As luck would have it, one of my family members is in ICU and I have a series of comprehensive medical tests today myself, so I may be scarce for a day or two. In the meantime please consider a small donation to your humble atheist blogger this week. I really need it and no amount is too small. Thanks to those of you who pitched in already!
Back in the darkest days of the Bush administration and Tom DeLay’s house of horrors, Republicans threatened to nuke the Senate filibuster. I’m proud to say my colleagues at Daily Kos and I responded with, go for it. It’s a dumb arcane artifact of Senate rules that obstructs ledge and gives individual and small groups of senators the ability to legally shake down industries and star in their own dramatic CSPAN grandstand. Since 2008 the GOP has used it a record number of times to thwart progressive policies and block everything in sight. It appears Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has finally had enough:
WaPo — With Senate Republicans blocking a third Obama nomination to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me Reid is now all but certain to move to change the Senate rules by simple majority — doing away with the filibuster on executive and judicial nominations, with the exception of the Supreme Court – as early as this week.
Reid has concluded Senate Republicans have no plausible way of retreating from the position they’ve adopted in this latest Senate rules standoff, the aide says. Republicans have argued that in pushing nominations, Obama is “packing” the court, and have insisted that Obama is trying to tilt the court’s ideological balance in a Democratic direction — which is to say that the Republican objection isn’t to the nominees Obama has chosen, but to the fact that he’s trying to nominate anyone at all.
I’d like to think Obama is trying to tilt the courts. That’s one of the prizes in winning the WH and we did win, twice. But far from being the socialist revolutionary secular politician — who won’t even say God in the Gettysburg Address! — Barack Obama is a careful, center-left, albeit overall competent chief executive. Hopefully Reid will push the red button despite WH and Senate reluctance. But I’ll believe it when I see it. In my view, it’s in the DNA of both Reid and Obama to compromise and triangulate a little too much, especially considering the obstruction and vitriol they’ve gotten in return.