After years of nonsense in the United States Senate, with a “super-majority” of 60 votes needed to get anything done, and the senators being allowed to stop the Senate’s business not by a real filibuster, but by simply threatening a filibuster, I had hopes that something positive was finally going to be done. I had hopes that Majority Leader, Harry Reid, would lead his Democrats toward real filibuster reform, toward forcing those who wanted to stop the Senate from moving forward through the use of a filibuster, to actually keep talking until they were no longer able to go on. That is to say, to actually filibuster, rather than simply calling it in. Which is in truth, not a filibuster at all. But it was not to be. The Democrats wimped out. Again.
According to Politico, the grand bargain Reid made with the Republicans, “does little to end the practices that got the filibuster reform movement started in the first place.” The Los Angeles Times, calls the changes “modest.” Oh joy.
So Harry Reid reached an agreement with Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (smiles all around), to tweak current filibuster rules while leaving much of the process in place. You’ll remember McConnell as the guy who said “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” It helped establish the Republicans as “the party of no,” setting them on a course that would attempt to block everything President Obama wanted to do regardless of the damage that might be done to the nation. While Reid and the Republicans failed to block a second term for Mr. Obama, they have succeeded in upholding the insanity of regulations controlling the Senate filibuster as the Democrats wimp out again. Despite their majority, ending a filibuster will continue to require not a simple majority of 51, but a super-majority of 60 out of a possible 100 votes.
Why would they do it? Could it be that Reid thinks he doesn’t have adequate support from his own party to get it done? But why wouldn’t he have adequate support? Could it be because the Senate, like the House, has been mostly bought off by lobbyists representing corporate and other big money interests who want their congressional lapdogs to be able to leverage issues despite their lesser numbers in the Senate?
It’s all about the politics of power. It’s about members of the Senate and House throwing their support to big money contributors who fill their campaign coffers with millions upon millions of dollars, rather than the common folk who went to the polls to put them in office.
It’s about the death of majority rule in America. A death that has led to:
-Inadequate filibuster reform in the Senate.
– A society being forced to consume GMO’s without knowing what we’re eating.
-Healthcare industry costs that continue to spiral out of control.
-A military presence in Afghanistan, longer than most Americans wanted us there.
-The death of due process for American citizens on American soil.
-A lack of regulation over the broadcast/cable/satellite industry which has made us (arguably) the most entertained and least well-informed nation on earth.
-A banking/finance industry that continues to be “too big to fail,” as those who participated in the criminal fraud that led to the economic crash of 2008 continue to escape prosecution as the Justice Department looks the other way.
-The greatest disparity between the wealthy and the poor in many years. According to a report published by GlobalPost, ” Among developed nations, only Chile and Mexico have higher income inequality than the U.S.”
I had also hoped for some sort of campaign finance reform. Yeah, right. Forget that. Forget your elected representatives actually representing you in the Congress. Not gonna happen. Even with newcomers like Elizabeth Warren in the Senate. She’s outnumbered and outgunned by those who have already been bought off. The current course of obfuscation and inaction by McConnell, his Republican colleagues and others who care more for the money they need to ensure their political survival as opposed to the survival of a Republic built upon democratic principles, is leading to the death of our democratic process. This course of action will not be reversed so long as we continue to have the best government money can buy.
Lady Liberty is up to her neck in water and she’s sinking fast. And Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid are smiling.