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Filibuster Reform Not Going To Be Able To Overcome a Filibuster

When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dyin' day.Democrats fought hard in 2005 to prevent the Republican majority from using the “nuclear option” to overcome their filibusters, and a mysterious drug gang, the “Gang of 14,” or the “Jets,” as they are also known, came together to keep the weird parliamentary tactic in place. The GOP has responded, since leaving power, by filibustering just about anything and bear-baiting the Democrats into joining a rival Puerto Rican gang that hates the filibuster, which would make them get stabbed with charges of hypocrisy, and also an angry teenager’s knife. Like with just about any legislation, though, the Democrats can’t come up with enough votes on filibuster reform to overcome a filibuster. But there may be ANOTHER OPTION.

Sen. Jon Tester, a freshman Democrat from Montana, disagrees with some of his classmates from more liberal states.

“I think the bigger problem is getting people to work together,” he said. “It’s been 60 for a long, long time. I think we need to look to ourselves more than changing the rules.”

Yes, but that is pretty much impossible now because of polarizing ideologies. Sorry, bro. Simple political science.

Democrats don’t want to give themselves full powers as a majority because they are afraid that will be used against them once Republicans take power. But of course this is funny to Republicans because they will get rid of the filibuster when they take power again anyway. It’s just not tenable to have your agenda held hostage by a handful of people who are almost but not quite 100% your ideological opposites. And Republicans do not usually believe in fairness and listening to the other side and such because those things are weak and faggy, so who cares if the Jets’ feelings are hurt? Well, yes, that girl named Maria (David Broder), but whatever.

Democrats are worried about looking hypocritical now; but when Republicans want to get rid of the filibuster when they come back into power, they will just say that Democrats said they hated the filibuster when they were in power, and that they are presently being hypocritical by wanting to keep the filibuster. And Republicans get away with dumb explanations for their actions all the time, so no big deal here, especially since it’s not like voters are worried that God gave precious life to this little bundle of parliamentary tactic that is now VICIOUSLY BEING ABORTED.

But apparently there is a thing that is not the nuclear option that could be used for the duration of the next Congress to stop filibusters, if Biden puts it in place at the start of that session. It has not been used since World War II, but the battle between Democrats and Republicans is just as vicious as that war, so why not? [The Hill]

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Jack Stuef is your loyal editor and a freelance satirist or something like that. He is a contributing writer for The Onion. E-mail him or whatever.

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27 comments

  1. Extemporanus

    “But apparently there is a thing that is not the nuclear option that could be used for the duration of the next Congress to stop filibusters if Biden puts it in place at the start of that session.

    Look out, Republicans — Biden’s fixin’ to bring the car around!

  2. iburl

    If only science could create a human-animal hybrid with the values of a liberal and the confidence and gusto of a fascist.

  3. qwerty42

    Yeah, it is pretty much assumed the Republicans will kill all or most of the filibuster if they get the senate, so …

  4. FlownOver

    With the current crop of senators I think the nuclear option – the real one, not some doodlytwat metaphor – would be a fine thing. I’m hoping for convergence of a GOP fact-finding junket (or, as it’s better known, sex tourism) to the 38th Parallel just when Li’l Kim runs out of his meds.

  5. RoscoePColtraine

    But if I may be serious, for a moment, won’t Republicans face their own charges of hypocrisy when they do, in fact, get rid of the filibuster when they take back power, after having used it so often and so effectively when they were out of power? Won’t they look like fools?

    Oh yeah…nevermind.

  6. freakishlystrong

    The nuculur option would be a big fucking deal. The wingnuts would never, ever stop screeching about it.

  7. JMP

    The Democratic leadership has to worry about how they look here, because if there’s one thing your average voter cares about, it’s properly following arcane rules of parliamentary procedure, and what exact technical rules were used in order to either pass or block legislation that they care about.

    The Republicans must worry about looking like hypocrites here, since the media did such a great job of calling it out when they started whining about the Democrats’ deficit that in fact exists because of the tax cuts and wars that Bush and Republican-controlled Congress created.

  8. Come here a minute

    [re=627443]freakishlystrong[/re]: I’m pretty sure they’ll shut up quick when they return to the majority in the Senate (not for a long time, inshallah).

  9. Butterscotch Stalin

    So political science is just grade school math? Why didn’t I major in that??

  10. V572625694

    Isn’t democracy supposed to be a system where the minority rules?

    Really? It isn’t?

    Well okay, then isn’t the Senate supposed to be this august, Roman-style deliberative body that tempers the mob rule of the House (e.g., desire to have health care or not to have endless wars) by its stately processes and over-representation of empty shitholes like Wyoming except for the parks?

    So do we have to have a 61-vote majority, over-representation of Nebraska, and stately, august processes laced with enormous doses of self-regard among the members?

    Apparently we do.

  11. Ruhe

    [re=627438]RoscoePColtraine[/re]: [re=627450]JMP[/re]: So the take-away for those of us trying to piece together the Republican play book based on what we see them do is: Memory is for pussies/liberals. If it happened ten minutes ago it already doesn’t matter. What matters is what you say now, what you can get people to believe now.

  12. OCKerouac

    [re=627435]iburl[/re]: But Science HAS… At least I think that’s what I’m seeing in the ‘Get Ripped Quick’ ad…

  13. JMP

    [re=627469]V572625694[/re]: The Roman Senate was the home of a gang of egotistical aristocratic old men who used their power to try and prevent the poor of Rome from gaining any more power or money than they had. Cato the younger of the conservative Optimares party invented the filibuster and primarily used it to try and block the reforms sought by Julius Caesar.

    I’m not sure why I thought of that while discussing America’s Senate…

  14. glamourdammerung

    [re=627438]RoscoePColtraine[/re]: I would not bet on that “liberal media” pointing that scenario out either.

  15. Decker

    Tester, eat a bag of rat dicks flavored with mine tillings. It only takes 60 votes when Dems are in the majority, because Dems ALWAYS knuckle under to threats of the filibuster. If they would ever make those ancient white bastards on the other side of the aisle stand up and actually filibuster, the spoiled shits would empty out of the chamber quicker than Lindsay’s wallet at a Chippendale’s show.

  16. glamourdammerung

    [re=627427]ella[/re]: I want a Lieberman piñata.

    Actually, you do not as everyone keeps wondering why you have a piñata that appears to be in the shape of a piece of feces.

  17. bago

    “I would like to point out before this vote that Senator So&so is a hypocrite if he does not vote with me to block cloture on this vote, stopping it from proceeding with the vote of a single Senator, as he did with bill #blahblahblah.”

    If every senator said this bringing up an new filibustered piece of legislation each time they objected it would make for a powerful narrative.

  18. chascates

    Once the tea partiers get the 17th Amendment rescinded this will all be moot. The wise state legislatures will appoint Senators once again and people like Sharon Angle and Rand Paul won’t have to bother with campaigning as well.

  19. doloras

    [re=627435]iburl[/re]: It’s called “Hugo Chávez”. But as a good American liberal you know he’s a horrible monster, right?

  20. Enslave the Whales

    Pardon me in advance for YASFC, but y’all mostly appear to have functioning brains, so I’d like to point out a couple of things:

    1. Under the current Senate rules, there really is no such thing as the old-skool read-the-phone-book filibuster. The rule was changed some decades ago, so that a filibuster would not completely paralyze the Senate for weeks on end. It’s completely reasonable to feel that this has not worked out that well, but under the existing rules it is not actually possible for the democrats to force a bring-in-the-cots filibuster.

    2. The Senate parliamentary rules can be changed, at the start of a new Congress (odd-numbered years) by a simple majority vote, because the rules are not legislation, and cannot be filibustered. I think.

    3. Neither party has chosen to change the rules to abolish the filibuster because each party has generally realized that there is a finite chance it will be in the minority at some point in the future.

    4. Also, there is a sort of political-science-theoretical argument in favor of a filibuster-like substance. To wit:

    a. Direct democracy is scary. Certainly the Framers were scared of it. Pure
    majoritarianism (e.g., the French Revolution) often devolves quickly into suppression /
    extinction of minorities, and then you have to have another freaking revolution.

    b. Hence, the US is a republican democracy (or a democratic republic). Either way, the idea
    is that the elected representatives will be more thoughtful, than the population as a
    whole. For those direct democrats who disagree with this concept, I suggest a review of
    popular poll results over the last few decades. Our fellow citizens (and, sometimes, I)
    do not have a particularly impressive record as regards understanding shit.

    c. In any case, the Pounding Fathers inserted a number of features into the Constitution that
    were basically intended to mellow out majority rule. The veto. The Senate.
    Indirect election of Senators (since deceased). The Bill of Rights.

    d. The idea of the filibuster — as contrasted to its current abuse — was along the
    same lines of thought. The idea is that if a Senator feels that a proposed piece of
    legislation is a truly dangerous proposition, he/she can require that it be approved by a
    significant super-majority of the already-not-very-representative Senate. It’s actually
    not that bad of an idea. It’s the abuse that is the problem.

    5. Newish topic. Amidst the abuse of the filibuster is the abuse of the “hold”. The Senatorial “hold” initially arose because the fucking Senate has always been a rich gentleman’s club (no, not that kind). Back when I was a lad, and the Earth was still cooling, the “hold” was mostly restricted to judicial nominations, and it basically meant that nominees for Federal judgeships had to be approved by both the Senators of the relevant state. It was a gentleman’s club courtesy, that almost made a bit of sense — the local Senators would, possibly, have a better-based opinion on potential judges than would the Presidential appointment coordinator.
    Stress “almost” and “a bit”.

    Over the intervening eons, the “hold” has evolved to the point where any Senator can hold up any executive appointment for no announced reason at all. Aside from being a classic example of mission creep, this is objectively stupid. There are many hundreds of executive (non-judicial) positions that require Senate confirmation. The probability that any Senator has special knowledge that legitimately warrants killing any given nomination is very small, particularly because the operational scope of the vast majority of the nominees is not geographically restricted to particular states.

    So. Yet Another Snark-Free Comment has ballooned. Sorry. I do have a couple of suggestions for the Dems, assuming they retain the Senate (and if they don’t, I’m thinking Costa Rica).

    1. Put a limit on the number of filibusters. This would mean changing the rules to actually define a filibuster (as opposed to suggesting the absence of a quorum or a brain or however it works now). Every Senator may register up to one legislation filibuster and up to two total filibusters (including nomination holds) per two-year Congress. That is, the possibilities per Senator would be: zero legislative filibusters plus up to two holds; or one legislative filibuster and zero or one holds.

    2. Require holds to be subjected to a cloture vote within one week after a hold is first announced, and within two weeks after each failed cloture vote. Hold abuse is at an even worse level than filibuster abuse.

    Sorry again. I’ll just drink now.

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