Saturday, November 23, 2013

Filibuster This

The post below calls out New Mexico's Democrats in Washington for leaving working people to fend for themselves while they tend to more important things like getting themselves re-elected. They are a pathetic lot, but in that post I excused Tom Udall, who like the rest of them makes regular pilgramages to the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce to kiss ass and make a speech about how they've been up there in Washington making sure they can go right on exploiting the working people people who vote for them, before he or she and their staff stuff their faces with the free buffet and start gathering up the envelopes with the campaign contributions.

Udall was excused because he's at least been doing something that benefits us. He's been speaking out against NSA domestic spying, and he's been pushing to limit the ability of Republicans to use tactics like the filibuster to stall nominations, mainly to the courts, which is a critical issue. Last year he had the senate majority leader Harry Reid talked into doing it, but Reid later chickened out, saying he'd been promised by Republicans that they'd stop it, which of course was a lie.

Many people, including me, have worried that when Democrats are in the minority again they'll regret changing the filibuster rules, but I've been thinking about that. Democrats have been gutless when it comes to using tactics like the filibuster. I well remember our senator at the time Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat, when a contingent of Liberal Democrats was trying to filibuster the Supreme Court nominations first of Samuel Alito and later of John Roberts, voted for "cloture," meaning he voted to stop the filibuster.

That vote by Bingaman and a few other so-called Democrats, since Republicans were in the majority, assured the nominations would pass and that two more arch conservatives would be on the Supreme Court.

But then Bingaman, in a display of the utmost hypocrisy, with the nominations assured, voted against them on the senate floor, and then issued fine sounding statements telling us why he opposed them. Anyone who wasn't following closely -- the vast majority of people -- would be under false the impression that Bingaman had done the right thing.

Bingaman and Democrats like him, who have gone to Washington for the purpose of cashing in, and Bingaman cashed in immensely up there, accepting millions through his lobbyist wife of what a lot of people consider to be bribes, are why we have the most corporation friendly Supreme Court in history, and decisions like Citizens United allowing unlimited corporate funding of campaigns. It's why it's best to do away with the filibuster altogether, since only the Republican Party has the guts to use it.

Statistics are trickling out showing that nearly half of all the filibusters in US history have been used against President Obama, and that most of the rest were used against President Clinton. Another thing New Mexico's champions of the people in Washington aren't going to tell you.

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