Friday, February 06, 2009

Show Time for the Elephants

Well, well, routed and impotent Republicans, it looks like Prez Barack will squeeze out a half to three-quarters stimulus measure. As the nation clings to, what is that word, hope?, the national GOP is trying to Limbaugh us into oblivion.

Obama apparently gets it now. Republicans in Congress and in the national party will have to walk the streets wearing their signs of shame. With the duplicitous help of too many Democrats while the GOP owned all three branches of government, they have ruined our economy, subverted our Bill of Rights, and plunged the world into a financial abyss.

Now is the time for the new President to be the adult. He has to play both cards as needed.

First, there's the nuclear option to cut off debate and stop a minority of obstreperous Senators from screwing the nation. Second, there's allowing filibusters to show who's willing to destroy the United States.

If Obama uses these two as needed, the games will stop.

Nuclear background. Even Wikipedia has brought clarity to the often mentioned en passant nuclear option. Its great recap of this arcane procedural ploy includes:
The Nuclear Option is used in response to a filibuster or other dilatory tactic. A senator makes a point of order calling for an immediate vote on the measure before the body, outlining what circumstances allow for this. The presiding officer of the Senate, usually the vice president of the United States or the president pro tempore, makes a parliamentary ruling upholding the senator's point of order. The Constitution is cited at this point, since otherwise the presiding officer is bound by precedent. A supporter of the filibuster may challenge the ruling by asking, "Is the decision of the Chair to stand as the judgment of the Senate?" This is referred to as "appealing from the Chair." An opponent of the filibuster will then move to table the appeal. As tabling is non-debatable, a vote is held immediately. A simple majority decides the issue. If the appeal is successfully tabled, then the presiding officer's ruling that the filibuster is unconstitutional is thereby upheld. Thus a simple majority is able to cut off debate, and the Senate moves to a vote on the substantive issue under consideration. The effect of the nuclear option is not limited to the single question under consideration, as it would be in a cloture vote. Rather, the nuclear option effects a change in the operational rules of the Senate, so that the filibuster or dilatory tactic would thereafter be barred by the new precedent.
The straight forced filibuster is both slower and nastier. The cinematically educated immediately think of the 1939 Frank Capra classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. In it, the Jimmy Stewart character filibusters to collapse for the most moral and noble of causes. In the case of the current Senate, Republican filibuster would be reveal the basest and most ignoble of ruses. They would be displaying power under regressive Senate Rule 22, regardless of the harm to the country and world.

If Obama and the Democratic Senators made them show their colors once or twice, everyone would see their effete and destructive state. Many of those Senators would quickly crumble, knowing what it would do to their ability to hold office afterward.

If the Dems used the nuclear option, they could pass the necessary laws to start moving us out of the chaos we find ourselves in now. It would be faster, but the Republicans would have the option of spinning the results as some sort of perversion of process and democracy.

If they filibuster and have to backtrack and vote for the necessary shortly after, they will be crushed.

What is that the recent failed chief executive used to crow — bring it on!

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