For years, it has been nearly impossible for judicial nominations and presidential appointments to occur due to concerted, deliberate efforts by Senate Republicans to filibuster most of the names put up for nomination. Without a full 60 senators agreeing to end the debate, the process has virtually ground to a halt. Endless filibusters had left the D.C. district court down multiple judges and, in some years under President Obama, had been used literally twice as much as they had been under previous administrations.
In a desperate measure to end the gridlock, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, put forth a rule change that will now allow all nominations outside of Supreme Court justices to be able to be appointed with a simple up or down majority vote. This “nuclear option” is being praised by those who feel that the filibuster had been misused by a minority intent on obstruction until they can regain a majority in the Senate. GOP politicians and pundits, however, as they currently weld it as their major source of power against the administration, are undeniably furious.
Here are the top five reactions to the “tyranny” that is a majority vote:
1. It‘s Obamacare II!
One of the GOP’s favorite talking points at the moment is that the choice to “go nuclear” was intended to take some spotlight off the problems that have occurred with the Obamacare insurance exchange enrollment roll out. As such, some of them are cleverly referring to filibuster reform as “Obamacare II.”
“This action today creates a perpetual opportunity for the tyranny of the majority because it permits a majority in this body to do whatever it wants to do any time it wants to do it,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), according to Talking Points Memo. ”This should be called Obamacare II, because it is another example of the use of raw partisan political party for the majority to do whatever it wants to do any time it wants to do it.”
Considering Obamacare has lowered most healthcare costs and is currently helping tens of thousands of uninsured be insured as of January 1, maybe an Obamacare II isn’t that bad.
2. Harry Reid‘s a Bully!
That mature quote came from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who failed to follow it up with “I’m rubber and you’re glue. ”
“What we really need is an anti-bullying ordinance in the Senate,” Sen. Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. ”I mean, now we’ve got a big bully. Harry Reid says he’s just gonna break the rules and make new rules.” He then accused Sen. Reid being “the dictator of the Senate. He’s going to bend and break the rules to get his way.”
3. Welcome to the new authoritarian regime!
Radio personality and rightwing rabble-rouser Rush Limbaugh is positive that government by a majority is in actuality the beginning of a totalitarian regime. “The Democrats have made it plain they’re not interested in democracy. That really is what this means. They’re not interested in democracy at all. They want total statist authoritarianism, and frankly, I’m being kind with that terminology,” he said on his radio show. Because nothing says complete government takeover like getting mad that 41 senators have the power to decide who can or can’t be appointed to a seat in the judicial branch.
4. Next comes the military coup!
As if the “statist authoritarianism” didn’t go far enough, how about out and out revolution? That bright idea came from Fox News pundit Charles W. Cooke, who said that once you get rid of the filibuster, that means you could do anything, even ask the armed forces to help you start a dictatorship. “Well, how far do you take that?” Cook said according to ThinkProgress, after translating the President’s support of filibuster reform to mean that he thinks he’s above constitutional rules. “You could just ignore the House. You could have a military coup, you could have anything at the end of this.”
5. You‘ll get yours, Democrats!
Still, the GOP isn’t a party to be kept down for long, and Republican pundit Charles Krauthammer is urging everyone to view this as the long game, where eventually conservatives will take over the House, the Senate and the White House, and will not only be able to pass every nominee they ever wanted by a simple majority vote, but will also vote to extend the majority rule to the Supreme Court appointees, too, and stack that court as well. “[T]he Democrats will absolutely rue the day…” wrote Krauthammer. “…I don’t think Democrats will remember this day with any joy in the near future.”
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