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In today's New York Times, Michael Shear and Peter Baker highlight Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's vote against the gun background check bill as an example of President Obama's inability to "twist arms":
Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, asked President Obama’s administration for a little favor last month. Send your new interior secretary this spring to discuss a long-simmering dispute over construction of a road through a wildlife refuge, Mr. Begich asked in a letter. The administration said yes.

Senator Mark Begich appears unlikely to be punished by the White House for refusing to support background checks. Four weeks later, Mr. Begich, who faces re-election next year, ignored Mr. Obama’s pleas on a landmark bill intended to reduce gun violence and instead voted against a measure to expand background checks. Mr. Obama denounced the defeat of gun control steps on Wednesday as “a shameful day.”

But Mr. Begich’s defiance and that of other Democrats who voted against Mr. Obama appear to have come with little cost. Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, is still planning a trip to Alaska — to let Mr. Begich show his constituents that he is pushing the government to approve the road.

More below.

The story goes on to note that administration officials pushed back vigorously against this narrative, offering two lines of defense. First, that President Obama has been and remains very "engaged" in presidential arm-twisting:

The White House on Monday defended the president’s efforts on the gun legislation, saying he had made a vigorous effort to lobby wavering senators. “He made numerous phone calls and had numerous meetings,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary. “And his entire team here engaged in this process completely and thoroughly.”
The second line of defense is that even though the president is twisting arms, there are limits on how much effect said twisting can have in the aggregate:
“President Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, and this is not the 1960s,” said Representative Mike Thompson, a California Democrat and chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Mr. Johnson had large Democratic majorities in Congress during much of his presidency. “It’s a different time and different people, and everyone has their own way of doing things. This president can be every bit as convincing as any president before him.”
The article misses the mark, however, by not pointing out the facts that constitute the 800 pound gorilla in the room. 1. President Obama won the argument as even the article itself admits. The public overwhelmingly supported the president's position on gun regulation. Furthermore, the president's very public use of the bully pulpit moved the polls in his direction. 2. The background check bill received a majority vote in the Senate. It won 54 votes, including 50 Democratic votes. Even if every Republican voted against it, joined with a few Democrats, it still would have passed with Vice President Biden's tie-breaking vote.

The gorilla? THE FILIBUSTER. The article makes no mention of the fact that had serious filibuster reform been enacted, those senators opposed to the law would have had to fight it out on the Senate floor with a real talk-till-you-drop filibuster. With over 90 percent approval for expanded background checks, such a filibuster would have extremely damaging to anyone attempting it. It clearly would have been unsustainable. That is the real story here.

The article highlights Begich as an example to try and paint President Obama as someone who cannot maintain party discipline. But this is the wrong example of that. The vast majority of Democrats have voted with the president strikingly consistently since his term began. If anything, Democrats are more disciplined now than they have ever been. But on an issue like gun control, the Democratic Party has the room and the ability to allow a few Democrats in red states to vote against the party line for greater goals. I personally don't have a problem with Begich's vote. If President Obama is to blame for this defeat, it is only in one or possibly two areas: 1. He didn't push hard and strong for filibuster reform ... that would have been the time to crack down on Dems. 2. The 30 or 40 day delay in pushing for legislative action in the wake of Newtown, allowing the NRA time to organize a successful counter-offensive.

But there is an argument for the president failing to sufficiently punish congressman who go against him, but it isn't his lack of toughness on Democrats. It is his unwillingness to punish Republicans. If the president should be instilling fear, it should be in GOP congressmen and senators. Kelly Ayotte voted against the president's bill in New Hampshire, which President Obama carried twice. It would be a shame if something important to her, a constituent service, a defense or construction contract, etc., accidentally ended up in the shredder. Bureaucratic snafu. Or perhaps one of her biggest industry supporters found itself the target of a carefully crafted but extremely costly regulation. Or perhaps the U.S. attorney could suddenly find his attention turned toward her campaign and contributors or other fodder for bad press back home. Instead, the president and his staff have spent much of his term coddling Republicans and seeking their cooperation with little to no success. They're all carrot and no stick when it comes to the GOP.

The president certainly isn't using all the black ops tools in his arsenal, but the New York Times misidentifies who those targets ought to be: Republicans, not Democrats.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Prez Obama has many flaws (20+ / 0-)

    but an unwillingness to twist arms ain't one of them. (He's often twisted arms to secure votes for bad things, like the reappointment of Benanke). But he's not going to twist arms when there's no point.

    •  There is a point. (9+ / 0-)

      No Democratic Senator should ever vote to filibuster a bill supported by 90% of the public, the president and enough votes to pass. The bill had enough votes to pass. The Dems who voted to sustain the filibuster need to have every perk of office bestowed by the party yanked immediately. Cut their staff, cut their travel, cut their mailings. The point needs to be that Democrats stand up for the 90% of the public who just had a middle finger shoved in its face and lead by showing that there is a price to be paid!

      •  As you might surmise from my handle, (8+ / 0-)

        I lost faith with the so-called "leadership" of the Democratic party in 2006 (which includes President Obama) when they not only failed to wholeheartedly support the Democratic Senate candidate in Connecticut but also kept Joe Lieberman as the chairman of the Homeland Security and Govermental Affairs Committee.

        And, of course, Harry Reid's continuing assertions that "this time, I really mean that I'll do filibuster reform."

        We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

        by NoMoJoe on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:24:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Change CLoture from 60 to 54. (0+ / 0-)

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:39:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have no problem with (10+ / 0-)

    the Administration legitimately using its regulatory authority as a means of aiding the general welfare of a State, the citizens and the environment in order to arm twist.

    What I do have a problem with is the LBJ/J.Edgar Hoover tactics of threatening folks with leaking scandals, or shite-canning legislation or regulations which would actually provide a benefit for a specific state or district.

    Begich may be punished in a different manner -- but depriving him of scrutiny by the Interior Sec. re: sensitive wetlands is not one of them.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:32:26 AM PDT

    •  I agree with your main point; (5+ / 0-)

      I agree that it is unhealthy for a theoretical democracy to "bargain" or horse trade on policy without regard for what is best policy.

      I didn't get the sense that the wetland protection isn't getting scrutiny. From the article, it sounded far more like he wanted a more visible opportunity to push home his desire to build the road over an undecided interior. The road WILL get scrutiny (or he wouldn't be fighting) it is just "showier" to have the Sec. of Interior there for him to debate/enlighten.

      Because it is far more a matter of appearance rather than policy, this seems to me to be the perfect action on which to base a threat.

      None of this changes the fact that Repubs have taken the fillibuster to lengths no party ever did prior to this latest generation over the last 10 years or so. It is another example of the right's willingness to stymie the interests of vast majorities in favor of their rich campaign contributors.

      Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

      by 4CasandChlo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:45:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, SilentBrook

      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

      by Onomastic on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:49:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why do you have a problem with that? (9+ / 0-)
      What I do have a problem with is the LBJ/J.Edgar Hoover tactics of threatening folks with leaking scandals, or shite-canning legislation or regulations which would actually provide a benefit for a specific state or district.
      Politics aint beanbag. Republicans certainly understand this and will do whatever it takes.
      •  I think there are two responses (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, SilentBrook

        first, as the party that actually cares about government, hypothetical projects in New Hampshire are important to the administration, too.  Not as important as gun legislation, perhaps, but important enough not to hold them hostage.  

        Second, nothing the White House can possibly do scares these republicans as much as getting primaried by teabaggers.  So, if Obama did something like hold up a contract, not only might that not change behavior, but it would give the likes of Ayotte an issue to run on, changing the conversation from guns to how bad the White House is for taking away goods and services.  Now, everybody's worse off.

        Leaking dirt, I'm fine with.

        I'm not quite sure what arm twisting would be done about the Senate -- the Senators already have the information that the filibuster is a thing, and in some respects they benefit from it.  Each one of them knows that if they hold out on filibuster reform in the short run, they'll get more back from the White House or K-street in the long run when his or her vote is gettable.  The flip side is when the votes are going to fail anyway, free vote -- the problem with the article is indeed that Begich's vote didn't matter).  And the 30 day thing was good because it at least gave the appearance of thinking about the legislation and an opportunity to work out something.  The NRA still hasn't won the public opinion battle, and I'm not sure TARP style is the way to go (3 days, pass a bill giving Holder the power to write firearms law as he sees fit -- not the best government).

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:09:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        I often wonder if the GOP doesn't have something on Reid. Reid deliberately killed filibuster reform, he had no intention of changing the rules and if we keep the senate, once again he will scuttle the deal, unless and until we get a new majority leader.

        Also, ever wonder why we keep electing majority leaders from purple states? Dems are the only ones where a majority leader has to fight for his seat every 6 years.

        •  No, Reid has accepted donations from.... (0+ / 0-)

          the PTB. SO not reforming the filibuster or changing the Cloture vote from 60 to 55 or 54, would be against their interests.

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:43:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      srkp23, 3goldens, elwior, Roger Fox

      If it's the difference between, say, Keith Ellison's Robin Hood Tax with broad sweeping effects on the Class and Climate Wars, then I'd say pull out the long knives. If that's what stands between us and getting beyond the increments and nothing we are getting, then for god's sake escalate the War already.

      Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

      by Words In Action on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:59:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can ANY president arm twist anymore? (7+ / 0-)

    If a US attorney suddenly started investigating Ayotte's campaign after she didnt vote for background checks, as you suggest, that news would probably become public quickly. If the Obama adminstration blocked funding for some project in a Republican legislator's district/state who didnt vote for background checks, I imagine that would become public quickly too.

    And I doubt the media's reaction would be to cheer the president for arm twisting. They would likely be appalled at such tactics, and perhaps for good reason. Imagine Bush did something similar to a Democratic legislator.

    That's another flaw with the arm twisting criticism. 40+ years ago, before the internet, social media and 24/7 cable news, it seems like LBJ could do what he needed to do to get a bill passed in private without any negative press.

    •  President Bush did so with ease. (26+ / 0-)

      Even when he was at 28% approval, he routinely pushed his agenda through Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

      Of course the president can twist arms. He's the president. The office is more powerful now than it has ever been.

      •  remember his taking kucinich (16+ / 0-)

        on an airplane flight, to secure his vote on obamacare? just wish he'd worked other legislators, earlier in the process.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:41:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What did Bush pass at 28%? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG

        TARP?

        I'm sure there was some legislation that was popular with Dems that passed.

        •  TARP, the Surge, Protect America Act, (16+ / 0-)

          Paulson's Fannie and Freddie bailout, repeat supplementals for Iraq, not to mention sustaining vetoes of SCHIP, Stem Cell research, and reforms of the intelligence services.

          Everything his administration took a stand on, it got. Anything they were against didn't happen.

          •  The only big thing on the agenda they (10+ / 0-)

            didn't get was Social Security partial privatization.

            On "Bankruptcy Reform" they got about half of what they wanted.

            I love you stupid fucking fucks. Now stop poking at the dead cat on the table and get back to the issues.

            by JesseCW on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:48:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's about the only legislative defeat (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, Just Bob, YucatanMan

              in his administration that I can recall.

              •  Immigration. n/t (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elwior, JesseCW, Juliann

                Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                by Loge on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:10:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Because a million kids walked out of school (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Loge

                  and scared the living shit out of both parties.

                  Not because of any real resistance inside the House or Senate.  There were a ton of Democrats ready to make that proposal "Bi-Partisany".

                  I'd call it a mixed bag on that one.  He wanted immigration "reform", but the status quo ante was still better from his PoV than progressive legislation.

                  He didn't manage to screw it up worse, but he sure managed to derail all efforts to improve it and poison the conversation around immigration reform for 4-5 years.

                  I love you stupid fucking fucks. Now stop poking at the dead cat on the table and get back to the issues.

                  by JesseCW on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:25:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There was significant opposition (0+ / 0-)

                    to his proposal from the right, which I maintain was the start of the tea party (the right wing grass-roots, nativist anger is real; the coopting by organized superpacs and the like is fake).  

                    Bush's version would have emphasized the guest worker aspects a bit more, and the path to citizenship a bit less, so I'm sure Obama's / Gang of 8 will be better legislation, but Bush did put his shoulder into doing something about immigration, and failed.  Bush and Rove never understood that they couldn't win wedge elections and try to build a consensus republican majority through profilgate but pro-corporate domestic legislation at the same time.

                    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                    by Loge on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:14:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  They got immigration reform (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tony Situ, FG, SilentBrook

            and Social Security Privatization?

            Sustaining a veto isnt the same as getting a bill passed. And on issues related to war, Congress tends to give presidents what they want. Which is why there was little substantive opposition to the Afghan war surge or Libya action during the Obama admin.

          •  not this tripe again (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jj32, Lying eyes, scott5js, FG, SilentBrook

            W didn't get privatization of social security nor immigration reform, his two major 2nd term imitates.  And that was when he was way higher than 28%.

            W's major first term initiative that wasn't related to terrorism/war was "no child left behind", which was pushed in the Senate by Ted Kennedy and ended up passing with 90 or so yes votes.  It passed in the house by big margins too.  No arm twisting was required.

            Oh, and he sustained vetoes?  So?  That didn't require arm twisting.  Obama has sustained his vetoes too.

            TARP was the only thing you mention that was passed while W had 28% approval ratings, but not because of arm twisting, but because enough members of congress thought that it had to be done.  The other items you mentioned were passed when W was higher than 28%, they had bipartisan support, and the Democrats didn't have a policy of filibustering everything as a matter of course.

            •  I agree. If anything, Bush's tenure is (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SilentBrook

              a great example of how much approval ratings matter.

              Post 9/11, Bush's approval were WELL above 50%, and he largely got what he wanted. NCLB, Patriot Act, Medicare Part D, and the Iraq war resolution.

              In his second term, his approval ratings fell quickly below 50%, and he didnt really get much. Social Security Privatization went nowhere and immigration reform failed. And this despite the fact his party had their strongest congressional majorities in the first half of his second term.

          •  Right if they really wanted CLoture of 55 votes (0+ / 0-)

            They would have made it happen.

            SO bills that reek of neo liberal econ, tax policy etc, have to be offered to get 60 cloture votes in the Senate.

            If Cloture was 55 or 54, then way more common sense stuff would be law now, when you only need to arm twist one vote. Like Real job creation.

            .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:59:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I recall early attempts at arm twisting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jj32, SilentBrook

        by the current president that backfired because word of it immediately leaked to politico and the press ran with "abuse of power" stories.  Arm twisting is much more difficult than it once was, and LBJ style arm twisting would totally fail.

        •  Sue me. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, 3goldens

          Impeach me. Whatever.

          Sometimes you have to abuse your power to get what you want. Sucks, but that's the way it is when you're dealing with a party of psychopaths.

          •  But the point is it doesnt work (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tony Situ, SilentBrook

            Cutting funding to a senato's favorite project or have them investigated and it gets out to the press. GOP senator will vote no, and then talk about how they stood up to the administration's dirty tactics.

            Again, 40 years ago, it might have been different. I mean, the biggest difference is LBJ had a Dem Congress. But also, in a different media enviroment, perhaps you could twist arms and the news wouldnt get out and embarrass the WH.

            •  Word got out back then too. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jim P, 3goldens, elwior

              Voters expect it. They really don't care about process and almost always expect dirty pool from politicians. Besides, the media, being what they are, will focus on the story itself not how they got wind of it.

              The Bush Administration was one of the dirtiest since Nixon. No political cost. There was little to no repercussions for the GOP on Valerie Plame, Jack Abramoff, Alberto Gonzales or Tom Delay. They expect these things. Look at what they did to Bill Jefferson. Ruined him. On purpose. This stuff is inside baseball if you do it right.

            •  It doesnt work when Cloture is 60 votes (0+ / 0-)

              and you have 52-53-54 on many whip counts.

              LBJ needed a Cloture vote of 66, and had 68 Dem Senators.

              Its far easier to arm twist one Senator than 5 or 6 or 7.

              So change Cloture to 55 votes, then the arm twisting means something.

              .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 02:12:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  No, CLoture was 66 votes until 1975 (0+ / 0-)

          88th Congress had 68 Dem Senators.

          SO LBJ faced more situations where he needed one Senator to arm twist for a vote. He would tell 4 Senators I have one favor to hand out, the first one to vote with me gets the favor.

          In the background check bill we had 54 votes but needed 60 votes for Cloture. That requires arm twisting of 6 Senators. Very much harder.

          Theres no Reason we cant change Cloture to 55 votes (rule 22).

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 02:09:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You mean bush with the conservative media complex (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, SilentBrook

        Applying pressure??! the media calling any dem who opposed him a traitor and a wimp? Dems will not obstruct for obstructions' sake and since both parties rely on money from the corporate overlords, there is less chance of Dems taking a principled stand en masse.

        Tax cuts? They did it via reconciliation

        Iraq war? After 9/11 no Dems could be seen opposing the war, most of them didn't have the guts to do so.

    •  Cloture vote (rule 22) (0+ / 0-)

      In the 60's it was 66, in 1975 it was changed to 60, there is no reason it can't be changed to 55 or 54.

      On this bill we had 54 votes, if cloture was 55, then the arm twisting would have meant something. All Reid or Obama had to do was to find one vote.

      SO Senator Begich, I'm going to send over the Int Sec, like you wanted, and then you 2 will discuss a Fed grant for 250k we can arrange for your state.

      And Senator, We're making the same offer to 3 other Senators, so make up your mind quick before one of them takes us up on the offer.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:51:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  or (5+ / 0-)

    both!

    but he does deserve credit for engaging in this political fight, and for taking it seriously.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:39:00 AM PDT

    •  Agreed; and he is measured by a new standard: (7+ / 0-)

      No other President, ever, has had to be measured by legislation passed over the new 60 vote hurdle to pass anything.

      As I said above, the Republicans have gleefully and self-rightously abused a procedure that has never been used this way in the past, it is now the new standard for passing any legislation.

      I imagine that Obama's ability to shape policy by fighting for his vision would look vastly different in every prior generation.

      Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

      by 4CasandChlo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:52:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sssh! (9+ / 0-)

    Blame ... earmark reform?

    “Bribery isn’t what it once was,” said an official with one of the major gun-control groups. “The government has no money. Once upon a time you would throw somebody a post office or a research facility in times like this. Frankly, there’s not a lot of leverage.”
  •  Not LBJ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, 3goldens

    I was going to say something about the filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights act here, but I am so angry with the article and this administration's refusal to go after Republicans in states that Obama won handily that this is about all I can write here with any coherence.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Columbine, Tuscon, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston (h/t Charles Pierce)

    by Dave in Northridge on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:03:48 AM PDT

  •  The article also ignores game theory (10+ / 0-)

    Once it was clear the bill wasn't going to pass (because of Republican opposition), there was little value for vulnerable red-state Dem senators like Begich to vote for it. And even if Obama had convinced him to do so, it wouldn't have saved the amendment.

  •  The filibuster? Blame Harry Reid (11+ / 0-)

    and the rest of the Senate Dem leadership for that.

    Republicans too, but that's always merited.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:17:18 AM PDT

  •  The Green Lantern Theory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, dzog, elwior

    Greg Sargent agrees that the arm-twisting thing isn't the problem:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:19:16 AM PDT

  •  Very good analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy, elwior

    I had just read the NYT story before coming to Kos this morning, so am glad for this extra bit of analysis that really helps flesh out the overall situation.

  •  And the media is now taking teh crazy as granted (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, elwior, SilentBrook, Irixsh

    That the Times doesn't even bother to talk about the Orcs and their unprecedented, unconstitutional strategy of forcing a 60 vote majority on everything is appalling in the extreme.  They're giving the filibuster abuse a sense of normalcy by focusing more on what Obama did or did not do re: arm twisting, instead of placing the blame squarely on the Orcs.  

    But hey, I guess they assume that there's no story in orcs being orcs.

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:33:42 AM PDT

    •  Well, Dems put up with it. (6+ / 0-)

      They didn't have to put up. They chose to. They still do.

      •  I actually am a little sympathetic to the Dems (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scott5js, SilentBrook

        The filibuster was mighty useful in the past and so I can see why they wouldn't want to kill it.  I think of a govt dvd I show to my classes where Chris Dodd (yeah, I know) talks about how the Senate is where the rights of the political minority are protected, whereas the House is where the will of the majority is respected.  

        I agree that Something Must Be Done to stop the abuse, but see why there is some reluctance.

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:46:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's nothing unConstitutional about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scott5js

      the Filibuster.

      The Senate is free to make its own rules.  These are the rules a Democratic majority made.

      I love you stupid fucking fucks. Now stop poking at the dead cat on the table and get back to the issues.

      by JesseCW on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:50:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, it is, if any group would sue (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, DeminNewJ

        Yes, the Senate can make its own rules, but Art. I Sect. 7 of the Constitution clearly states what the process is supposed to be:

        2. Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the president of the United States; if he approve, he shall sign it, but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration, two thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that house, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the president within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
        Hamilton in Federalist 22:
        If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater, … Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good. And yet, in such a system, it is even happy when such compromises can take place: for upon some occasions things will not admit of accommodation; and then the measures of government must be injuriously suspended, or fatally defeated. It is often, by the impracticability of obtaining the concurrence of the necessary number of votes, kept in a state of inaction. Its situation must always savor of weakness, sometimes border upon anarchy.
        Madison in Federalist 58:
        It has been said that more than a majority ought to have been required for a quorum; and in particular cases, if not in all, more than a majority of a quorum for a decision. That some advantages might have resulted from such a precaution, cannot be denied. It might have been an additional shield to some particular interests, and another obstacle generally to hasty and partial measures. But these considerations are outweighed by the inconveniences in the opposite scale. In all cases where justice or the general good might require new laws to be passed, or active measures to be pursued, the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed. It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority. Were the defensive privilege limited to particular cases, an interested minority might take advantage of it to screen themselves from equitable sacrifices to the general weal, or, in particular emergencies, to extort unreasonable indulgences.

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:02:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the Federalist Papers still aren't law, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox

          just the opinions of one of several factions of men who hammered out an agreement.

          The Constitution does not lay out the process for getting a bill to the floor for a vote.  They left that up to each legislative session to determine for themselves.

          Filibusters are no more unConstitutional than the committee process.

          That's not say that I support them, or think that they are just, or even believe that should exist (although any Senator should be able to place a single 5 day hold on pending legislation to prevent dead-of-night bullshit and allow real debate).

          But not all unjust shit is unConstitutional.  See, for instance, forcing Citizens to buy products from for-profit corporations.

          I love you stupid fucking fucks. Now stop poking at the dead cat on the table and get back to the issues.

          by JesseCW on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 12:21:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  WTF was that all about? OMFG ! ! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            Art 1 Section 7 has ZERO to do with ended debate in the Senate.

            Freakin rule 22 is quite clear.

            .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 02:58:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Respectfully, you are quite wrong (0+ / 0-)

              and maybe should take a refresher on the matter.  

              The Framers in Art. 1 Sect. 7 clearly indicate they did NOT intend a supermajority, and it's all over the Fed. papers, which are written by the guys who actually played the most important roles in getting us the Constitution.  SCOTUS has used them repeatedly and often through the years to show the Framers' intent.  To discount them as Jesse has is absurd.

              As for you, Roger, Rule 22 is NOT the Constitution.  Sorry, but it is a freakin' RULE. Art. 1 Sect 7 lays out HOW the process is supposed to work.  If you don't get this, then we can't talk.  

              To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

              by dizzydean on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 04:15:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  See here: Common Cause has a lawsuit (0+ / 0-)

            challenging it:

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

            And yes, they cite the Federalist Papers....

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 04:25:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And the Fedalists Papers are still only one side (0+ / 0-)

              of a law, and still aren't law.

              The Constitution leaves it up to the Senate to decide the process for getting a bill to the floor for a vote.

              Bills die in committee all the time because 7 Senators vote against them.  

              Bills die all the time because 1 Senator won't put them on the calendar.

              I love you stupid fucking fucks. Now stop poking at the dead cat on the table and get back to the issues.

              by JesseCW on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 11:04:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  That citation: process between branches (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          I read it and suggest you do the same. You could have done the same before posting that rubbish. Serious lack of due diligence on your part.

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 02:56:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dude, you really don't know what you are talking (0+ / 0-)

            about here.  If you can't understand what they are saying, then go back and read the Fed Papers in detail.  Both of the one's I cited deal with procedure (Fed 22 highlighting the problems with the Art of Confed and 53 about procedure in Congress).  

            Perhaps (a) you could learn a few manners before calling what someone says "rubbish" and (b) learn a bit more about the Constitution before shooting from the hip.

             

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 04:19:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Leave the Federalist Papers out of it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          Those old papers are abused by both sides, I apply the KISS theorem here. I fear the supermajority too, & I dont need to Federalist Papers to arrive at the opinion.

          Repeal Burrs removal of the previous question rule? Or make cloture a smaller number? Harry Reid has had all the opportunity in the world to make these changes.

          What will the SCOTUS rule? These right wingers are so unpredictable. Will they see Art 1 Section 7 as germane? That the supermajority is only specified in a few instances, and none of those are the filibuster...... And after all Art 1 Section 5 says make your own damn rules.

          IF SCOTUS strikes down the filibuster, that probably ends the Reign of Tyranny by the minority. And a whole lot of powerful people dont want to see that happen.

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:30:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We know why the broken Filibuster (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Jim P, 3goldens, YucatanMan, Timothy J

    hasn't been fixed.

    It's not Obama.

    It's not actually Republicans - they didn't have the votes to stop us three months ago.

    So why do Democratic Senators keep putting Reid back in a position he's clearly not equipped for?

    I love you stupid fucking fucks. Now stop poking at the dead cat on the table and get back to the issues.

    by JesseCW on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:45:01 AM PDT

    •  That's easy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, elwior
      So why do Democratic Senators keep putting Reid back in a position he's clearly not equipped for?
      Because Reid isn't equipped for the position.

      Why would they vote for someone that would hold them accountable?   Reid leading is in their self-interest.

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:16:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because that's his job. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, elwior

      "with rights come responsibilities." Wrong. Responsibilities continue to exist even if you abdicate your rights.

      by happymisanthropy on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:33:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To advance the Neo Lib proposals (0+ / 0-)

      A cloture vote of 60 means the so called Dem leadership has to make the legislation more palatable to the GOP to garner some votes.

      They keep control of the Legislative agenda.

      A cloture vote of 60 means arm twisting isnt very effective when your whip count is 52 and you need to twist 8 arms.

      Lowering cloture to 55 means only having to arm twist one vote, and much easier task. A cloture vote of 60 means gridlock is broken.

      SO who benefits from gridlock? The top .1% and corporations.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:04:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just for reference (4+ / 0-)

    due to national obesity issues the proverbial 800 pound gorilla now weighs 900 pounds.

  •  Want to know when President Obama (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, elwior, YucatanMan, Timothy J

    lost any leverage and showed his achilles heel.

    When he decided the right thing to do for someone who literally campaigned for his was invite him into his parties caucus.

    It was at that point, that everyone knew there would be no repercussions for going against the President's agenda.

    You can like it or hate it, but that was the point.

    And I also don't think the filibuster is the issue per se.  It is a symptom.  The issue is Dems don't want to take tough votes. So they come up with as many excuses as possible. The filibuster is one of them.  And the President enables it.

    That's my opinion, but who knows.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:14:55 AM PDT

  •  Hmm (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scott5js, elwior, Irixsh, SilentBrook
    Or perhaps the US Attorney could suddenly find his attention turned toward her campaign and contributors or other fodder for bad press back home.
    Using the justice system as a political tool is wrong and a bad idea. Period.
    •  It's a bit of dark humor in a substantive.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, elwior, YucatanMan

      post about the President.
      The Democrat who has stopped discussing long term unemployment while a generation of kids futures slip away.

      But there's a bit of snark for me to get poutraged, and that's FUN!

    •  The Obama administration should've.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, elwior, YucatanMan

      prosecuted some of that Bush-era lawlessness.
      Did you complain about that?

      •  Well, which is it then? (0+ / 0-)

        Just good fun, or something that should be prosecuted? Can't be both.

        •  you miss the point! (0+ / 0-)

          He's demonstrating the vast chasm between the two parties, and their willingness to play political hardball against the other party. The GOP will rip our throats out, even going so far as the US/Atty scandal* to secure power).

          The Democrats don't play hardball against the GOP. They treat the very idea of ordinary, lawful political pressure as untoward, too aggressive, and punitive----when it's against the GOP.

          Let a liberal or progressive try to exercise sway or stand in the way of their agenda, however, and this administration drops their aversion to aggression and rips their fucking faces off.

          You missed all that context, and, instead, take false umbrage at bbb for pointing out the fact Obama is perfectly comfortable using political pressure, if it's against another DEM, particularly liberals who stand in his way.

          Not the GOP, though, he takes them to dinner.
          While he's eating our lunch.

          *US/Attorney Scandal refresher available upon request.

  •  Obama's negotiation tactics (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, elwior, YucatanMan, Timothy J

    suck shit. Period.

    Everyone knows he can be rolled.

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:20:38 AM PDT

    •  Obama is not a negotiator... (4+ / 0-)

      who can be judged by how effective he is at getting what he wants. Obama came into office, in his mind, as some post-partisan superhero. His focus was on the deal, never on the contents. He lacked conviction to any policy specific (such as the public option, among many). Obama's negotiations were not based on specific content need to achieve a result, but a willingness to accept whatever content would garner the necessary number of votes.

      It is not his negotiating that sucks, it is his lack of commitment to any policy specifics or principles that sucks.

      •  He is not an idealist. He is a process person. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, Timothy J

        And so, just working through the process is all that matters to him.

        He called for a vote on Gun Control / Background Checks (actually, he only called for a vote on the general topic).

        Then he went to the media and did interviews saying how hard it was going to be. A difficult slog. Might not be able to get it this time, but it was worth having a vote.

        Then he went back to watching hapless Dems in a Senate full of undersized loud-mouthed Rep bullies being beaten back by their own refusal to enact rules allowing the body to work.

        Then the vote failed.  

        With 90% of the American public behind stronger background checks, a position even the NRA once supported, the president told the media he might not win, then lost.

        Here's the deal:  If you go into a battle thinking you're not going to win, You are Not going to win.

        The president undercut himself and didn't engage.

        Look, I don't like Maureen Dowd at all, but even a tool can nail it now and then.

        No Bully in the Pulpit

        Tom Coburn, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, is one of the few people on the Hill that the president actually considers a friend. Obama wrote a paean to Coburn in the new Time 100 issue, which came out just as Coburn sabotaged his own initial effort to help the bill.

        Obama should have pressed his buddy: “Hey, Tom, just this once, why don’t you do more than just talk about making an agreement with the Democrats? You’re not running again. Do something big.”

        Couldn’t the president have given his Rose Garden speech about the “shameful” actions in Washington before the vote rather than after?

        That's not the only specific example she gives. She lists many ways in which some influence could have been exerted but was not.

        90% of the American people behind something the President supports and he cannot get it through the Congress?  That's a failing president. There's no way around it.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:34:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nope, its cloture, its 60 votes (0+ / 0-)

      When you have a whip count of 52, how do you get  8 more votes, thats very tuff.

      Changing cloture to 55 means in the background check bill we would have needed just one more vote, a far easier hill to climb than 8 votes.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:07:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So You Want Obama To Break The Law To Punish (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Irixsh, SilentBrook

    Congress people? Or abuse his Office and act unethically at the very least?

    It would be a shame if something important to her, a constituent service, a defense or construction contract, etc., accidentally ended up in the shredder. Bureaucratic snafu. Or perhaps one of her biggest industry supporters found itself the target of a carefully crafted but extremely costly regulation. Or perhaps the U.S. attorney could suddenly find his attention turned toward her campaign and contributors or other fodder for bad press back home.
    None of this is legal. It's misusing his office for political retaliation and I for one am damn glad he's NOT participating in this sort of bullshit.

    Maybe he meant it when he said he was going to change the tone in Washington? Maybe that means he's not willing to debase the office with this sort of unethical, political retaliation.

    I mean seriously, you expect him to use the AG as a political weapon against his enemies?

    You want a Bush for President again, apparently.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

    by Beetwasher on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 09:47:53 AM PDT

    •  I sure would like someone who could play the game (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      or rather "would play the game". Executive orders in an "austerity emergency (tm)" would not be illegal. But the argument could be made that those sort of actions would be the Obama we (by which I mean progressives, say the Grivalja wing(?)) want, not the Obama we have. He wants to "organize", not lead. But if he did want to lead there's conflicting evidence on his true ideology (if any). He seems very much a creature of group think to his core and the current elected Federal official group think runs the gamut from Wall to Street on the left side of the equation. On the right side it runs from Norquist to cloud coo coo southern strategy and back. That's his Overton window, and Obama does not move Overton windows after (the debacle of) 2009 / 2010.

      > Maybe that means he's not willing to debase the office with this sort of unethical, political retaliation.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      My 6 year old knows better
      If you don't want to get muddy don't play football in the rain. Read Caro on LBJ.

      “I and the public know
      What all schoolchildren learn,
      Those to whom evil is done
      Do evil in return.”

      If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

      by jgnyc on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:52:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unethical Behavior Is Not (0+ / 0-)

        And it bothered me when Bush did it and it would bother me if Obama did it.

        You must admire Bush a great deal for the way he punished his political rivals by gaming the Justice Department to play politics.

        Don Siegelman prosecution is just A OK! in your book, huh? Just playin' the game...

        Lovely.

        This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

        by Beetwasher on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:18:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you don't play with the big boys purity troll (0+ / 0-)

          lovely. Read about LBJ.
          I must admire Bush? You're a troll. Troll on.

          If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

          by jgnyc on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:38:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Big Boy" Doesn't Mean Lawbreaker, Jeenyus (0+ / 0-)

            Using the DOJ to do your dirty work isn't "playing with the big boys", it's breaking the law.

            But you "big boys" apparently don't care about those things.

            You don't want a President, you want a thug, and that's you're perogative, but stop pretending it's anything other than thuggish, illegal behavior that you're advocating for. You may be stupid enough to actually believe that, but I'm not.

            This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

            by Beetwasher on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 02:08:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Look at the 88th Congress 1964-1965 (0+ / 0-)

            68 Dem Senators, CLoture was 66. Sometimes LBJ needed only 1 or 2 votes. In Todays Senate we often need 5-6-7-8 votes for cloture.

            Today Cloture is 60 votes..... see the difference.

            But yet if Reid and Obama wanted to change cloture they could. But they havent.

            .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:11:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I meant LBJ hard nosed Senator but you're right (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roger Fox

              on the filibuster count. Maybe Obama doesn't want the filibuster reformed because they don't have the House. Maybe he is too conflict adverse. Reid's not. He has his reasons. Are they hard nosed political reasons? Calculated don't mind if the Senate doesn't work? Don't know. But Obama, as the OP pointed out, doesn't weld the power of the office with any brutality. And, as I've pointed out, we (progressives) should be careful what we wish for as Obama is as much a creature of Wall St as Clinton.

              If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

              by jgnyc on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 04:18:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  You forgot to mention Republican control of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Irixsh

    the House which is kinda important. In current political environment filibuster on bills (as opposed to nominations) doesn't really matter much.

  •  Some here attribute Obama's style to Hawaii? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Irixsh, SilentBrook

    Consensus, mutual self interest, and tolerance rule most of the time here.  Sure, there are problems, but ethnic divisions and silly contentious shit born out of ignorance not so much.

    Obama was raised here and when you live on an island, you all have to work together.  The problem is folks fail to realize that the earth is an island that we all have to support and cooperate among the human monkey tribes is essential to survival.

    •  Cooperation works with other people who (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Keone Michaels, Timothy J

      cooperate.  If you live on the Lord of the Flies Island (Washington DC), then you have to change your tactics just to survive, let alone thrive.

      I agree that all the traits you mentioned are positive and we'd all be better off if folks got along that way.  But Washington doesn't work that way.

      I think there's a big thing with Obama thinking: "This is the right thing to do, so everyone will (should) just do it."  

      But they won't. People often do the wrong thing, intentionally or otherwise. Republicans have no intention of doing the right thing. None.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:37:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Leaving out needing a cloture vote of 60 (0+ / 0-)

      Pretty oh ...shiny..... Hawaii.... Owwww. its so shiny.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:16:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama's not LBJ or Harry Hopkins, that's for sure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    Obama's an organizer. He has yet to punish any member with any of his political power. I guess the case can be made he hasn't had any since the stimulus and 4-yards-no-first-down HCR 3 and punt of 2009 / 2010. But either way there's no bully in the pulpit right now.

    Where's the speech in front of John Boehner's personal even-the-Pentagon-doesn't-want-it tank factory? I give Obama credit for protecting what he can of Head Start as hurting poor "urban" kids is a religious obligation to this crowd of remember-1861 Republicans, but he, AFAIK, hasn't ever behind the scenes made any structural threats or punishments.

    Politically so far Obama is a, maybe the, classic case of coming to a knife fight with boxing gloves and very good speeches. However ... don't underestimate the power of group think. The centrist Democrats in the Federal Government want their own sacred cows protected - my two NY State Senators will throw their bodies over the top to protect all issues ranging from Wall to Street. Powerful politicians generally play prevent. Obama got reelected, which was slightly less amazing then Obama getting elected, so he knows how to play that part of the game. But his ideology is "organize" - in which he plays an inside game to get "things done". I personally would prefer it if he goes/went all Huey Long as he can't run again but be careful what I wish for. He's not out there arguing about austerity. It'll be a long time testing the winds before he mentions the economic paper fiascos or Krugman in a press conference or speech.

    Shift the rest of DC and Obama would follow for his last two years. Retake the House, hold the Senate and then (maybe) Reid will go after the filibuster for real. Maybe.

    The harsh reality is the holding actions in culture war retreat of the right wing (read racist) Republican party electoral strategy are still very strong. They're losing on gay rights but it's not going to cost them seats.
    D Brooks (failed ideologue now floundering rhetorically) continuously points out that gun nuts vote on any attempt to send the UN after their arsenal whereas the rest of the electorate votes generally the way they did last election or on a "they're all the same basis". Until this is proven brutally wrong at the ballot box all Senators have this in mind. This isn't about guns. A well regulated militia is needed to keep the number of cars blasting hip hop out of their suburbs - and keep down slave rebellions. The Southern Strategy has taken some blows but lives. The House will be dominated by generic pro-business from both parties in a coalition with racists "states rights libertarians" unless a national leader emerges to enunciate that austerity has no clothes. Obama is not that leader, he's an organizer.

    Chained CPI is the issue and, so far, no progressive Senator (remember there are two Houses) has drawn a line there. A vast portion of the Republican base could be chipped off right there. But maybe Wall St has laid down their marker inside the beltway. And that's where Obama organizes.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:43:34 AM PDT

  •  Our Democrats suck so (0+ / 0-)

    effing much.

    Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, asked President Obama’s administration for a little favor last month. Send your new interior secretary this spring to discuss a long-simmering dispute over construction of a road through a wildlife refuge, Mr. Begich asked in a letter. The administration said yes.
    Senator Mark Begich appears unlikely to be punished by the White House for refusing to support background checks.
    Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, is still planning a trip to Alaska — to let Mr. Begich show his constituents that he is pushing the government to approve the road.
    I know that wasn't the point of this diary, but that's my takeaway.

    It is more important to be a confident and articulate speaker than to know jack shit about anything.

    by VictorLaszlo on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:49:20 AM PDT

  •  So now Obama is supposed to grind government to (0+ / 0-)

    a halt when he doesn't win a vote. The media is the problem, if this is what they are talking about. So an unrelated road in Alaska should be collateral damage to a debate surrounding guns?

  •  Cloture could require 54 votes, instead of 60. (0+ / 0-)

    The entire purpose of rule 22 is to prevent gridlock and make arm twisting mean something.

    Requiring 60 votes for Cloture makes arm twisting meaningless in todays Senate.

    Requiring 54 votes for CLoture ampowers the armtwister, when the Whip says you have 53 votes, and all you need is one more.

    But when you have 53 but need 60, it todays Senate, you just drop the effort and move on.

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:37:45 PM PDT

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