovations" like the judicial filibuster -- which Landmark Legal Foundation President Mark R. Levin believes is categorically unconstitutional. That delightful maneuver was first employed by Democrats bent on blocking conservative Hispanics from reaching the Supreme Court ("When Democrats derailed a GOP Latino nominee").

Or the Democrats' infamous filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, led by Al Gore Sr., former KKK Wizard Robert Byrd and Bill Clinton's inspiration J. William Fulbright.

Yes, the history of the filibuster is a proud one for the Democrat Party. Pity Klein forgot to describe the backdrop for his "shocking" graph. But that's to be expected for as rank a propagandist as can be found working in legacy media.

Hat tip: Memeorandum. Linked by: Michelle Malkin. Thanks!

1 comment:

MarkJ said...

Ezra Klein: Living proof that willful ignorance and historical amnesia are no longer barriers to a successful and lucrative career in punditry.

Is this a great country or what?