Barack Obama

Daisy Ad 2013: Nuclear Option Senate Remix


Click above for a 50-second trip down Memory Lane with Sens. Reid, Clinton, and Obama talking about the "nuclear option" back in 2005. A good time for all is guaranteed!

Back in 2005, the Republican majority in the Senate was threatening to do away with procedural filibusters when it came to judicial nominees and other appointments. The move would allow the World's Greatest Deliberative Body to proceed to up or down votes on presidential picks in those categories with just 51 votes rather than a two-thirds majority. Majority Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and future Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pooh-poohed that this was any sort of big breach of tradition.

At the same time, folks such as Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) announced the very end of constitutional rule if the "nuclear option" were indeed triggered. The whole point of the rule, they said, was to protect the right of the legislative minority to gum up the works in the Senate. Simple majority votes to end debate before votes? That was for the ruffians in the House. The Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, had made it so. Indeed, as late as 2008, Harry Reid was still saying the nuclear option was an abomination and swearing he would never use such a dastardly tactic.

This week, of course, the Senate Dems went ahead and pulled the switch on the nuclear option, citing Republican obstructionism as the reason that they had to go ahead and embrace exactly what they denounced just a few years ago. The immediate case deals with the important D.C. Circuit of Appeals, where Obama's picks would change the balance of the panel for years to come and have been twisting in the wind as a result.  

They had to do it, don't you see, say liberals, because the Republican crackpots—Wacko Birds and Angry Birds alike!—just wouldn't allow "cloture" (the end of debate, needed before a proper vote on a nominee) to happen. Conservatives respond that the only reason the GOP was busting the president's chops on nominees is because his choices were so radical. Now that the filibuster on appointees is gone, they worry, Obama will fill the nation's courts and bureaucracies with bomb-throwers. The upside, say cons, is that this means 2014 and 2016 will be all about Obama's radicalism.

What do you think, Reason readers? Is Republican obstructionism the problem here (The Weekly Standard notes that 71 percent of Obama's Circuit Court nominees were confirmed in his first term, versus 67 percent of George W. Bush's in his first term). Or is it Obama's radicalism (the Wall Street Journal writes that of recent presidents, Obama is the only one "whose average and median waiting time for circuit and district court nominees from confirmation to nomination was more than six months")?

This seems like as good a time as any to remind you all of the long-term trend to voters identifying as "independents" and that display such as this are surely one of the reasons why people are looking for a real alternative to the played-out politics of Team Red and Team Blue.

NEXT: Baylen Linnekin on Proposed New FDA Food Rules

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  1. By his own words Reid has ruined the country and turned the Congress into a unicameral legislature.

    I do not have much belief in the sacredness of the filibuster as an institution but the Dems back in ’05 defended it as a matter of principle. All this shows is that they are complete utilitarians, the only thing tat motivates them is their short-term advantage. They will destroy the Republic by their bull in a china shop approach to governing.

    1. In other words, they’re just like Republicans. The video could just as easily have shown the flip-flopping Republicans.

      If Democrats hadn’t done this now, Republicans would have done it when they got control. Both parties are chock full of hypocrites.

      1. No, they are not. Not on this issue. The GOP had tried to do something similar and the Democrats screamed it was the end of the Republic, now the Dems have completely flipped their position. The GOP just adjusted to the rules the Dems aad crewated that filibustering for ideological purposes was an acceptable tactic.

        I am not saying the GOP is pure, just that they are not brazenly partisan as the Dems have been.

        1. The GOP is less of a monolith these days as well. If the roles were reversed, sure you’d have Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham flopping, but guys like Thomas Massie and Justin Amash would probably stay principled.

          1. Levin and two other Dems didn’t go for it. Levin isn’t running for re-election.

            They had to hit 52 votes to make sure that it wasn’t decided by Biden, and to make sure that 1 Dem wasn’t the one that put it over.

            1. Brody. if you think Doris`s bl0g is good… last tuesday I bought a new Toyota since I been making $5564 this last five weeks and-a little over, ten k last-munth. without a question it is the best-work Ive ever done. I began this four months/ago and almost straight away was earning at least $80.. per hour. I went to this web-site,.. http://WWW.JUMP85.COM

      2. When the GOP considered it they ultimately didn’t go through with it.

        1. But is not that largely because of seven RINOs?

          1. Regardless of why the fact is that they did’t.

            1. Exactly. Come on Bo. Snap out of it.

      3. Both parties started using it as a bargaining tactic, too.

        Give us x, y, and z nominees, or we’ll go Nuclear.

        They got quite a few things out of that earlier this year. Guess at this point it was “nah, might as well just go all the way”

      4. In other words, they’re just like Republicans. The video could just as easily have shown the flip-flopping Republicans.

        Except that the republicans didn’t actually do it in 2005.

      5. Except that they’re *not* like Republicans, because the Republicans didn’t cram a change in the filibuster rules through back when they had a majority.

    2. “I do not have much belief in the sacredness of the filibuster as an institution but the Dems back in ’05 defended it as a matter of principle.”

      I won’t defend it as sacred either, but as the president becomes more powerful, I see anything that can potentially obstruct the majority as a good thing.

      When I look at all the bad, sweeping legislation over the past 12 years, the ability of the opposition to obstruct seems like the least of our problems.

    3. my classmate’s step-sister makes $83/hr on the computer. She has been fired for nine months but last month her payment was $14664 just working on the computer for a few hours. go…..W?W?W.D?U?B?3?0.C?O?M

    4. my classmate’s step-sister makes $83/hr on the computer. She has been fired for nine months but last month her payment was $14664 just working on the computer for a few hours. go…..W?W?W.D?U?B?3?0.C?O?M

  2. You have to admit, filling the courts with likeminded jurists is a good way to make clear an alternate path around a certain obstructionist chamber to central planning utopia.

    Anyway, maybe a little mutually assured destruction will finally make the Senate interesting.

    1. Well they had to do something for their base, considering how bad the last month has gone.

      1. It took some balls to abolish the filibuster* just as we are seeing the ill effects of a law passed by a bare partisan majority. I guess they want to rack up a victory packnthe courts, rally the base, and change the subject drom their Ocare incompetence.

        *for all practical purposes. The last remnants of the filibuster will be abolished as soon as convenient.

    2. The funny thing is that it almost guarantees that the other faction will have to repeal magnanimously interpreted statutes with their new, simple majority rules. Now that cloture doesn’t matter for some things, it doesn’t matter for anything.

  3. The obstructionism of the Republicans doesn’t bother me, but if 2014 and 2016 are all about Obama’s radicalism–in terms of his nominees–then I’ll be disappointed if that means they’re doubling down on the culture war.

    I was hoping 2014 would be about ObamaCare.

    My dog in this fight is being against the consolidation of power in the office of the President. I find the trend truly frightening, and it seems to have accelerated over the last 12 years.

    It weird when you feel like you have to argue for checks on the power of the president. This isn’t the country I grew up in anymore. I’ve always known, in an academic way, how power tends to consolidate in the executive, but I guess I was hoping it would be different for us.

    I can see a not too distant future when the only meaningful check on the President is his popularity, but then I look at Barack Obama, and I’m not sure that’s really a check. TARP wasn’t popular. ObamaCare wasn’t popular. Using the NSA to track all of our phone calls wasn’t popular. What if popularity isn’t a meaningful check either?

    I’m at the point where I see any check on the president as a good check. I guess you could call me an “Obstructionist”.

  4. This isn’t the country I grew up in anymore.

    You grew up in the 1850s?


    1. I think the country is fundamentally different from how it was 12 years ago.

      And that really ain’t so long ago.

      1. I blame 9/11. The govt finally got the opportunity to sell “safety” and “security”, and a timid, gullible but patriotic citizenry bought it. Now we own it. I fucking hate it.

        1. Yeah, people have changed. Their expectations have changed.

          That’s the way Rome went from being a republic to being an empire. After Augustus-people’s expectations were for a emperor.

          I could see American history playing out like it did for Bismark in the near future.

          Bismark came to power as the result of a budget impasse. The “liberal” Diet refused to pass the Emperor’s budget, so Bismark broke the impasse by instructing the treasury to collect taxes anyway and telling the government ministries what to spend.

          He operated without any budget from the legislature for years!

          People’s expectations changed. There are cases of legitimate autocratic leaders; their legitimacy just isn’t based on winning elections. It’s based on things like good governance.

          Anyway, Americans’ expectations have changed, and I can imagine something like that happening over a budget battle in the U.S.

          Say the Tea Party people are running the show, and they refuse to pass a bad budget. I can see some president breaking the impasse by ignoring Congress, collecting taxes, and spending as he sees fit.

          He wouldn’t even have to declare a state of emergency if people’s expectations had changed to the point that he was doing what most people wanted him to do.

          If it ever happens, that’s the way it will happen. If a president ignores Congress, and the people reelect him anyway, that when the American Republican period is over.

        2. -The govt finally got the opportunity to sell “safety” and “security”, and a timid, gullible but patriotic citizenry bought it.

          What, do you want a handful of terrorist with boxcutters to take over our nation and force your sister to wear the hijab? Why are you for Sharia law in America?

      2. Part of it is just congress giving away power to the executive so they don’t have to take tough votes (see the automatic debt ceiling increase / vote to disapprove of the executive raising it change)

        1. Yeah, Congress is going to act the way it acts. Our legislative politicians are not so different from politicians in other legislatures going back through history–all the way back to Rome.

          It’s the way the voters have changed that’s the big concern.

          I don’t think Americans in the 1990s would have put up with this stuff. We’ve come to expect our presidents to screw us over.

  5. Apparently, the alt-text was also nuked.

  6. The guy who came up with the distinct TARDIS materialization/dematerialization sound

    “I got my bunch of keys out, I got my mum’s front door key and scraped that up the strings. We did that several times on the bass strings on an old Sunday school piano that had been taken apart.

    “So we took those and speeded them up, slowed them down and cut several of them together and started to add feedback to get that echoey sort of thing….

    “They came to listen to it and said they liked it, but there was something missing – why hadn’t I put a rising note in it?

    “I said ‘time machines don’t go up, they go everywhere’. They said ‘well we think it needs it’. So I put the rising note in it with loads of feedback and the Tardis was born.”

    also, “As the original sound effects creator on the programme, Mr Hodgson was also responsible for designing the dictatorial modulated tones of the Daleks, whose leader Davros was played by Norfolk’s Terry Molloy for three seasons of the classic series.

    “During his 10 years working at the workshop on Doctor Who, in addition to the Tardis, Mr Hodgson also created the sounds of invading Cybermen, the Dalek control room and the Time Lord courtroom.”…..k-25051061

  7. “In a forthcoming study we [Professors Andrew Healy and Neil Malhotra] conducted, we showed that having sisters actually made young men more conservative when it comes to gender roles and their party identification. Why? One potential explanation is that boys with brothers are more likely to be assigned household chores, while those with sisters are shielded from what is generally considered “women’s work.” Learning these patterns in childhood creates models for behavior in adulthood?and indeed, we also found that men with sisters were less likely to split housework with their wives than men with brothers.

    “While far from definitive, these results suggest that having sisters caused the boys to have a more traditional upbringing, and that in turn could have led to greater political conservatism. Or, it could be that older brothers are paternalistic and want to shield their younger sisters from dangerous influences.”

    Hmmm…which explanation sounds more plausible?…..z2lTkD4BPH

    1. That is great. They spend a paragraph concocting this ‘one potential explanation’ and then a single sentence ‘or it could be’ this much more intuitive, and gracious to males, one.

  8. OT: scientists discover economics:…..103857.htm

    1. Gross. Thanks for that.

    2. I found the ad with “Shotgun” Joe Biden is boxing trunks at that link far more disgusting.

  9. One man.

    One vote.

    One time.

  10. Also, is Reason really so hard-up for cash they had to resort to the fake “You May Like” links? I’d almost rather have another Webathon.

    1. Yeah. I just noticed those yesterday. They suck. Please remove them, reason.

      1. Apparently, they really want people to donate this year. They should have a “take down Taboola” donation goal.

    2. They need to put a Reason spin on this: If you despised ‘Fonts: The New Frontier’ by Virginia Postrel’, you might also hate ‘Weigel, Riggs Discuss Concern Trolling Basics 101’.

  11. The “If we don’t do it, they will” justification is pretty great.

    There’s no safety net anymore. Better not lose the Senate and Presidency again. President Rubio is appointing Attorney General Santorum. Bet they wish they could filibuster that. Maybe Todd Akin can get a judgeship. Supreme Court Justice Akin. Heh.

    2014 they can run on “look, you need to re-elect us, ’cause we can’t stop the radicals from appointing Santorum or Akin or other kooks.”

    (like was said above, get rid of it in one case, get rid of it in all)

    1. I don’t know about Santorum, but as to Akin, the Republicans aren’t touching him with a 10′ pole.

      1. It’s hyperbole to scare the shit out of progressives now that they can’t stop it. Those were just the first two that pop into my mind.

        1. OK, but I think they’ve taken a calculated risk. They anticipate a chance to pack the courts by a bare majority, and they are taking the risk that Republicans will take over and do the same thing.

          They want a distraction from OCare, the base wants to find something on which they can go on the offensive, and they all want Dem judges to Secure The Progressive Legacy, *especially* if Republicans take over, in which case they want their judges to thwart them.

          Such, at least, are my hypotheses.

          1. -They want a distraction from OCare

            I think this is what it is all about, as they have to see that any ‘court packing’ strategy would not be much in the long run.

          2. That’s probably a lot of it, yea. Gets ObamaCare out of the news, fires up the base, and secures some judgeships for a while.

            I’ve enjoyed tweaking them with:

            “good thing you’ve got that permanent democratic majority, because demographics”.

            1. Just like they had in 1916.

  12. I’ve been thinking about the delay in the 2014 Obamacare enrollment deadline. I think there are two reason. One the political one, by delaying the enrollment deadline they are minimizing the political hit for democrats. The other is they are admitting the rollout of Obamacare, from the website disaster to the enrollment demographics not meeting expectations, is going extremely bad. Basically, all their projections were wrong.

    1. No, the first reason is the only reason.

    2. You know who else basically had all their predictions wrong?

      1. Pualy Krugmanz?

      2. Neville Chamberlain?

  13. The move would allow the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body to proceed to up or down votes on presidential picks in those categories with just 51 votes rather than a two-thirds majority.

    60 votes, not a two-thirds majority. Jesus fucking Christ, Gillespie.

  14. This is from 1994, but very interesting nonetheless.

    “Alex consistently defied me. During class he contradicted me numerous times when I insisted that the length of one kilometer was greater than that of one mile….Although he was correct, Alex’s actions show a blatant disregard for authority….In the future, Alex would be better off simply accepting my teaching without resistance.”

    1. I had a similar experience in high school physics talking about the moon’s orbital diameter. Think I got detention for being right…

      1. I defied most of my teachers too. But somehow I feel that letter isn’t true.

        1. You prompted me to check Snopes. They say the accuracy of this story is “Undetermined.”

    2. I got similar treatment for telling the teacher that x^0 was 1 and not 0.

  15. Great. I say anything that makes Congress more like a partisan Westminster-style legislature, the better!

    60 votes over the past 20 years has become the benchmark to do anything. That’s nowhere in the Constitution and only continued to exist because of a misguided legacy of “comity”. Who gives a flying F about comity in politics?

    Let the partisan wars heat to the max!

  16. Wisconsin Social Conservatives Urge Walker to Not Allow Native American Casino in Kenosha

    So the Menominee Tribe got a waiver from the federal government to build a casino in Kenosha, but it needs approval from Governor Scott Walker. Walker initially signaled his approval, citing the jobs and economic development it would bring (I guess just because they wanted to build it and others wanted to patronize it would be a silly reason). But social conservatives, such as Wisconsin Family Action (a branch of Dobsons’s group) and the Eagle Forum (Schafley’s group), pushed him to not allow it, and he has delayed his decision for over a month now.

    1. Here is part of the SoCons letter to Walker, note the paean to strict regulations.

      -The requirements placed on tribal casinos are rigorous both those from the federal government and the State of Wisconsin ? and for good reason. We would like to express our thanks to you as you continue to uphold these long-standing regulations.

      -But the crime that spills out from casino doors should be of particular concern to communities in which they are located. These include DUIs, mail theft, property theft, car theft, assault, identity theft, alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution, passing bad checks and stealing or embezzling from the workplace ? i.e., local businesses.

      Social costs are also enormous. Gambling can lead to debt, depression, foreclosure, suicide, bankruptcy and divorce. Stories abound of gamblers leaving minor children unattended at casinos, and senior citizens and adolescents can be particularly susceptible to gambling problems. It is difficult to calibrate the serious negative impact on children touched by gambling (directly or indirectly) who should instead be taught personal responsibility, financial accountability and moral values.…

      1. Many of the harms listed are NAP violations: “mail theft, property theft, car theft, assault, identity theft… passing bad checks and stealing or embezzling from the workplace”

        1. But gambling is not. It is one of these ‘this behavior that is compliant with the NAP MIGHT lead some people to do this behavior which is not, therefore we must ban the former.’ You could put drinking alcohol, doing drugs, watching pornography and a host of other activities there in place of gambling.

          1. There’s also the issue of granting an exemption to one group. Suppose this tribe were a religion seeking to set up a casino which secular people couldn’t set up?

            1. Of course, there should be no general regulation of Native Americans or non-Native Americans in their ability to set up a business with consensual, adult customers.

  17. Meanwhile over at the Justice Dept

    This isn’t justice. It’s more like the greenmail that companies sometimes pay to corporate raiders who demand premium prices for their shares in exchange for going away. No individuals got pinched. We don’t know much about the details of what the Justice Department’s investigation found. It’s unclear why prosecutors didn’t accuse JPMorgan of fraud, although one possible explanation is that the government lacks proof.


    As an aside, it’s fitting that Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley took part in the same accord. Of the $13 billion headline figure — which combined the Justice Department’s $2 billion penalty with the amounts secured by several state and federal agencies — the settlement agreement earmarked about $34 million for Massachusetts.

    In 2009, Coakley took a similar claim-free approach to squeeze money from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Her office didn’t file a lawsuit or allege that Goldman Sachs violated any statutes or rules. Goldman Sachs didn’t admit anything, either. But it did pay $60 million to make the Massachusetts investigation go away. Coakley’s office had been looking into Goldman Sachs’s packaging of subprime mortgage bonds.

    “Nice bank ya gots there. it’d be a shame if anythings wuz ta happenz to it.”

  18. The Late P Brooks|11.23.13 @ 10:19AM|#|?|filternamelinkcustom

    Meanwhile over at the Justice Dept…

    Above Ken was mentioning that a President could probably just instruct treasury to collect taxes, and other departments to spend, in contradiction to Congress, and get away with it.

    Maybe part of it is funding the departments on settlements. (Yea, I know a lot of it isn’t going to treasury).

  19. Be AFRAID.

    Plastic gunz are everywhere!

    It is true that even an updated and reauthorized law will not completely ensure public safety. No law can. That is not an excuse, however, for inaction. The emerging capacity for virtually anyone to produce guns that can evade detection poses a threat at airports and sensitive buildings, including the U.S. Capitol.

    Reauthorize this pointless and ineffective law TODAY.

    1. Wasn’t the original law in response of a few bed-wetting ninnies fear of Glocks*?

      *which were rumored, by idiots, to be completely plastic and undetectable. Which, if anyone took the three whole seconds to look at a Glock, would have been obviously false.

      1. …*which were rumored, by idiots, to be completely plastic and undetectable.

        Yes I do seem to recall Senator Schumers name figuring prominently in this….

  20. Of course this has been taken to levels of absurdity by the Republicans. According to Goldman’s “Index of Obstruction and Delay,” we have reached a zenith in…well, obstruction and delay.…..and-delay/

    Its not just the end result of approval, its also how long it takes to get the nominee approved…delay.

    “The numer?a?tor is the num?ber of nom?i?na?tions that took more than 180 days to con?firm, or which were never con?firmed. The denom?i?na?tor is the total num?ber of nom?i?na?tions made.

    The 112th Con?gress (2011?12) had an Index of Obstruc?tion and Delay over 95 per?cent. Gold?man tells Wash?ing?ton Post reporter Greg Sar?gent, “that’s the high?est that’s ever been recorded.”

    The Con?gres?sional Research Ser?vice also con?firms Goldman’s find?ing.

    Pres?i?dent Obama is the only one [of the Pres?i?dents since Rea?gan] for whom, dur?ing his first term, both the aver?age and median wait?ing time from nom?i?na?tion to con?fir?ma?tion for cir?cuit and dis?trict court nom?i?nees was greater than half a cal?en?dar year (i.e. more than 182 days).

    Taranto is a good case in point. Delayed by filibuster for nearly 2 years. And when an up or down vote finally occurred, no one voted against him. Clearly qualified. It was just…obstruction and delay.

  21. They need even more filibuster ability, not less — about 90% of Senators agreeing to stop a debate to get anything done.

    And, yes, that would result in almost nothing getting done by Congress, which is a good thing.

    1. But how can we fix problems without laws? Government exists to get things done like making the trains run on time.

  22. Cass Sunstein, in a piece I’m too lazy to link to (Bloomberg opinion page) says this will “free” sensible bipartisan Republicans from the terroristic grip of the Tea Party and the NRA.

    Net gain for America!

  23. Obamacare Repeal or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

    Time to look on the bright side. Removing the filibuster makes getting rid of Obamacare easier. It makes SS and Medicare reform easier. It makes passing the REINS act easier. Yes, it also makes it easier to pass some new steaming pile of crap, but it makes it easier to clean up afterwards, too. It seems like this stuff has only worked one way for a long time, ratcheting us further and further into big government socialism. So maybe this will make it easier to move in the other direction, for once.

    1. It makes who the president is more important, and from a libertarian perspective, how can we spin that as good news?

      1. I never said it was all good news.

  24. my classmate’s step-sister makes $83/hr on the computer. She has been fired for nine months but last month her payment was $14664 just working on the computer for a few hours. go…..W?W?W.D?U?B?3?0.C?O?M

  25. why people are looking for a real

    How many of them want a real alternative that isn’t MOAR FREE SHIT?

  26. my friend’s half-sister makes $64 an hour on the internet. She has been laid off for five months but last month her pay check was $13540 just working on the internet for a few hours. browse around this web-site ……………………………..

  27. Based on recent developments with the ACA, the president apparently has acquired the power to change laws at will so for the senate to be able to pack the courts at will seems like a natural next step. Maybe next week Eric Holder will announce his new power to arrest and convict suspects without the need of courts. The sky’s the limit!

  28. It’s neither Republican obstructionism nor the radicalism of Obama’s appointees – it’s just King Barack having his way again. This time he upends precedent, while usually he’s just ignoring the law, often the a law that he worked to get passed.

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