Beyond the Cusp

November 23, 2013

The Debate is Cloture and Not the Filibuster

The main reason that the mainstream media is talking about the Senate changing the rules on the practice of filibuster is due to their being too lazy to explain what the Senate really did and actually educate the people who might not be as up on their United States Constitution as used to be the norm earlier in American history. The Senate changed the rules on cloture which is the means by which a filibuster is ended, not prevented or even stopped dead but ended with a possibility of allowing limited debate time to each Senator if the rules so permit. So, let us take a short trip back through history, and I promise to try to be brief. When the Constitution was ratified and became the founding document for the governance of the United States in 1789 there were no rules limiting debate in any manner. Senators could talk on any legislation pending before that august body until the cows came home and beyond. That was the beauty of the Constitution and the original interpretation of the idea that the House of Representatives was a rough and tumble and coarser body while the Senate was proper and deliberative with cordial rules and mutual respect, a far cry from what we have today and even originally. Do not for one second believe that American politicking has become raucous and vile only in the recent past as it actually has become more sensitive and polite. Nobody is referring to the other candidate for President of being a hermaphrodite or of being the son of a half-breed Indian squaw. To quote the two gentlemen in question behind those remarks, and they are to this day considered gentlemen though I doubt the shorter of the two would have agreed with such a description when he was alive; the Jefferson campaign described President Adams as a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman,” and Adams in return defined Vice President Jefferson as “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” Yes, believe it or not these were the President and Vice President of the United States at that time as originally the candidate with the most votes became President and the candidate who came in second became the Vice President but we obviously changed that as it became a tad unworkable and obviously so. The Twelfth Amendment in 1804 put this problem to rest allowing for separate ballots for President and Vice President but did not dictate that the two office holders be from the same party, it is still possible though unlikely that the President and Vice President could come from different parties.

Back to the “nuclear option” voted on by the Senate this past week. The Senate rules call for a simple majority vote with limited debate for any motion to alter, add or deduct from the rules under which the Senate operates thus making any chance for a filibuster basically mute. Because of that the Democrats with their four seat advantage won the passage of the new rules by a 52-48 vote. President Obama took the opportunity to continue his war against the minority Republicans in the Senate in a short speech after which he delegated a person to answer any questions in what has become a normal routine of never allowing the President to be questioned by the press directly or be allowed to ever go off of the carefully scripted words on his teleprompter. Sometimes I think that it would be both revealing and educational allowing for the truthful revelation of the character and inner feelings of a President if it were required that he take a session answering press questions at least once each month and could be required when asked to appear before either branch of Congress to answer questions on any legislation brought to the floor by request of the White House or any member of the President’ own party. Any additional information that is revealed concerning a President’s inner feelings, ability to think quickly and respond to unexpected queries and situations as well as anything that fills the people with additional truths about the person supposedly running the nation and being the face of the American people and the nation on the world’s stage should be encouraged, even mandated. The Senate changing the rules such that a cloture vote which restricts virtually ending debate on appointment for judgeships and other posts to a simple majority has basically changed the process into simply the Senate being a rubber stamp for all but the absolute worst nominations, and even then it might be questionable if the Democrats would not simply bow before the President’s will. This may prove to be catastrophic or it may simply end up as a tempest in a teapot, it all depends on which appointments now gain affirmation who might have been prevented by a Republican or a single Democrat deciding to filibuster the nomination. This I just one more time will tell and I have found that time usually tells long after anybody is paying attention. A perfect example, except that people are paying attention, is Kathleen Sebelius and the catastrophic rollout of Obamacare. Had that gone relatively smoothly with only minor glitches we would have never known how vacuous that woman is and how Health and Human Services is being directed by an incompetent who appears incapable of managing a major project any better than a junior project manager in training.

 

There will be some commentators and political talking heads who will go off the deep end and erroneously relate that this move by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was unconstitutional and that the Constitution enumerates the right and procedures known as the filibuster and cloture vote. They are mistaken at best and intentionally misleading at worst. The truth is that the Constitution says absolutely nothing about either process by name. Under the Constitution the original Senate had absolutely no limit on the length of the debate thus allowing every Senator and thus every State to have ample time to discuss and debate the merits of legislation and even return home to get their marching orders from the State Legislatures which chose the Senators. The Senate under Article I, Section 5, Clause 3 was empowered to write its own rules concerning debate and the procedures which govern the same. The Senate adopted its first anti-filibuster rule in 1917 calling such a procedure cloture. Traditionally the cloture vote has taken some form of supermajority in order to shut down debate. The rules of the Senate, according to the writings of the Founders, was to be a more deliberative body which fully debated legislation thus allowing the Senate to reject any legislations which was passed under emotional or other reaction to momentary events and to represent the individual States within the Federal Government such that the States would be protected from the rapacious appetite for power and dominion by any Congress or President. It is interesting that the initial limitation to debate came in 1917, four years after the ratification of one of the most destructive laws to ever make its way onto the books, let alone the Constitution, the Amendment XVII which forever changed the Congress and permitted the unrestrained expansion of the powers, reach, and oppressive abilities of the Federal Government. Under this amendment the States no longer appointed their own Senators in any manner they saw fit, be it appointed by the Governor, appointed by the Governor and ratified by some branch of the State Legislature, appointed directly by the State Legislature or even directly elected by the people which any State could have enacted as their method had they so chosen. This was a direct assault on the rights of the States and took place under a wave of humanist excitement where it was believed that the people, if allowed to voice their combined will, would reach a more reasoned and duly proper decision than any that could be reached by the corrupt and despicable State Governances. The members of the Federal Government even back then looked upon the State Governments, from which many of them had originally served, with contempt and disdain. They saw them as incapable of reasoned thought or honest debate. Looking at the Congress of today one might come to the conclusion that a monarchy might be preferable, but surely I jest. It is likely certain that had the Senate remained as intended a product of the individual State Governments deciding their selection process that the vast majority of States would have decided to allow for the direct election of their Senators in the Federal Government anyways, so there is probably little difference today that if the Amendment XVII were never passed or ratified. One note on history, both the Amendment XVII and the Amendment XVI, which enacted the income tax, have both had claims made that they were not truly ratified by the necessary States within the time limited by the Constitution and are therefore not enforceable. Thus far nobody has won a court case challenging either Amendment. Given my personal choice, I would prefer ridding the United States of the Amendment XVII as returning a greater amount of limiting force by the individual States would do more to limit and turn back the growth of the Federal Government than anything else I have ever heard promoted. The one item that would cease to exist immediately would be the imposition of unfunded mandates on the individual States by Federal legislation as that has become a nasty and not all that uncommon way that the Federal Government passes legislation while forcing the States to finance the implementation and continue maintenance of the legislation and not burdening the Federal budget with such costs. Imagine a Federal Government which was forced to pay for every consequence of their legislative agendas. They would soon go on a legislative diet which the press would label gridlock and the Representatives and Senators would label sticker shock from seeing the financial consequences of all of their actions and being unable to pass the costs off on the States. That was an imagine that Mr. John Lennon missed in his song, but being British I guess he should be forgiven.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 2, 2013

Can the Republican Party be Saved?

Filed under: 2012 Elections,2016 Elections,24/7 News Reporting,Amnesty,Bloggers,Border violence,Candidate,Civilization,Class Warfare,Class Warfare,Cloture,Coalition,Congress,Conservatives,Constitutionalist,Core Beliefs,Covert Surveillance,Debate,Democracy,Democrat,Deportation,Drones,Early Elections,Electability,Elections,Elections,Enforcement,Experts,Extreme Leftist,Extreme Right,Facebook,Facial Recognition Software,Federalist Papers,Filibuster,Government,Guard Border,History,House of Representatives,Illegal Immigration,Individual Right to Privacy,International Socialism,Internationalist,John McCain,Leftist Propaganda,Liberals,Local Government,Main Stream Media,Mainstream Media,Media,Minority Representation,Mitt Romney,Myth,New Media,New York Times,NGO,Party Platform,Political Talk Shows,Politically Incorrect,Politics,Post Modernist,President,Primary Elections,Progressives,Public Service,Rand Paul,Realists,Register to Vote,Repatriation,Republican,Republican National Convention,RINO,Senate,Senate,Small Government,Social Networking,Socialism,Society,Talking Heads,Television News,Twitter,Unify Party,United States,Validate Elections,Vice President,Voting,War on Religion,War on Women,Warrantless Searches,Washington Post,Wealth Redistribution — qwertster @ 5:21 AM
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Recently the Republican hierarchy released their report detailing the problems the party is facing and attempting to detail the deficiencies and propose solutions. There were numerous voting blocs where they also found problems. One prime example was their losing the under thirty vote by at least a ratio of three to one. Other such blocs included single women, the less well off, almost the entirety of minority voters, and so forth. From what I saw it was possibly debatable if they even won a majority of the registered Republicans. Ok, I made that up but it was really almost that bad. They also found that they managed to receive fewer votes in every voting group over the results from four years earlier. Somehow the Republicans with candidate Romney were unable to even hold on to the McCain voters as they received fewer votes across the board in this last election. As horrible as this news was it was not as unsettling as the solutions the report provided. The main gist of the offered solution was to move the candidates and campaigns to align them closer to the Democrat message.

My bet is should they pursue this path it will lead to the death of the Republican Party. When the base voters who are the lifeblood of your political party are not getting to the polls your problem is not that you are too far removed from the other party, it is that you are not offering them anything distinctly different from the other party. The solution is not to attempt to be perceived as the Democrat Lite Party but to be the heart and soul Republican Party. Show a difference and celebrate that difference. The Republican Party has not given the feeling that they are proud, confident, or even that they believe in their party. They sound almost apologetic whenever they sound all that different from what the Democrats stand for. If you want a near perfect example of the real problem is that is cursing the Republicans all you need to do is listen to the “old guard” of the GOP during the debates on virtually any legislation where immigration reform is one of the most glaring examples. Another problem is the seeming lack of unity and cooperation between the different factions that make up the Republican Party. Sometimes it appears as if as a whole the Republicans do not stand unified for anything and are without honest and driving principles. We had a perfect example after Rand Paul’s efforts to make a serious protest over the evasiveness and apparent policy which would allow the use of drone strikes on American civilians inside the country’s borders in place of arrests and a trial if the President so deemed necessary with his thirteen hour filibuster and a number of the senior Republican Senators demeaned his efforts on the floor of the Senate. Such disagreements should never be fought out in the public square but should be discussed and resolved within the party. When was the last time you heard one Democrat Senator demean another Democrat on the floor of the Senate? Such would never happen as the Democrats have party discipline and would not stand for parading the party laundry in public.

Another problem the Republican Party needs to work on is simply getting their message out and being heard. Since the mainstream press is actually a willing partner in any Democrat candidate’s campaign, the Republicans have to find a delivery for their message which does not rely on the mainstream press. They definitely need to work on their Internet usage and make more and better use of U-tube, Twitter, Facebook, and all other forms of social media as well as blogs and the new media. There are a good number of conservative bloggers who would be anxious to support getting the republican message out if they only would be included in the campaign planning and get some assistance in coordinating with the candidate. They could offer releases to these bloggers once they had compiled an extensive list. But the most important challenge facing the Republican Party hierarchy and planners is a message around which the membership can rally and be excited over. The current state of the Republican can be summed up in two words, disjointed disarray. Until they can establish something that can be advertised as the Republican core beliefs around which every party candidate tailors their message, the Republican Party will continue to wander leaderless in the political wastelands.

Beyond the Cusp

February 27, 2013

Republican Lack of Discipline Exposed by Hagel Confirmation

Filed under: 1949 Armistice Line,1967 Borders,2012 Elections,Administration,Afghanistan,Ahmadinejad,Anti-Israel,Anti-Zionist,Appointment,Arabs,Ayatollah Khamenei,Borders,Boycott,Building Freeze,Cabinet,Checkpoints,Checks and Balances,Chuck Hagel,CIA Chief,Cloture,Coalition,Condemning Israel,Congress,Consequences,Conservatives,Constitutional Government,Constitutionalist,Debate,Democracy,Democracy,Democrat,Disengagement,Divestment,Economic Sanctions,Europe,Extreme Leftist,Extreme Right,Fatah,Fatah Charter,Fayyad,FBI,Federal Government,Filibuster,Foreign Policy,Gaza,Gaza Blockade,Golan Heights,Government,Green Line,Hamas,Hamas Charter,Hezballah,History,Ineffective Sanctions,Intifada,Iran,Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps,Iraq,Islam,Islamic Jihad,Israel,Israeli Capital City,James Inhofe,Jerusalem,Jewish Heritage,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jews,Jihad,Judea,Judean Hills,Kotel,Land for Peace,Mahmoud Abbas,Middle East,Missile Research,Muslim Brotherhood,Muslims,Neglection of Duty,Netanyahu,Nuclear Program,Nuclear Research,Nuclear Sites,Nuclear Weapons,Obama,Oklahoma,Old City,Oslo Accords,P5+1,Palestinian,Palestinian Authority,Palestinian Legislative Committee,Palestinian Security Force,Parchin,Parliamentary Government,Partition Plan,Peace Process,PLO,PLO Charter,Politics,Pre-Conditions,President,President Obama,Prisoner Release,Prisoners,Protect Citizenry,Protests,Qom,Rafah Crossing,Recognize Israel,Refugee Camp,Refugees,Response to Terrorism,Right of Return,Rock Throwing,Rocket Attacks,Samaria,Sanctions,Secretary of Defense,Secretary of State,Senate,Senate Armed Services Committee,Senate Majority Leader,Separation Barrier,Settlements,Smuggling Tunnels,Submission,Suicide Bomber,Syria,Temple Mount,Terror,Tom Coburn,Two State Solution,United States,United States Constitution,Uranium Enrichment,Uranium Enrichment,Vote,Warhead Development,West Bank,Western Wall,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 2:11 PM
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There is a theory throughout the free world that on certain votes party discipline is expected. Such examples abound in the Parliaments in Europe, Israel, Japan, Australia, Canada and any we may have omitted. It has often been on display within the United States Congress, but almost exclusively by the Democrat legislators and almost never, actually might be never, from the Republican side of the aisle. The nomination by President Obama of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense was problematic even before his dreadful performance at his confirmation hearings. As positions go in a President’s Cabinet, Secretary of State, CIA Chief, Chief of the FBI are the few of the positions which rival Secretary of Defense in their importance. This makes the ability to answer questions competently and without overly long hesitations very crucial. Mr. Hagel’s performance left loads to be desired. He not only stumbled on answering questions but also had to correct answers he had given after conferring with handlers sent to aid him in his responses. The United States does not need or desire a Secretary of Defense who is less prepared to answer vital questions than the average Senator would be. Even if this had been the only problem with the Hagel appointment it still would have been worthy of greater objection than was displayed.

But there were already other questions and difficulties posed by Senator Hagel’s previous statements concerning the United States staunchest Middle East ally Israel and his lack of resolve shown towards the Iranian nuclear program as well as his soft approach to such terrorist groups denoted as such by the State Department as Hamas and Hezballah. When one additionally inspects Senator Hagel’s voting record his appointment becomes all the more troublesome. Add in his flippant disregard for many such votes and his snide remark that there was no evidence that any of his votes ever did any damage to Israel which though technically true, it is not for want of trying on Hagel’s behalf and solely due to the fact that Hagel’s vote was among the minority and the vast majority of his fellow Senators supported the United State’s ally Israel. The final nail in the coffin for the Hagel appointment should have come when at least one Republican Senator decided to filibuster the nomination and requested his fellow Republicans support his efforts. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma even wrote a letter asking as much and despite being given the support of a number of fellow Republican Senators; the party supported his efforts only through one cloture vote stalling the confirmation over one little weekend.

After supporting the Senator Inhofe intent to filibuster on a Friday vote, Senator Reid, the Majority Leader of the Senate, was assured by numerous Republicans that they would no longer support any further Republican efforts to filibuster and delay a confirmation vote. What makes the whole cloture vote fold by Republican Senators so disheartening is when the actual vote came to confirm the Hagel appointment as Secretary of Defense, the final vote was insufficient to have overcome the filibuster by a fair margin of 58-41, two votes short of cloture if the Senators had voted their up or down vote during the cloture vote. Despite the four Senators from the Republican side of the aisle who voted to approve the Hagel nomination, the cloture vote of 71-27 reveals that an additional thirteen Republican Senators voted to end the filibuster by their own party than eventually supported the nomination. The question which those whose Senators voted for cloture despite opposing the nomination must be asked is why, knowing that a vote for cloture guaranteed the nomination, did they ignore the sole path to resist this atrocious appointment and fold to the demands of President Obama, Senator Reid and the Democrats? Are they that afraid to stand strong for their beliefs and only vote their conscience when it will not make a difference and when their vote matters simply fold under even the slightest of pressures from the Democrats? What are they afraid of, missing out on some brie and red wine luncheons in the Capital Building or some other social affairs? If they are unable of standing when their votes matter, perhaps they should be replaced. If your Senator was among the four that voted for Hagel, well, at least they were consistent and voted their minds. But if your Senator is among the thirteen who voted for cloture thus guaranteeing a confirmation which they then voted against, you may wish to replace the worms you currently have as the next choice could not be worse. Maybe you can find a real Republican Senatorial candidate to run against the worm in the next primary and send a real conservative Constitutionalist Senator to Washington. Would that be too much to ask? My Senator, he was the one who first stated intent to filibuster and the other supported him and is known as Senator No. I am glad you asked.

Beyond the Cusp

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