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Against Filibusters Before Being For Them

By The Reverend Published: November 8, 2008

I've listened to Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republican senator who's not John McCain. He has never struck me as effectively persuasive and, at times, appears a bit dullard-like. I'm sure it's just my misconceptions...whatever....but Jon Kyl is now issuing warnings to President-elect Barack Obama about Supreme Court nominees.

Jon Kyl, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate, warned president-elect Barack Obama that he would filibuster U.S. Supreme Court appointments if those nominees were too liberal.

The Senate breakdown stands at 57 to 40 in favor of the Democrats with races in Minnesota, Alaska and Georgia still to be decided. U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., also needs to decide which party to caucus with. Republicans will need 41 votes to filibuster Obama nominees and Democratic legislation. The Arizona senator acknowledged that could be a challenge. Link

I really don't care what Kyl says, however, the last sentence above, I think, is telling. Jon Kyl thinks that filibusters in the Senate from the Republicans' weakened position "could be a challenge." This is good news for voters who would like to see legislation passed in the Senate to change America. The state of Maine has two very moderate Republican senators in Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. They have often voted with the Democrats in the past and will very likely do so in the next Congress. Other Republican senators up for re-election in 2010, like George Voinovich of Ohio for example, will be difficult to harness into some lock-step Republican army of obstruction. While it is true that there are a handful of weaklings in the Democratic Senatorial caucus, Kyl's admission that filibustering "could be a challenge", presumably, takes that fact into consideration.

As far as this coming Congress is concerned, filibustering basically means that majority Democrats in the Senate need 60 votes to pass a cloture vote on a bill that will then be debated and eventually voted upon by the entire Senate.

For those anxious for change to come to the House, Democrats will be able to do pretty much whatever they want to do. It has always been the Senate where GOP obstructionists have found success in stopping legislation that Americans actually were in favor of.

Perhaps now, with such a big win on Tuesday for the Democrats, even the monkey wrench throwing tactic of defensive obstruction in the form of a GOP filibuster will be a "challenge".

But....look at what Jon Kyl had to say about, you know, filibustering Supreme Court nominees while George W. Bush was president....when Democrats were in the minority....

"This is strictly about whether or not a minority of senators is going to prevent the president from being able to name and get confirmed judges that he chooses after he's been elected by the American people. And it's never been the case until the last two years that a minority could dictate to the majority what they could do." Link

Now do you see why I find Jon Kyl less that credible? He's a changeling. 2005, when Kyl's GOP senators held a thin majority status, a filibuster of Bush Supreme Court nominees by the minority Democrats was simply unacceptable and wrong. Now that Kyl and his GOP fellows in the Senate find themselves in minority status with Democratic President Barack Obama in the position to do the Supreme Court vacancy nominating thing (should a vacancy occur)....Kyl says that not only is filibustering appropriate, but that he will be the one leading it.

Elections have consequences. Elections can expose hypocritical, double dealing, fork tongued, convictionless Senators for who they really are.



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