Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Pronounced Nuuuuuu-CU-LAR

Harry Reid finally did the right thing. And this is big fucking deal. Eliminating the filibuster for nominations is key because it's not some deal that solves the problem for this specific set. He's changed how the senate will govern, probably forever.

I've had several like minded friends express concern to me that if we eliminate the filibuster Republicans will be able to force through really awful stuff once they regain power. Let me quickly explain why this was the right move:

1) If the Republicans regain the Senate (and have a Republican president and house), they would have used the nuclear option on the first day of the session, for legislation, for supreme court nominees, for absolutely everything. Trust me on this. Only Democrats get ask questions about whether or not they should use power the power they have. And if the Republicans didn't, they actually have a base that will boot them out of office for fucking up.

2) The Republicans have been able to get 40 of their members to walk in lockstep on every major bill/nominee they've wanted to kill. There is a 0.0% chance the Democrats would do the same. The corporate dems, the gangs of gangs, the ones who don't have any reason to fear enraging their liberal base (spoiler: all of them). But what if they nominated a Supreme Court justice as horrible as Scalia or Alito? Exactly.

The Republicans would waited 5 minutes to make this change not 5 years, and even if they hadn't it's not like the Democrats would have put up a fight. And besides, it's making an undemocratic institution slightly more democratic, which is always a good thing.

This is major progress towards giving us a functional government. Not just because filling the courts with these nominees is important (it is), but because the senate is governed by made up undemocratic rules, and the sooner you start changing them, and the sooner staffers and DC journalists stop getting the vapors any time it's mentioned... you get steps closer and closer to the real thing, eliminating the filibuster (and the Senate entirely, but I'll take this for the moment). Proving things like this can be done is critical breaking down these imaginary barriers that have been used so long in institutions like the senate to shield corruption and disgusting lawmaking. It took far to long to get here, but I'm glad we've taken this step forward.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I think there's an undue hesitancy to amend the structure of our democracy, and that's left us with a structure that's not functional. Some great examples: a gutted voting rights act (because we never got an amendment), and an election system that selects the candidate who is the best fundraiser. So it's good to see a decision finally go through to make things work a bit better.