In a recent interview with a Nevada television station, Ann Romney, in addition to confessing should her husband outdo the more heavily favored snowball in Hell and actually win the election this November, said that her main concern would be for his “mental health.” But she also said something that reinforces a common right-wing lie. She said, “This economy has been under his control for the last four years, and we have seen no jobs,” Romney said. “It’s been a jobless recovery.” That is not true.
Most Americans do not know how their U. S. Senate operates. It is not exactly a democratic (small-”d”) institution. A minority of Senators, even a single Senator, can stop legislation from even being debated, let alone voted on. The Senate operates primarily through unanimous consent. A Senator will rise and say, “Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to consideration of the bill such-and-such.” The presiding President of the Senate asks, “Is there objection?” If any Senator stands up and says, “I object,” the motion is not agreed to and nothing further happens with the bill. The objecting Senator not only does not have to state the reason for his or her objection, they do not even have to be personally present to object. It can be done through a proxy. This maneuver can even be used when the other 99 Senators favor passing the motion in question. And if that doesn’t work (and it often has), there is always the threat of a filibuster to block action.
The filibuster was the reason why Ann Romney was repeating a lie. In order to get anything done in the Senate, you have to have 60 votes to bring cloture, an end to debate. Despite having a majority in the Senate, the Democrats have not had the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster for most of Obama’s term. In fact, he’s only had the 60 votes (counting two Independents, one of which was not reliable) for about four months, not two years. The Republican Party has used the filibuster many times this Congress to block legislation that would actually benefit average Americans. They even used the filibuster to block the Veterans Jobs Bill. That bill now must go back to committee and won’t come up for another vote until after the election. And don’t get me started on the GOP’s refusal to even consider raising taxes on anyone, even those who could easily afford it and wouldn’t miss it.
There is no honor in the Republican tactics used to block legislation from passing. Oftentimes, the motion in question would have the support of a majority of Senators (true, most of them Democrats, but that’s how Democracy works), but Republicans would band together to prevent it from coming to a final vote just because they would lose and President Obama and the Democrats would win. No other reason. It’s not a question of what’s morally right or wrong, it’s simply a refusal to let the democratically-elected majority do what the country sent them to Congress to do. We can’t let them have even forty Senators in the next Congress, or President Obama will achieve nothing in his second term. A term, by the way, the Republican strategy was designed to prevent. Do they have any ideas that will work?
This is our daily open thread. You can talk about the harm the Republicans are doing to this country, or any other topic you wish. Let us know what you think.
Cross posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.