It’s that time again….
:: As long-time readers know, I just flatly oppose the filibuster, and I think the only thing Democrats did wrong yesterday was not getting rid of it completely. Majority rule is fine. It works for presidential elections, it works for the House, it works for the Supreme Court, and it works in every other country in the world. “Senate tradition” is just a euphemism for “weird historical accident,” and I’d sweep the whole rulebook clean if I could. I’m keenly aware that this means the other party can do stuff if it wins elections, and that’s OK. That’s what elections are for. (This is my position as well. The filibuster is a nonsensical idea that didn’t make sense to me even before the Republicans decided that they were going to use it for everything. And besides, it seems pretty obvious to me that the filibuster was doomed, anyway. Eliminating it would almost certainly be the very first order of business of the very next Republican-controlled Senate.)
:: For my money there’s only been one truly great Thanksgiving episode. And that was the flying turkey episode of WKRP IN CINCINNATI. (Untrue! Cheers had a great one. And the one that Big Bang Theory just ran was terrific. Mad About You had a great one in which Paul and Jamie were trying to cover up the fact that the dog ate the turkey.)
:: Somehow, prior to this fall, I had NEVER seen The Sound of Music in its entirety. (I thought about writing a “sequel” to The Sound of Music in which the Baroness and Herr Detweiler escape the Nazis as well, eventually fleeing to Buenos Aires where they open up a music school for displaced German refugees, only to learn that most of them are children of Nazis…but as Sound of Music is under copyright, there’s no way for me to do that except as a fanfic type of thing. Which I might, at some point, but for now, I’ll file that rather perverse notion away in my head.)
:: I guess there are people who don’t roast chickens on a regular basis so the idea of a turkey is daunting, but I just don’t understand the drama.
:: This year everybody is marveling at the bizarre convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, giving us the last Thanksgivvukah for 70,000 years or so (anyway, a long time). But who is thinking about how dreary it’s going to be when, Hanukkah over, Jews will have nothing to listen to but “Jingle Bell Rock” for weeks — and no latkes to console themselves with.
:: “I’m smilin’ right now, real smug-like, ’cause I’m super-convinced that hearin’ my voice will make you happy, and not, say, close your eyes and hold the bridge of your nose between your thumb and forefinger and sit very still for a few minutes.” (God, I love Comics Curmudgeon.)
:: I don’t believe in the concept of “guilty pleasures”. Pleasure is pleasure. Don’t knock any of it (unless, that is, you get pleasure from boiling puppies. In that case, you should feel guilty as hell). If pleasure comes to you, then thank God you are able to perceive it at all; you’ve got a leg up on many many others. (I’ve yet to encounter anyone online — and I’ve been online forever — who does introspection as well as Sheila O’Malley. When she holds the mirror up to herself, amazing things explode from her pen.)
:: I have all the history. So if someone asks… I can say… And I nearly always have a memory or a story or a photo. (What an awful anniversary to have to mark every year. I know. Ours is in three days.)
More next week. (Maybe. I’m going to be on vacation and still plowing ahead with writing.)
Majority rule does not determine who becomes president. The electoral college does. Majority rule does not work in Arizona with regard to immigration law as it was usurped by the president. It does not determine how a congressman will vote, lobbyists do.
It will be amusing to listen to the impassioned pleas from democrats to keep the filibuster when they lose control of the senate.
I love that WKRP episode too, but Friends made a tradition of Thanksgiving episodes every year and most of them are great.
Earl: None of those examples have much to do with anything. The Electoral College, which as it currently functions reflects majorities at the state level. States do not get to ignore Federal law, and the third example — well, in a country where voter turnout is as pathetically low as it always is, that's on us, isn't it? The fact is, the Senate is not supposed to require a supermajority to pass everything. The Republicans have made it so. They haven't used the filibuster to stand on principle of any kind, unless "gum up the works and stymie Obama" is a "principle". (Hint: It isn't.) I don't care if Democrats cry for the filibuster's return when they inevitably lose the Senate. The fact is, they did the right thing. Republican abuse had to end sometime.
I respectfully disagree:
A candidate can lose the presidency despite recieving a majority of the popular vote thanks to the electoral college.
Colorado and Washington ignore federal drug laws with regards to marijuana.
Lobbyists control the money going to the candidate, this has nothing to do with voter turnout. You are right in that our elected officials being bound to the highest bidder says a lot about us.
The filibuster is a necessary check to power. Our country is built on the checks and balance of power. Why is it a problem anyway? The country voted for stalemate when they let one party control the house and the other the senate.
THis is about one thing stacking the court. It has nothing to do with the filibuster.
No. It is NOT about stacking the court. It is about filling existing vacancies, which IS THE PRESIDENT'S JOB. It's one of his duties. The Republicans are desperate to keep him from doing so. And it's not about just judges, either — they've used the filibuster to block numerous Presidential appointments. Obama has had almost as many appointees blocked — through filibuster and other means — as every other President combined. That's not "necessary check to power", that's minority power run amok.
Likewise, there have been more cloture votes — meaning, Republicans have invoked the filibuster — more times under this President than in history, by far. It's not a "necessary check to power", it's a minority party run amok. You would frankly be apoplectic if a Democratic Senate minority did this to a Republican president, and you'd be right in that conviction. The filibuster was never intended to exist, and it was never intended to be used in this way. The Senate should not be a 60-vote body. Period. Unless it's your view that government needs to be stopped from doing anything at all, but that's not my view. I don't share the weird distrust of government that many Americans seem to almost fetishize. I want my government to do things, and when they don't work, I want voters to change the people doing the work. The filibuster stands against the very idea of democracy.
As for the electoral college, you missed the point where I noted that electors are assigned on the basis of majorities at the state level. Yes, it's possible for them to vote as a whole for a candidate who received fewer votes — which is why I think the whole thing is stupid, anyway — but that's not a frequent occurrence in American history, even if it is a dumb one.
There will always be examples you can find where what government does fails to match up, one-to-one, with majority opinion. But in general, the entire idea of democracy is that policy is generally influenced by the idea of majority votes. Otherwise, voting is just something we do to pretend that any of it matters. Maybe that's your view, but it isn't mine.
Besides, Republicans in the Senate have been mucking with the confirmation rules for years, so as to make it easier for them to block judicial appointees by Democratic Presidents, but harder for Democratic Senators to block appointees by Republican Presidents. The only reasonable case one can make invoking court-stacking, after years of Republican activity on this front, is for Republicans trying desperately to keep openings open until such time as they are the ones filling them. If a Republican is President in 2017, I'll bet anything that suddenly filling all those circuit vacancies will become quite important indeed.
In short: Republicans have been acting like spoiled babies and abusing their powers for years, and it's high time the Democrats smacked them around for it.
I think the govt should reflect what the people want and based on the last election the people want the stalemate we have. It is not the govts role, nor should it ever be their role to tell the people what they need. When the public is tired of this stalemate they will vote in one party to control all branches. If one party is tired of being stymied then make concessions the other party will approve.
Its not like the fillibuster did not exist before the last election. The Democrats had the opportunity to make their case for 60 votes in the Senate and control of the house. The public rejected both requests.
The presidents job is to SUGGEST who will fill those vacancies it is the senates job to approve those suggestions not rubber stamp them. We voted for division: one party to control the house and another to control the senate. I think this is not an accident but a reflection of what the general public feels should be accomplished: REAL COMPROMISE OR NOTHING.
The myth of the dictator President. I mean there are things I fear from this President (NSA, drone use that makes us less safe) but appointing judges is not one of them.