A Bill Comes Due For Democrats: The Use of the “Nuclear Option” Will Now Curtail The Powers Of The Democrats In The Senate

gen_james_n_mattisIn 2010, I (and others) criticized the Democratic leadership (including then Majority Leader Harry Reid and many of the continuing Democratic senators) for their use of the “nuclear option” in curtailing the power of the filibuster. I was equally critical of Republican leaders who previously suggested such a course of action. It was remarkably short-sighted and, like so many moves during this period, impulsive. The Democrats acted with little concern that they might ever be in the minority and need this critical power. They muscled through the Affordable Care Act on a marginal vote that cost various members their seats and passed a highly flawed bill that was plagued by problems of bad drafting and poor planning. Moreover, they secured relatively few confirmations to federal office. Now, however, the bill will come due for the Democrats as they long for the minority rights that they so blithely threw away. The first such cost will likely occur in the waiver that will be given to Gen. James N. Mattis who has not satisfied the requisite seven years to pass since retirement in order to become Secretary of Defense.

In 2010, Reid and his colleagues were warned by many of us that the decision would quickly haunt their party if polls continued to slide toward the next election. Perhaps the most poignant warning came from Republican Alabama Senator Richard Shelby “Democrats won’t be in power in perpetuity. This is a mistake — a big one for the long run. Maybe not for the short run. Short-term gains, but I think it changes the Senate tremendously in a bad way.”

Well, that time is now here. Retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis is expected to be nominated but federal law requires a seven year period after retirement to assume his position. He retired only in 2013. It would fall to Congress to grant an exception — something that under the old rule the Democrats could block.

None of this is to take away from Mattis who is widely respected. However, the law is more than some passing gesture. It protects our tradition of civilian control over the military. It has only been waived once — for the iconic figure of Gen. George C. Marshall in 1950. Ironically, the rule was lessened eight years ago but also reaffirmed as a bedrock principle. Federal law once required ten years to expire. It now requires seven years after serving on active duty before someone can assume the office of secretary of defense or other senior civilian defense positions. The time limit reduced in 2008 — the only reduction of the original criteria from the 1947 national security act.

Whatever the merits or the outcome of this vote, Democratic senators served their constituents poorly in casually discarding this long-standing protection of minority rights.

125 thoughts on “A Bill Comes Due For Democrats: The Use of the “Nuclear Option” Will Now Curtail The Powers Of The Democrats In The Senate”

  1. Will one Supreme War Criminal prosecute another Supreme War Criminal?
    Example: will Sessions prosecute Clinton? I don’t think so.
    Would Al Capone prosecute John Dillinger?
    Will one gangster prosecute another gangster? The answer is NO and we are seeing that now with the U.S. Nazi Government in vivid living color.

    1. What you are trying to say is will a left wing fascist National Socialist prosecute a left wing fascist International Socialist. Probably. The rest of it sort of dribbled out on the ground and became part of the swamp. To much PC not enough standard American English.

    1. Currently, yes until January 20th. Then we see what our lottery ticket prize will provide but why did you leave out the joined at the hip hammer and sickle flag to the right of the equal sign?

  2. We have a Zionist Media / Zionist Government of Lies
    Most all politicians omit the Truth, they don’t tell the Truth.
    The most powerful form of lie is the omission — George Orwell.
    Most all politicians are liars and accomplices to murder with cover up of 9/11 and War Crimes.
    A politician’s position on the official 9/11 story is a litmus test.
    If he or she states that they believe the official story they are stupid and corrupt.

  3. As for the filibuster, good riddance. It’s anti-democratic and was overused. The party in power should be able to govern and appoint its people. Elsewise, why have elections? Where in the Constitution is a super-majority required? The filibuster is an archaic rule from the era when the parties tried to get along. That’s over now.

    1. Mespo,
      I don’t think “trying to get along” is a prerequisite for the filibuster. The filibuster can be the individual dissenter against the madness of the many. Our system is designed to prevent mob rule and rule by the minority; it tries to balance majority/minority perspectives.

      Yes, the filibuster has been overused and used in an undemocratic way. But, is that the fault of the filibuster or the person/group wielding it?

      Getting along and trying to find a balance is a choice. Our elected officials can choose to do so again, with our prompting.

      Having approval for appointments would help keep extremism in check.

      1. To defend this viewpoint I’ll remind you of the vote to enter a war and deploy troops into Vietnam. One vote in the Senate was against. Senator Wayne Morse D Oregon. The rest swallowed LBJ’s Tonkin Gulf Scam and that after he had deployed naval units and a few others into Vietnam REVERSING JFK’s decision to pull all military out.

        But remember most of the Congressman had some economic axe to grind and war makes for lovely contributions from major industries

        1. “One vote in the Senate was against. Senator Wayne Morse D Oregon.”

          Too bad he didn’t try to filibuster.

          1. I believe he became an Independent after that. Oregon does not have a great record in electing officials. He was their zenith That’s the old Oregon with real Oregonians.

      2. As a blunderbuss, the filibuster stops good legislation and bad. That’s not the way the system was envisioned. The filibuster is the nuclear option but it was used as daily fare. I agree the quality of government depends on the players, not the game rules, but the fact is we need to adjust rules to account for poor players. You need fewer rules for better players; every coach knows that.

        1. The rules in each House of Congress are set by the congressionals themselves. The sticking point is where a Senator or Representative leaves control of the States since they are solely responsible for the selection of their delegate(s) and under recall rules it would seem a recall would nullify that delegates legitimacy. However since the delegates once accepted are paid by the federal government. All of the above is per the Constitution would require an amendment.

          At present they are only delegates stemming from the the representative democracy level with the States cut out of the checks and balances system. That’s your first target. Repeal the both the 16th and 17th Amendments. One targeted the system of checks and balances. The other targeted the individual self governing citizen by seizing control of their incomes.

          I would not care if the States chose one Senator by each method or both by either method but add to that the banning of the citizens themselves by disallowing Recall was a three strikes your out inning.

          Magically once each Congressional House accepts their new members they are no longer State Delegates but Federal level with limited interest in the States – usually if involves getting re-elected.

          But as for the rules it’s up to each House. They choose to waste time and effort with the committee system then complain they don’t have the expertise so pass it on to unsupervised agency with magically granted powers of Legislation, Administration and Judiciary functions. Which makes four targets for change.

          The beginning is at the local level by taking control of the political parties and continuing to demonstrate if they get in bed with the opposition they will be ousted not only at the next election but in the annual and semiannual local and state elections.

          And that’s the ankle wrenching and knee capping that gets attention. Recalls and Initiatives.

          The other not well understood parts –

          First the political party have complete control of the primary and if they control the State they control who can or cannot make it on the ballots. this time we astarted out with Four left leaning parties and ended up with one in disarray and the other suddenly finding it’s roots again. DINOs and RINOs respectively.

          Second – at the federal level the States have zero say.

          Third – as demonstrated in Arizona Money as Free Speech is the province of the filthy rich. Citizens do not have quid pro quo by any description due to $$$$ differences. George Soros dumped three million into one county official race and won. George Soros has no geo-political nor even economic interest in Arizona. He was a complete outsider sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.

          So Target Five and this speaks to soft money as well should go something like this. If one may not vote one may not contribute money, labor, material contributions. Therefore Comrade Soros could target the Presidential and VP race in Arizona but nothing else. He has not other geo-political interest in their ballot and unless he leaves NYC or possibly the Caribbean Antilles perhaps no vote at all.

        2. Benching players for unsportsmanlike behaviour is a better solution.

          I would rather avoid the extremism that we are already leaning towards what with gerrymandering steering the entrenchment and other issues. The parties will use approval-free appointments to make the partisanship even broader.

          The filibuster is not the problem. Gerrymandering makes sure moderates do not get elected. I would argue that moderates are less likely to use the nuclear option as daily fare because they are inclined toward a perspective of fairness and balance.

          1. PR:
            It’s not extremism by definition if it’s done by the will of the people. Each side should get their chance to run things. If we don’t like it, we get a recall vote every 4 years.

            1. Mespo,
              Allowing Congress to approve appointees is a check on the executive.

              It is still extremism, even if it is by the will of the people. Mob rule is extremism and the Founders wanted to guard against it.

              1. On the definitional issue: It’s not “extreme” if everybody does it. It’s mainstream. On the checks and balances issue: the Senate has the right to advise and consent. Implicit in that is the notion that they act reasonably. It is not reasonable to deny someone the privilege to serve the President simply because you disagree with them. Barring criminality or mental incompetency, the President should get whomever he or she wants to lead with him/her. That’s the culture. Otherwise, you have endless conflict based on nothing but politics. Election shave consequences

                  1. Mespo,
                    Was the shave comment a Freudian slip about Trump’s hair? 😉

                    I see your reasoning about allowing presidents wide latitude in picking their cabinets.

                    However, I cannot agree with you entirely about extremism. ‘Everybody’s doing it’ does not make it right. We are operating off slightly different definitions or perspectives on extremism. A town full of racists means the town is full of extremists, no matter how ‘mainstream’ their abhorrent views are to them.

                    Safe space nonsense is ‘mainstream’ on college campuses, but is still extremist and wrong.

              2. the Senate approves appointments until then they are nominees awaiting confirmation. If Congress creates a new agency or department it may vest appointees with their duties. Article I

                However in . real life up until next January they just did what Obeyme ordered them to do . …

                I really want to see a long long list of rescinded everything he did on his own

                Note: Some dip DINO finally got around to filing a reversal on the War Powers Act….Where the hell has that SFB been for eight years?

          2. More in line with the Constitutional System minus the extremists in whatever direction. In looking back I find that much of the problems started with the Wilson Administration. Not that there weren’t problems before. the Civil War being the main event. But for a brand new type of government featuring citizens as the source of power it seem to solve things as it went along. Now solving means how to make it worse.

        3. mespo – they way they finally had the game rigged was you just said you were filibustering and it was done. You didn’t have do any actual work.

          1. Right you are. It was Flag-man filibustering. Just threaten it and everyone rushes for the exits. Reason enough right there to render it extinct.

    2. We didn’t elect them to get along they are supposed to represent opposing views and if they can’t come to agreement it isn’t supposed to happen. Bi-Partisanship, Cross-Partisanship are other names for agree with me and do as I tell you. We just got rid of a lot of that and I hope the Republicans remember the lesson of sleeping with the other side this time. They aren’t out of the woodshed yet.

      The center is not the center of the left it’s the Constitution in this Constitutional Republic based on a foundation of representative democratic principles. It’s not about a socialist autocracy. If the either or both parties want to play stupid the ultimate source of power are the voters – and they have a useful tool called recall.Only slave states that don’t have recall must wait for the next election.

      I expect to see some more housecleaning and swamp draining needed before the Republicans In Name Only are changed out. One battle at a time. The fat lady hasn’t begun warm up scales yet.

      1. We must be careful. Replacing RINOs does not guarantee new blood will respect the Constitution.

        Same with DINOs.

        1. I left DINOs now known as Socialist Progressives at their own request to leave room for another comment.

          As to what guarantee? One for sure and this an after the fact result of a pre vote comment.

          That one said if you vote for Hillary it’s 100% for certain sure you will get a socialist autocracy. Trump is like buying a lottery ticket. Pick your number take your chance.

          For sure he was a flawed ‘political’ candidate but most saw it as a possibility with not other viable choices. Turned out better than we hoped for but not all we had hoped for.

          Still ….he has to work with an existing Congress full of Rinos and Dino’s at least until we get rid of more of them. Personally I’ll feel a lot safer when the New Republicans change their name to the Constitutional Republic Party. It’s a hundred year revolution we’re trying to dismantle. The Fourth Branch alone will fight it tooth and nail.

          But they have a fatal flaw in their not so secure sinecure.

        2. As for curing the present antics of congress the answer is to return to the States that which the Congress has no powers granted. and worse has granted their legislative authority to unsupervised agencies along with judicial and executive functions. The Executive administrates those laws passed by Congress and signed by a President.

          Any material change requires a vote of congress as they are, in effect, amendments. If Congress needs professional technical support – those providing it come under the Legislative branch.

          The same applies to courts. or any judicial functions. They don’t belong in the Executive Branch.

          All it takes is cutting them from the budget request and directing Treasury not to honor requests for same from other branches – adding it to that of the Congress or the Judicial Branch.

          The second move is pulling security clearances. The authority was given to the President and the National Security Agency. with a report to Congress. For example. EPA you didn’t do the job in Flint we are now shutting down your operation and investigating all of your investigations and related items. Former EPA leadership I don’t trust you. Your clearance is revoked. Hit the bricks. intent has nothing to do with it but repeated or massive failures have everything to do with.it.

          That should reduce the Executive Branch by 30 plus percent in short order if there is also a hiring freeze.

          That axe can easily fall in a number of places Dept of Education for starters. Congress failed to authorize them with an Amendment. Power not granted. Shut them down. Then ask to have that amount of funding moved to the States in the form of cuts in federal taxes.

          Can’t take credit for any of these seed ideas. But I wouldn’t argue their use. After all it is a power the current administration has used over and over ….Executive Management Decisiojn

  4. Obama a War Criminal in 2005
    Evidence: Obama Funding War Crimes in 2005-2007
    More reasons Barack Obama should be in prison
    Obama was a War Criminal back in 2005-2007 voting War Funding for Wars of Aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.
    Upon entering the Senate in 2005 through April 2007 Obama voted for every war-funding bill that came before him. Obama, despite his anti-war rhetoric, cast at least 10 votes for war-funding bills. Funding a War of Aggression is a War Crime, each vote was a War Crime. Obama and co-conspirators are guilty in the deaths and maiming of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. Some estimate as many as 1,500,000 Iraqis have died due to the US-led illegal war. Obama approved funds which were used to buy bombs and bullets to murder and maim tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan children – in your name. Anybody who supported or supports Obama has blood on their hands.

  5. You’re always beating up on blacks. Well, the illegitimacy rate began to climb appreciably among blacks 7 years before the revolution in welfare expenditure which ran from 1965 to 1975. It hit a plateau around 1990, before there was any welfare reform at all. Illegitimacy is a cultural phenomenon influenced to a degree by economic incentives. It’s not an economic phenomenon per se. Non-professionals like RM Kaus who studied social policy for their magazine journalism and policy wonks like Lawrence Mead would have told you this a generation ago.

    1. With a 72% plus illegitimate birth rate, the son of guns ought to be beat up on. Then, the sorry rascals have the nerve to blame their dire economic circumstances on white folks! And then some really stupid white folks, mostly the college-educated ones, are dumb enough to accept the guilt! What a crock of hooey!

      I don’t care about nobody’s darn study, PERIOD. You can look at the dang chart and see when the illegitimate birth rate took off! And that was at a time when both birth control pills and abortions became widely available. If anything, illegitimate births should have decreased. You can craft a study to say whatever you want it to, and the Welfare State is a money maker and power center for a lot of people.

      As far as I am concerned, we need to scrap Black History Month, and replace it with Black Shame Month, where blacks can be castigated for their sorry and trashy behavior in producing the 72%+ illegitimate kid rate, and the related way out-sized contribution to crime in the country. And not to mention their gross refusal to take advantage of schooling, and near absolute refusal to accept responsibility for their own bad behavior. As a realist, I am not holding my breath. The Democrats require barefoot pregnant blacks to keep them in power.

      Our country has basically put its future generations $20+ Trillion in debt to encourage black women to produce illegitimate kids, half of which wind up in prison, and the other half which will go on to produce more illegitimate kids to continue the nonsense. And yes, I know there are numerically more white people who do this, but most of us don’t feel sorry for them. It is the misplaced sympathy/worship of blacks which allows this to continue. Until it can’t. Which is getting closer. IMHO.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

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  7. Anyone that is trying to cope with headache, strain, and excruciating pain – should pause and remember that
    ALL successful politicians believe in everything.

    For general ocular relief, pls. ask the owner of this blog to use a darker typeface.

        1. Uh, I think I may have missed your major point. Was it that all successful politicians believe in everything? If so, I am not really sure about that. I will have to think about it some.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

    1. “The existence of the Secretary and Department system -is covered to the following extgent in paragraph 2 section II The key words are int he middle section I split it up for easy reading.

      He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court,

      and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”

      I found nothing that gives the Congress the power to set up any of these with all three functions, Executive, Judicial, Legislative only in the words ‘in the President alone.’ But that doesn’t give them powers of the three branches only says Congress may vest the appointments.

      Another case of the Wilson through present administration ignoring the Constitution .

  8. If there was a filibuster back when the Democrats were persueing the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker kickback, who knows maybe the ACA could have been stopped.

  9. On a related matter: I often go out for breakfast, the only time I actually glance at MSM news (TV at the restaurant). I noticed the Democratic owned MSM (CNN, Clinton News Network, AKA scum of the earth) decided not to wait till Trump is sworn in to start their condemnation of Trump as a war monger. Same as when Bush was in office. Every God-forsaken Democrat in the world shall soon be labeling Trump a killer, a war monger, etc, etc.

    I’m not so stupid nor such a liar as to deny Bush and his henchman Cheney belong in prison for Iraq and Afghanistan, because they do. But anyone who says Obama has not made both nations worse, whilst also betraying his Campaign promise to end both wars, and also starting three wars (Libya, Syria, and supplying the Al Saud crime syndicate w/weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen), is a liar and/or naive. But of course, we’ve heard not one peep for the last eight years from Democrats concerning Obama’s war mongering and blood shed, personally causing the world’s worse refugee crisis since WW2.

    If the USA had not decided on another in an infinite line of failed “regime changes” in Syria (replacing Al Assad,) if the USA had not supplied alleged “moderate rebels” w/weapons (guess who they plan to kill w/these weapons later?), and tactical support, Syria’s civil war never happens.

    Please, Google images for “Syria rubble” and “Libya rubble,” look in the mirror, pat yourself on the back, and say, “My tax dollars at work.” Witness Woodrow Wilson’s utterly failed plans to spread democracy around the globe.

    1. I’m not so stupid nor such a liar as to deny Bush and his henchman Cheney belong in prison for Iraq and Afghanistan, because they do.

      You’re a fanatic and a cretin who fancies he’s something better than that.

  10. But the mainstream media has no memory. It will insist that this is all a Republican machination. It will claim that these shenanigans are entirely one sided, and all Trump’s fault.

  11. The Lee Atwater “Southern Strategy” is still in play in the GOP. Trump is a bit different about courting the bigots. But what will come into play is a loss of bigots and poor whites and other middle roaders when the affordable care act is elminated. You will be up against the wall Redneck Mothers. This blog article is all for The Southern Strategy and Trumpism.

    I have one more day in the mental ward and then will be set free. I will drop the last name Oswald on my next comment here when I am out. I need a new computer too. I went in dumb and am coming out without one too.

    1. I really don’t think the Southern Strategy worked anymore then LBJ locking up the black vote for 20 years. It is already starting to turn.

      1. Didn’t LBJ predict his “Great Society” would, “…lock up the black vote for two hundred years?”

        I define the Democratic Great Society as Democrat promoting, celebrating, and institution of single black motherhood, whilst removing any guilt or shame prior associated w/such activity. Government instituted the government purchase of food, clothing, and shelter for these single black mothers, thus eliminating any need for black fathers beyond conception. Both parties under Clinton iced the cake by incarcerating the unnecessary black fathers for petty crimes like personal use of marijuana. This had the simultaneous benefit of being a huge boon for the prison building and prison officer industries. Then-Senator HRC coined the term “predatory blacks” to further husband Bill’s cause in all these matters.

        Way to go, Dems!

        1. The illegitimacy rate among the general population is as we speak 40% of all live births. The Great Society did not do that. TANF has an enrollment 1/3 of its predecessor AFDC and it’s had no readliy detectable effect on illegitimacy rates. Illegitimacy is more common among blacks (72%), but three quarters of the illegitimate births in this country are born to non-blacks. Most are from wage-earning families who have no more than temporary and episodic contact with the welfare system.

          1. Hogwash! AFDC is the direct and proximate cause of the illegitimacy! Sheeesh, just look at the durn chart:


            The problem is, once the cat was out of the bag, and marriage was no longer an economic necessity, subsequent changes in welfare have had less effect. True that TANF is supposed to be temporary, but that is the problem with Liberals. They break things, and once broken, it takes something dramatic to fix the problem.

            Now, the only chance you have to affect the unwed birth rate is two-fold:

            1. Complete withdrawal of all Federal subsidies except Food Stamps and Medicaid. No more housing vouchers, and tighten up the crazy checks.

            2. Remove child support requirements for “unwed” fathers, and put the financial onus back on women. If you get knocked up outside of marriage, you and and your child are on your own. No child support enforcement unless the kid was legitimate.

            What this will do is force most unwed mothers back into the arms of their families, charities, and churches. Who, will not be nearly as tolerant of the second, third, or fourth illegitimate child.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

      2. There was no ‘Southern Strategy’, as the term is commonly used by witless partisan Democrats. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan did not give a rip about segregationist diehards. None of them had any investment in the ancien regime in the South and even Strom Thurmond gave up on all that after 1971. Segregationist nostalgiacs received nothing from any Republican administration in office between 1968 and 1993. Beginning in 1952, the cultural bias in favor of the Democratic Party in the South among white voters began to erode. As the various components of legally-enforced segregation fell, the point of having a monolithic bloc vote to defend them dissipated. Thenceforth, the 2d and 3d priorities of white Southern voters came to the fore and voting Republican came to be more prevalent as yellow-dog Democrats in the older age cohorts died off and were replaced by young voters without that history. The whole process took over 40 years (from 1952 to 1994).

        The black electorate favored the Democratic Party during the years running from 1932 to 1960, but by margins of 2.5-1 or 4-1, not 10-1 as has been the case since. Since the Republican Party has never been antagonistic to blacks qua blacks (and the Democratic Party has), that’s an anomaly worth unpacking.

        1. Strange then how republican politicians throughout the state legislatures are actively working to make it harder (as a Judge said with “surgical precision” to make it harder for black and other minority voters to vote. That sounds antagonistic to me.

          1. No, it sounds ‘antagonistic’ because you’re making crap up and expecting the rest of the world to behave as if it were true. Any administrative requirement regarding suffrage is an ‘impediment’ to some actor or another; it’s a question of trade-offs. The requirement in question, that the voter flash a picture ID, is trivial. Everyone knows that, which is why no one takes the objections of Democratic partisans seriously on this point. They just impugn people’s motives, because that’s all they know how to do. In reality, they’re upset about incremental measures which will disrupt vote fraud.

          2. Jerome – one thing I have learned in life is that often judges are wrong. That is why we have appeals courts.

              1. Toads – I live in the Ninth Circuit, the most over-turned circuit in the US.

                1. Yessiree, The USSCourt has little toleration for enlightened lower court decisions,

    2. The yo-yos who babble about ‘Southern Strategy’ seem to fancy that Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern did not want the votes of white Southerners.

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