Senate

Filibuster Rope-a-Dope?

Featured image Did the crafty Mitch McConnell just succeed in getting Democrats to damage their long-term interest by nuking the filibuster?  I’ve always defended the filibuster (and still do) as a valid anti-majoritarian device, especially useful for when fitful voters make a mistake as they did in 2008 (with the help of the Justice Department in Alaska and Al Franken’s cheating in Minnesota) and install a large Democratic majority in the Senate. »

Byrd! Thou should’st be living at this hour

Featured image The political debate over the use of the Senate’s filibuster rule to torpedo President Bush’s judicial nominees in 2005 triggered a series of reversals and pratfalls that support the low-comedy version of democratic politics. Among the most notable examples was the profile of former Ku Klux Klan kleagle and civil rights obstructionist Robert Byrd as a cornpone constitutionalist by reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg in — where else? — the New »

Landrieu’s approval rating plummets

Featured image Sen. Mary Landrieu’s approval rating has fallen by 10 percentage points in the last six months, according to poll by Southern Opinion & Media Research. Her rating now stands at 47 percent, dangerous territory for an incumbent. The plunge is attributable, no doubt, to the increasing unpopularity of Obamacare. The poll also tested Landrieu’s strength in a hypothetical three-way race against Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy and Tea Party backed Republican »

Harry Reid Goes Nuclear

Featured image Harry Reid invoked the nuclear option today, using a simple majority vote to change the Senate rule on filibusters with regard to federal judges at the district and court of appeals levels (but not the Supreme Court). Henceforth, such nominations cannot be filibustered and lower court judges can be confirmed by a simple majority vote. The repercussions of Reid’s action are likely to be far-reaching. The filibuster has always been »

Another fraud elected to the Senate

Featured image The people of New Jersey have elected Cory Booker to be their Senator. Booker handily defeated Republican Steve Lonegan in the race for the seat that opened up when Sen. Frank Lautenberg died (it was filled temporarily by a Republican appointed by Chris Christie). It looks like Booker will carry 55 percent of the vote. As Eliana Johnson has shown, Booker is a liar and a fraud. Yet he was »

The elusive Plan C

Featured image Tomorrow, the Senate will reject the House’s Plan B — i.e., to fund the federal government for the next few months, with: a one-year delay in Obamacare, repeal of the medical device tax, protection of servicemen’s salaries, and postponement of Obamacare’s requirement that employers pay for their employees’ birth control. The fact that Harry Reid has waited until tomorrow, and quite possibly tomorrow afternoon, to reject Plan B shows that »

Today’s Senate Votes, and What Lies Ahead

Featured image Today’s votes in the Senate were rather anticlimactic. Harry Reid pursued his announced strategy of bringing the House’s continuing resolution, which defunds Obamacare, up for a vote. The cloture motion passed 79-19, a disappointment to some conservatives who had hoped for more “no” votes. (A Senate staffer told me today that cloture opponents had hoped for 25 “no” votes.) The senators who voted “No” were Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz »

Cruz’s surrender caucus language boomerangs

Featured image Ted Cruz coined the term “surrender caucus” to describe Republicans who are reluctant to induce a government shutdown over the funding of Obamacare because they believe this move might very well cost the GOP its majority in the House. But now, when Cruz tries to inject a little realism of his own into the discussion, he is accused by some House Republicans of advocating surrender. For example, Rep. Sean Duffy »

The Foreign Relations Committee’s Second Vote

Featured image Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 to authorize a limited use of military force in Syria. Those voting for the resolution included Chris Coons, Robert Menendez, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin, Jeanne Shaheen, Dick Durbin and Tim Kaine, all Democrats, joined by Republicans Bob Corker, John McCain and Jeff Flake. The resolution was amended, at McCain’s insistence, in a manner that puts the U.S. on the side of the »

Live blogging the Syria hearing, Part Two

Featured image I’ll pick up now with Sen. Ron Johnson’s questioning. He’s pressing John Kerry hard, probably harder than any other Senator so far. He wants to know why, if we’re going to strike Assad, we don’t take him out. Is it because we don’t trust the forces that would come into power? No, says Kerry. We’re not willing to bear that cost, and the American people don’t want us to. Johnson »

A meaningless debate

Featured image From my vantage point during the past two weeks — 4,000 miles or so from Washington and following the news in only a perfunctory fashion — the debate within the Republican Party over bringing about a government shutdown in order to halt Obamacare seems meaningless and rather farcical. There simply aren’t 40 Republican Senators who are willing to go that route. The debate, therefore, is more about posturing than about »

Liz Cheney for U.S. Senator

Featured image John wrote here about the prospect of a Liz Cheney challenge to incumbent Republican Senator Mike Enzi. John presents general views on when a challenge to a Republican incumbent should be welcomed by conservatives, and, applying this analysis, he concludes that a Chaney challenge is not welcome. I mostly agree with John’s general analysis, but find myself in the unusual position of disagreeing with him about this specific case. I’m »

An early look at the 2014 Senate battleground

Featured image Nate Silver believes that Republicans “will end up with somewhere between 50 and 51 Senate seats after 2014, putting them right on the threshold of a majority.” He bases his conclusion on a race-by-race analysis of the seats being contested. In the key contests, Silver finds the probability of a Republican victory (and thus a pick-up) as follows: Alaska — 40 percent North Carolina — 45 percent Arkansas — 50 »

Republicans receive a major boost in Montana

Featured image Democrat Brian Schweitzer, the former governor of Montana, has announced that he won’t run for the Senate. The surprise announcement increases the likelihood that Republicans will pick up the Senate seat now held by Democrat Max Baucus, who is stepping down. The Republicans are already heavily favored to pick up seats in South Dakota and West Virginia. A Montana pick-up would leave them needing to gain only three more seats, »

Liz Cheney For Senate?

Featured image I admire Liz Cheney as much as anyone, but I can’t claim to be pleased to learn that she has moved from Washington to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and has told Senator Mike Enzi that she may run against him in next year’s GOP primary. In my view, Republicans (and conservatives) spend much too much time and energy attacking each other, rather than going after the Democrats. That doesn’t mean, of »

Senate invokes cloture on Gang’s Amnesty Legislation

Featured image The Senate has voted to end debate on the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill. This clears the way for passage. The vote was 67-31. Only 60 votes were required. Below is a list of the 13 Republican Senators who voted with the Democrats (who were unanimous) for cloture. I believe the “yea” vote is grounds for “primarying” every one of them, except for those who, when they last ran »

Corker and Hoeven were cheap dates

Featured image Chris Crane, president of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) National Council, has denounced the amendment of Sens. Corker and Hoeven to the Senate immigration reform bill. So too has Kenneth Palinkas, president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Council. Crane contends that “the 1,200 page substitute bill before the Senate will provide instant legalization and a path to citizenship to gang members and other dangerous criminal aliens, »