The Watering Hole, Saturday, September 29, 2012 – Ann Romney, Surrogate Liar

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.

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) filibusters tax-cut deal

Senator Sanders is filibustering the tax-cut deal President Obama recently made with the Republicans.  He’s been at it since 7:30 a.m. PT.

The tax cuts for this country’s millionaires and billionaires is irresponsible and unsustainable.  I believe, as does Senator Sanders, that a better deal can be negotiated.

Watch him live here.

Crooks & Liars is covering the story here.

ThinkProgress is covering Bernie here.

Feel free to live blog or just cheer Bernie on in the comments section!

Obama’s Weekly Address: Filibustering & Obstruction

While Democrats try to go about the business of getting things done for the people — helping create jobs, boosting small businesses, extending unemployment insurance payments, and more, a minority of Republicans continue to obstruct the business of the Senate by filibustering EVERYTHING.

The best way to jump start the economy right now is extending unemployment benefits, so families will be able to buy the things they need to survive.  But Republicans stubbornly insist on “making their stand on the backs of the unemployed,” by screaming and moaning about the deficit — oh my god, the DEFICIT!!!

No Republican will so much as utter the word “deficit” when they are in power — while they happily destroy any surplus, spend money like drunken sailors by giving unbelievably generous tax cuts to the richest people, prosecuting two wars completely off the books, and trying to permanently repeal the estate tax.  This is how Republicans prove they are not in government for the people — they only think about the “small people” at election time.  It’s all about trying to make President Obama fail.  Period.

If the Republicans want to filibuster EVERYTHING, according to the Senate rules they certainly may do that, but no more of this “cloture” crap — make them stand up and do the damn filibuster.  Bring in the cots!  Make the Republicans stand up for their mighty principles so the American people will have the opportunity to understand what all the fuss is about.  Do it proudly, Republicans!!

I dare you.