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Panel of (white, overwhelmingly male) military leaders at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assault.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) faces a panel of top military leaders during a Senate hearing on military sexual assault.

Oh, hey, what do you know. Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin, a key opponent of fellow Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's effort to make real change in how the military deals with sexual assault, announced that Gillibrand's amendment would require 60 votes. Because "people" demand it.

Levin, who will manage debate later this month on the annual Defense authorization bill, said he also expected 60-vote thresholds would be needed for amendments dealing with potential National Security Agency reforms, Iran sanctions and to remove language already in the legislation that gives President Barack Obama more discretion to transfer prisoners from the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay.

“As far as I know people are going to demand 60. And that’s going to be true of not just her amendment, but a whole bunch of amendments,” Levin said.

Don't you just love how he's reframing the anti-democratic filibuster requirement of a super-majority as, like, populism? THE PEOPLE DEMAND IT! Sure, if the people are the military leaders who have been failing to prevent or effectively respond to sexual assault for years and are demanding the right to keep failing on their own terms. Or senators like South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who needs the military as a political issue to make him look like a real, tough Republican as he faces a primary challenge.

Clearly military commanders have some very delicate fee-fees around this issue. Wouldn't you feel a little sensitive if you'd been failing publicly at a task for years? Even if you'd been failing kind of on purpose by fighting every reform? But given that failure—intentional or not—it's time for Congress to take it out of the hands of the generals. No matter how hard they lobby.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 07:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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