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Filibuster Reform Should Begin with Congress Respecting the Voters’ Wishes

THERE SHOULD be cautious optimism on this, but it’s still good foreshadowing about what might happen, even if what Reid is saying is somewhat of a head fake.

“I do” have plans to change the Senate rules, he added. “I have said so publicly and I continue to feel that way … I think the rules have been abused, and we are going to work to change them. We will not do away with the filibuster, but we will make the senate a more meaningful place. We are going to make it so we can get things done.” – Harry Reid: Filibuster Reform Will Be Pursued In The Next Congress

Green groups announced they will also push for filibuster reform.

As Ezra Klein explains on Bloomberg, it’s not just the filibuster that’s the issue.

The problem is the 60 votes are utilized by the minority to obstruct the majority.

Chris Matthews, speaking from his history working in the House for Speaker Tip O’Neill, reminded everyone on “Morning Joe” Wednesday of the way the House used to work, how Washington once worked. It was a respected given that the party who won the election would be afforded what voters had handed them in the previous election, starting with the leading edge in deals being negotiated.

Whatever winning margin one party had over another in the most recent election, that was the advantage the winning party would get in any deal being discussed.

President Obama clearly won a mandate in states across the country, winning all but one battleground state that resulted in an Electoral College wipe out. This is the voters speaking with a powerful voice. If the outcome of the majority vote would be respected it would give people a way to understand our democracy and why voting mattered, instead of thinking it’s a political reality celebrity show.

This would mean that with President Obama running in 2012 on taxing the wealthiest more and the voters delivering a resounding yes, Speaker Boehner would have to acquiesce on revenue. Not because he wanted to, but because the people spoke on Tuesday night, so he, as Speaker of the United States House, was under obligation to respect that mandate given to President Obama through the voters of this country.

The discussion is basically over on revenue.

In fact, the voters give Speaker Boehner cover to do so, if he truly wants to lead. It would also be the first step forward for Republicans after a massive repudiation of their party.

Respecting the mandate of President Obama’s win is the very essence of what We the People is supposed to mean to government servants.

Perhaps if Congress acted like this instead of in the manner they do they wouldn’t be held in such low esteem.

It would also mean that Rep. Eric Cantor would have to get a grip that he is representing a state that voted for President Obama, with Virginia also electing a Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, so whether he wants to obstruct or not, Cantor’s got a responsibility to respect what the majority of voters of his state want. He also has the responsibility to explain to the Tea Party caucus that if they want to ignore the voters on Tuesday they do it at their own peril, because he’s got a job and it begins with respecting the election results.

Maybe this is where Democrats should start. Make the case that We the People have spoken and their Republican colleagues have an ethical and political obligation to honor what was said and decided in the election of 2012.

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12 Responses to Filibuster Reform Should Begin with Congress Respecting the Voters’ Wishes

  1. fangio November 8, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    WOW! That sounds great. Oh! I know, you must have been drinking heavily; you’ll get over it in the morning. Try not to have anymore silly delusions.

  2. TPAZ November 8, 2012 at 3:03 am #

    One can only hope that the Democrats in congress stand up on their hind legs and move the country away from insanity. After watching the election results come in and the left celebrating 44′s reelection victory (I did too, privately, with a T-bone steak, baked potato, and bottle of champagne) I fell asleep and had a dream of outsourced, unmanned and armed, predator drones, flown by non-union contractors, patrolling the US/Mexican border, over the MLK, Jr. Holiday weekend, looking to target eligable disposition matrix illegal aliens coming to America seeking work to pick GMO crops for Walmart.

    Sometimes, dreams can be weird.

    • Joyce Arnold November 8, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      TPAZ, I considered adding to your dream list (TransCanada in particular) but decided it was too good for any kind of editing :)

      “Sometimes, dreams can be weird.” Yes they can. And sometimes they aren’t as weird as as what we see when we’re awake.

  3. Jane Austen November 8, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    I don’t know what’s going to happen with Congress but there was a time that I remember when the party that won the election got to call the shots and weren’t held hostage by the minority. I’m trying to figure out when that changed. I get a little addled at times because so much seems to go on. I can’t keep up. I’m always glad to come to TM and read so some of it makes sense to me.

    • Taylor Marsh November 8, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      I’m honored that you do.

  4. jjamele November 8, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Fox this morning: “Should Harry Reid Resign as Majority Leader?” Yeah, Fox gets the election results. That’s the message they received Tuesday Night.

    Meanwhile, a blurb from CNN-

    “That leaves a Senate with 53 Democrats and one independent, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders — up from the 51 Democrats and two independents in the current chamber. And voters in Maine sent another independent to Washington on Tuesday, with former Gov. Angus King taking the place of retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.”

    –sooo, how many Independents are there in the Senate again? When CNN has illiterate clowns like the moron who typed this out working for them, it’s no wonder the public is consistently perplexed.

    • Taylor Marsh November 8, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Re Angus King, when he won, on MSNBC they didn’t post his picture on the screen OR EVEN HIS NAME. They had a white on gray star and the letter “I”, with Rachel announcing his win.

      The establishment elite, politics and media, have no clue what to do with independents. So keep making them crazy, you all!

  5. newdealdem1 November 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    The filibuster needs to be done away with completely. None of this half-meal nonsense from Reid. And, frankly, Reid needs to loose his Majority leadership, it’s freaking long overdue. In 2008, before Obama recruited Clinton for State, I was of the mind for her to seek leadership in the Senate as she was the only one at the time who in my view would bring the fight to the GOPers and would be a strong leader, not sacrificing principles to suit current fashions as she had done for years when she was First Lady and then Senator from NY.

    But, who in the Senate can fulfill that role now? There are a few candidates who are fighters (not all of whom I personally like: I’m looking at you, Leahy) who could fulfill the leadership role in my view:

    Sanders (VT)
    Leahy (VT)
    Murray (WA)

    The leadership needs to change and that includes Pelosi.

  6. newdealdem1 November 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    mea culpa: that’s “lose” not “loose”

  7. DaGoat November 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I’m all for modifying the filibuster as it has been misused for decades, but disagree that a clear mandate has been sent. The popular vote was roughly 50-48 percent, about the same as Bush vs Kerry which is generally regarded as a close race. The electoral margin was wider mainly because Obama won most of the close races. If a race is close it is tough to say a clear mandate was sent.

    Further if I were John Boehner I could claim that voters had sent a mandate by electing a clear majority of Republicans to the House. Given that a Democratic Senate and president were elected a clear mandate has not been sent, and I would interpret the voter’s message as desiring elements of both parties platforms and coming to a compromise.

  8. Cujo359 November 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    I think that if Reid had meant to make meaningful reforms, there would have been some already. This is the fourth term in a row where they’ve had the majority. What the Republicans would do was no secret even in 2008. The Democrats enjoy having the excuse not to do things we send them there to do. It’s much easier to blame their failure on all those mean, nasty, obstructionist Republicans than it is to admit they’ve had the power to change things all along, and didn’t because it would hurt their own bottom line.

    Nor do Senators of either party enjoy the thought of giving up power. Power is what they need to be effective in their jobs, and if they can’t threaten to filibuster something they’re against, they have less power.

    If this amounts to anything more than eyewash, I’ll be completely (but pleasantly) surprised.

  9. Ramsgate November 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Baby steps. Sadly the Dems have no courage. Reid is likely to make the very same mistakes with McConnell that he did in 2010, just as Obama is likely to make the very same mistakes with the Republicans that he did in his last term. The Dems will be outplayed again, because they will never be tough enough on the losers.

    Now, had Romney won and the Repugs controlled the senate, he would not be so kind. He’d fix it that the Dems would NEVER be able to filibuster anything.

    Patti Murray for Majority Leader.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong