“Whatever it Takes” Politics: Biden Reverses His Earlier Support of the Filibuster Rule

We recently discussed how Democratic members and staffers are now repeating the same phrase that they will push through immigration reform, spending bills, and other items “by any means necessary.” That includes packing the Supreme Court and sacking nonpartisan staffers like the Senate Parliamentarian. President Joe Biden has now joined the movement by casting aside prior principles that he long defended to achieve his own agenda. He told ABC anchor David Muir that he is reversing his position on the filibuster and would support its curtailment in order to federalize election rules. It is part of what the President now says is a strategy to muscle through the legislation by “whatever it takes.”

President Biden has never been a prisoner to principle. As discussed in an earlier column, he has spent his career as a largely opportunistic actor who tends to go where the polls rather than principles take him. However, one principle that he has not been willing to jettison (until now) was the filibuster.

As a senator, Biden was vehement in his opposition to those who wanted to curtail the filibuster. He called such efforts “disastrous” and proclaimed: “God save us from that fate … [it] would change this fundamental understanding and unbroken practice of what the Senate is all about.” His colleagues, including then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and now-Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), gave equally full-throated endorsements of the rule being denounced today as a thoroughly racist relic.

Despite remaining silent for much of the year as groups denounced the filibuster as a “racist relic,” Biden finally summoned up the courage to again reaffirm his opposition to curtailing the filibuster rule. Rather than risk the ire of his party, he explained it as a purely strategic decision while stating that he still supports the filibuster.

With the Build Back Better legislation blocked in the Senate, pressure was building on Biden to drop his opposition. Democrats are particularly adamant that they need to take over election rules and force states to adopt new rules before the midterm elections. To make the case, many in the media have been hyping the argument that the rule is a “relic of the Jim Crow period.” Putting aside the factual and historical errors, Biden was facing a test between principle and politics. His choice was, if nothing else, predictable.

In pushing to preempt state election laws, Muir asked Biden “are you prepared to support fundamental changes in the Senate rules to get this done?”  Biden responded “yes.” Muir then asked “what does that mean?” Biden responded “that means whatever it takes.”

There is nothing more chilling than a president declaring that he will do “whatever it takes” to achieve his goals, including changing what he called the “fundamental understanding and unbroken practice of what the Senate is all about.”

While President Biden may have found his natural resting place in a conflict between politics and principle, the move against the filibuster rule will only aggravate our deep divisions.  The Democrats would force through a sweeping federalization of state election laws for the first time in our history. It would federally preempt the laws in dozens of states and declare that Congress, not state legislatures, will now dictate how people vote in states from New Hampshire to Idaho to Oregon.

I previously wrote why the filibuster rule was designed for times like this:

Pushing through such controversial measures with bare majorities and on straight party lines will only deepen the divisions and increase the rage in this country. So this is precisely a time when the filibuster can play a positive role, by forcing legislation to pass with a modest level of bipartisan support. It requires consensus and compromise at a time of growing, violent division.

The filibuster has gone through historic controversies through the centuries, from opposing Caesar to opposing civil rights. But as a consensus-forcing rule, its time may have arrived, to the chagrin of many.

 

177 thoughts on ““Whatever it Takes” Politics: Biden Reverses His Earlier Support of the Filibuster Rule”

  1. To one and all

    Slavery and slaves are at the foundation of Western Monotheism.

    Two small examples.

    First from the second story, biblical myth, so-called Exodus, attributed from the Hebrew “God” to a one “Moses.” (Note: what or how are “Hebrew” slaves differentiated from “goyim slaves?)

    Second from the biblical Hebrew super hero, to a “Jesus of Nazareth.”

    Exodus 21; Slavery;
    1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.
    2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
    3 If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
    4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.
    5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:
    6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
    7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
    8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
    9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
    10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
    11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.
    12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.
    13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee.
    14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.
    15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.
    16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
    17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
    18 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed:
    19 If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.
    20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.
    21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.
    22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
    23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
    24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
    25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
    26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake.
    27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.
    28 If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.
    29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.
    30 If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.
    31 Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.
    32 If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
    33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein;
    34 The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.
    35 And if one man’s ox hurt another’s, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide.
    36 Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.
    King James Version (KJV)

    Jesus: biblical Hebrew super hero
    slavery; slaves
    Matthew 18:25; Luke 12:47 and Matthew 24:51

    Jesus not only condones owning slaves, but also recommends beating and killing slaves. Matthew 18:25; Luke 12:47 and Matthew 24:51

    Matthew 18:25, where Jesus uses slaves in a parable and has no qualms about recommending that not only a slave but also his wife and family be sold, while in other parables Jesus recommends that disobedient slaves should be beaten (Luke 12:47) or even killed (Matthew 24:51).

    Christian apologists attempt to justify the “Bible’s” slavery passages.

    Argument 1: “Slavery in the Bible was more enlightened than that of 17th-19th century America and other ancient Near East cultures.”
    Even granting this point for the sake of argument, this fails to answer the simple question: is owning another human ever moral, or not? The relative kindness of a slave owner does not enter into the basic moral question of owning other humans as property.
    Argument 2: “They could be let go after 6 years” or “It was a mechanism for protecting those who could not pay their debts.” (a.k.a. “Debt bondage”)
    “Hebrew slaves were to be freed in the 7th year (Exodus 21:2, Deuteronomy 15:12-18). Slaves from surrounding countries could be kept as property forever (Leviticus 25:44-46). A further exception pertains to women whose fathers sold them into slavery, and for whom there was no release after six years ( Exodus 21:7)
    Argument 3: The Bible restricted slave owners’ actions (Exodus 21:20).
    Exodus 21:20 does mandate punishment for a master who kills a slave with a rod, but the very next verse says “But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property” (NRSV). The NIV, by contrast, translates this verse as “if the slave recovers after a day or two”, which changes its meaning. Either way, the emphasis is that the slave is first and foremost property, and therefore the greatest loss is to the owner, whose slave was “as good as money”.
    Argument 4: “Slavery was allowed by God because of the time period, but was not the ideal will of God.”
    There are many ways a creative, all-knowing and all-powerful deity could make it clear that slavery is immoral while, for instance, giving the Israelite economy a grace period to let slavery “wind down”, should that be necessary. The passages concerning slavery from the
    Pentateuch (e.g. Exodus 21:2-7; Leviticus 25:44-46),
    by contrast, provide guidelines that allow for slavery to continue indefinitely. New Testament writers, too, who had an opportunity to overturn or clarify the Pentateuch’s instructions, did not do so.
    Also it seems improbable that a God who was capable of assassinating Israelites by the thousand if they did not follow his instructions to the letter would balk at telling them to give up slaves.
    Argument 5: “The term ‘slave’ is a poor translation. It should be ‘servant’.”
    This may be plausible in some contexts, but not for Leviticus 25:46, which specifically allows that slaves are property who may be inherited by the owner’s children and kept for life. This passage makes no sense unless they are discussing slavery — permanent ownership of one human by another — as we know it today.
    Jesus’ Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
    (Matthew 18:23) makes no sense if said “servant” is not a slave, since the master has the power to sell both the “servant”, his wife and his children (Matthew 18:25).
    It also makes little sense in the case of Matthew 24:51 in which these “servants” may be not only beaten by their master (as in Luke 12:47), but that the master “shall cut him asunder” in the words of the King James translation.

    Sometimes people don’t want to hear (know?) the truth because it destroys their illusions.

    dennis hanna

    1. To one and all
      Slavery and slaves are at the foundation of Western Monotheism..

      Africans enslaved Africans before Westerners engaged in the practice. Asia was involved prior to the Atlantic Slave trade, as were the Arabs, Romans, Greeks, etc. Its OK that you hate Truth / God, but at least give proper attribution to your Prince of Lies

      Unlike the Atlantic slave trade, the transportation of slaves from Africa to Asia and the Mediterranean was of great antiquity. The earliest evidence of the trade comes from a carving in stone from 2900 BCE at the Second Cataract depicting a boat on the Nile packed with Nubian captives for enslavement in Egypt. Over the next five thousand years, slaves captured in war and raids or purchased in the market were marched down the Nile, across the Sahara Desert to the Mediterranean, or transported over the Red Sea and from the East African coast to Asia. The dynastic Egyptians also took slaves from the Red Sea region and the Horn of Africa, known to them as Punt. Phoenician settlers along the North African littoral enslaved the peoples of the immediate hinterland. The Greek and the Roman rulers of Egypt continued the practice of raids into Nubia, and sent military expeditions from their cities along the southern Mediterranean shore, which returned with slaves from the Fezzan and the highlands of the Sahara. African slaves, like those from Europe, were used in the households, fields, mines, and armies of Mediterranean and Asian empires, but Africans were only a modest portion of the Roman slave community because the abundant supply of slaves from Asia Minor and Europe was more than adequate for the economic and military needs of the empire. Not surprisingly, African slaves were more numerous in the Roman cities of the Mediterranean littoral.

      There can be no precise estimate of the number of slaves exported from Africa to the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East, and the Indian Ocean before the arrival of the Arabs in Africa during the seventh century. Between 800 and 1600, the quantity of evidence for the estimated volume of slaves improves slightly. Until the seventeenth century, the evidence is derived mostly from accounts of travelers and descriptions of slave markets in the commercial towns of North Africa, from which only maximum and minimum numbers at best can be extrapolated, given the paucity of direct data. There is, however, a considerable amount of indirect evidence from accounts of the trade, and evidence of strong demand for slaves for military service, from which general estimates of the Asian slave trade can be proposed.

      https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/abs/history-of-subsaharan-africa/asian-slave-trade/20938F6ADC9096FD22BDDCA5C581F1CF

      Sometimes people don’t want to hear (know?) the truth because it destroys their illusions.

      LBJ sends his regards for enslaving all those uppity n******* to vote for Democrats

      Pps. Troll harder, cupcake

    2. Despite people perhaps not wanting to hear the truth… what about that case in which you deliberately or unwittingly obfuscate the truth, as you do in the case of unwarranted excess attribution of intent, concerning the passage of Matthew, which you say “recommends beating and killing slaves?” It’s kind of ironic that you don’t include the text, and just make an assertion about the contents of that particular passage, while you reprint the entirety of a passage from the old testament. One might be tempted to think you had an axe to grind, and didn’t really care about the facts, or are you just ignorant? You are regardless making a gross conflation of terms. You are making a reductionist argument, by saying that the whole point of that story is a “recommendation.”

      Suppose someone’s trying to give you advice, and they use an example from, say, a cartoon you’re familiar with to make an analogy about a problem you’re dealing with; and let’s say that, leaving aside that the character from said cartoon has magical powers, and routinely performs actions you’re incapable of replicating, are you going to ignore, or remain ignorant of the moral component of their advice, and simply say: “well that idiot was trying to tell me to leap over a seven story building”?

  2. It could be argued that the rebel nobles of England created their own rights when the Magna Carta was drafted.

  3. The Founders would have put the Declaration of Independence together with the Constitution if only they could have gotten the collator to work on the copying machine.

  4. Why is it okay for the left to provoke the right with offensive art, but not the other way around? Why the double standard?

    1. Dostoyevsky writes in “The Brothers Karamazov” of a women who told the priest of the village that she wasn’t sure that heaven existed. The priest responded that she need not worry and that she only had to believe in love. She declared that she believed in love and that she loved her family with all her heart. The priest basically explained to her that not all things are provable but love is the one constant that we can base our lives on. Do you love your family and if so why? Who says that love is real? Can you explain love with a scientific formula? Can you touch love? Can you explain without a doubt through a scientific process that love exists? If you only believe in what you can see or feel you must go to your family tomorrow on Christmas Day and tell them that you no longer love them because empirical evidence proving that love is real does not exist. However, if you do believe in love where do you suppose it came from? Merry Christ’s Day.

      1. Thinkit:

        “Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures in order to occupy and amuse himself, and in his vices reaches complete beastiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and himself. A man who lies to himself is often the first to take offense. It sometimes feels very good to take offense, doesn’t it? And surely he knows that no one has offended him, and that he himself has invented the offense and told lies just for the beauty of it, that he has exaggerated for the sake of effect, that he has picked up on a word and made a mountain out of a pea–he knows all of that, and still he is the first to take offense, he likes feeling offended, it gives him great pleasure, and thus he reaches the point of real hostility…”

        ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

        There has never been a hand more suited to pen and paper than the one attached to Fyodor Dostoevsky.

  5. Interpreting the thoughts and actions of Joe Biden is becoming a useless exercise, considering that he uttered the following today:

    “Let’s go Brandon, I agree”

    1. Anonymous, the constitution was writing by men who were influenced by Gods word concerning the freedom of man. If man alone is the arbiter of freedom than who is to say that slavery is not justified because some men say that it should be continued. In our nation there were people of God who believed that all men including black men should be free because God declared it to be so. From their belief sprung the Underground Railroad. You should commit yourself to the study of the original concept of freedom and where it came from. If you study history you will find that the idea of freedom was not even considered in ancient times. The declaration of God continues even though men have implemented it both slowly and poorly. But God presses on to say that men do not belong to other men. He includes you.

      1. Slavery is allowed by the bible. The only form of government in the bible is monarchy. Not much freedom there. I can find no place in the Constitution that is based on the bible.

        1. Sammy, from The Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Please pay special attention to the words “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Then theirs the part about freedom of religion. You should look more closely at the document. Hopefully it won’t be the first time that you have actually read it.

          1. The Declaration of Independence is not the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence was written by a few people and was in no way legally binding. The constitution was written by far more people and ratified by the states. The constitution is not in any way based on the bible.

            1. Peter Shill is back

              Sammy says: December 24, 2021 at 12:49 PM
              What has Biden done that makes him a divider? He tried to get Republican support for his bills. He does not spend every day making school yard level insults at his political and social opponents. Biden is bland and normal.

            2. Sammy, The Declaration of Independence was written by the same men who wrote the constitution. To think that they left out their principles considering rights endowed by their creator makes no sense. The rights considered in the declaration were the same rights they incorporated in the writing of the Constitution. To say there is no connection is simply to deny the obvious in order to maintain your world view. I know. It’s your story and your sticking to it even if you have to make it up as you go along.

              1. So because DoI references God, because some of the same people who wrote that also wrote the Constitution, you think the Constitution has biblical roots, even though there is nothing in it that remotely looks like it came from the bible? Nope.

                1. “Nope.”

                  Amazing, isn’t it?

                  They latch onto a single phrase in the DoI, while ignoring the glorious work of reason in the rest of that document, in the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and countless other documents and speeches. And somehow they miss the fact that the concepts of “individualism” and “individual rights” (championed by thinkers such as Locke), animated the Founders.

                  Then they completely evade an obvious historical fact: That the Bible was the foundational document for the Dark/Middle Ages combined power of church and state, and for its centuries of feudalism.

                  1. “…while ignoring the glorious work of reason in the rest of that document, in the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and countless other documents and speeches. And somehow they miss the fact that the concepts of “individualism” and “individual rights” (championed by thinkers such as Locke), animated the Founders.”

                    Like slavery. We are soooooooo thankful, in the US Constitution no less, for their use of reason, in enslaving Africans as instrumental to the economy of the colonies and new nation.

                    Gotta love that reason shtick!!

                    Rights for me, not for Africans slaves, women, immigrants, yada yada yada

                    Well done!!!

                    1. “Like slavery.”

                      If that is the sum total of your understanding of the founding documents, you are a lost cause.

                      Those who play the slavery card never acknowledge the following fact: That the founding documents, and the Founder’s enshrinement of individualism, contained the seeds of slavery’s destruction.

                    2. “Those who play the slavery card never acknowledge the following fact: That the founding documents, and the Founder’s enshrinement of individualism, contained the seeds of slavery’s destruction.”

                      Well done.

                    3. Ahhh the slaves is a legacy from the British Empire, you did not expect them to just let go of all that expensive and important labor just like that did you? Just think of it, they needed this labor so much they had them imported by ships, by the way the Pope was the one who gave permission since the Africans were godless heathens and no Christians would have to be slaves under this arrangement so you can stand in line with all the other victims of the Catholic Church for your reparations. By the way my ancestors were attacked and enslaved by Rome for a bit where are mine?

                    4. AFRICAN SLAVES COULD NEVER BE A PROBLEM FOR AMERICA
                      _____________________________________________________

                      Naturalization Act of 1802

                      United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

                      “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof,…”
                      ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

                      African tribal leaders abducted and sold fellow Africans to Arab slave traders who sold them to British shippers who sold them to British planters in the British colonies.

                      Americans came into existence in 1789; they were aware of the inevitable end of slavery of necessity before and after the Constitution was ratified.

                      Washington’s slaves were freed by execution of his will.

                      Indeed, per the Naturalization Act of 1802, all freed slaves must have been compassionately repatriated, or immediately and summarily deported, in 1863, upon the issuance of the unconstitutional Emancipation Proclamation.

                      “Crazy Abe” Lincoln was a criminal tyrant and despot who must have been impeached and convicted for the perpetration of his unconstitutional “Reign of Terror,” his failure to abide by and to support the Constitution, and his failure to deport illegal alien freed slaves.

                      America was and remains a “society of laws.”

                      Or not.

                  2. “They latch onto a single phrase in the DoI, while ignoring the glorious work of reason in the rest of that document”

                    Such actions define a shallow person. Shallow people with strong uneducated opinions sometimes have to hide and change identities because they have little to offer. That is what is happening here.

            3. Not legally binding? Then the signers of the DoI were just being overly dramatic with the lives, fortunes and sacred honor bit?

              The DoI described what a just and enduring government should be. (Natural Law) It detailed how far the British government’s positive law was from the ideal natural law. The constitution was designed to close that gap.

              The constitution is not in any way based on the bible.

              🤣 no, of course not. Certainly the same people that sacrificed everything to declare independence a decade earlier, had abandoned their faith to write the constitution. Right. Because they had a change of heart about God and natural rights after all.

            4. The Declaration of Independence is not the Constitution.

              Correct.

              The constitution is defined in a private letter written by a politician to the leaders of church. That is true constitution.

              “The separation of Church and State…”

              Not the silly, Declaration of Independence.

      2. “[T]he constitution was writing by men who were influenced by” Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke.

        Now the quote’s historically and textually accurate.

        If religion is responsible for the Constitution, what took so long? That ideology dominated the West for some 1,000 years (the Dark/Middle Ages). Why was the Constitution created only *after* the Renaissance (the rebirth of reason) and during the Enlightenment (the widespread application of reason)?

        “[T]he idea of freedom was not even considered in ancient times.”

        A history of the concepts “freedom” and “liberty” says otherwise. The concepts were, in fact, seriously “considered” by both the ancient Greeks and the Romans.

        1. If religion is responsible for the Constitution, what took so long?

          Stop making things up. Nobody is saying Religion is responsible for the constitution. The men that debated and drafted the Constitution were men of faith. Often Deists, Some, while men of faith, had little time for Church. But those men were well read in history, and noted tyrants almost always controlled people by using religion, or demanded the people adhere to the govt/ruler’s Church. ie The Church of England. The Church of England is the major driving force for preventing the new federal govt from forming a church, or denying the people their natural rights to worship without govt interference.
          Your obvious lack of knowledge concerning the men and times of the founding is exposed in every sentence you type.

    2. Did God leave any doubt for Adam and Eve? And yet..

      If everything is all part of God’s plan, then why does he get angry?

      Free will and human nature.

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