The “No Filibuster” Excuse

Harry Reid, the spineless Majority Leader of the Senate, has finally come out and explained why he cannot force Republicans to follow through with their filibuster threats.

Apparently, because of the rules of the Senate, the idea that someone has to actually stand up and talk for endless hours is something you only really get to see in the movies. The reality is, that in 1917, the Senate changed the rules to make it easy for the minority party to opposed different bills.

In other words, all the Republicans have to do is plant a dupe on the floor at all times. If someone tries to force a cloture vote, all this Senator has to do is say, “I suggest the absence of a quorum.”

I am not ready to go for the nuclear option yet, but it just chaps my hide that

a. Harry Reid can’t out-manuver the Republicans at least once in a while

b. Republicans — the minority Party — only has to say “no”, and they become the more powerful Party in the Senate without having to work for it.

I was all set to support the nuclear option and simply get rid of the whole shebang until I read a comment from ObieWonA at HuffPo:

The dems need to push through a simple and seemly innocent change to the cloture rules. Instead of reducing the number of votes required for cloture (as some have suggested) simply require that 40 votes be needed to PREVENT cloture. That would continue to give the minority the same power they have now but would require them to keep ALL of their members present to prevent cloture. Let’s see how commited they are to blocking votes then.

Freakin’ brilliant! This is the kind of thinking we NEED in the Majority Leader’s office. Not only does it preserve the right of the minority, but it also makes them actually have to BE the minority party and work to overcome the majority.

Note to Harry Reid: That size 14 shoe you have up your ass is mine. It is there to get you to either DO something Majority-like, or get the hell out of the way.