Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blame Republicans, America

A roll call of the bills subject to conservative filibuster (Figure 1) from Campaign for America's Future

The chart says it all. Senate Republicans have broken the record of obstructing congressional legislation with more filibusters than any political party in U.S. history! If they continue at their present rate of obstructionism, they will "more than double the historical average of the last 35 years," according to a Campaign for America's Future report. Combined with Bush's veto power, Republicans have thwarted the will of the people and ground the 2006 election mandate to a screeching halt. "In just the first year of this two-year Congress, [Republican] use of the filibuster in the Senate topped the previous record, reached during the entire 107th Congress." Guess who was the minority during the 107th Congress? Once again, the Greedy Obstructionist Party.

When you hold a 49-seat minority out of 100 votes in the Senate, GOP dirty tricks to "block and blame" Democrats becomes the tool du jour in the filibuster -- a procedural maneuver that requires 60 votes to stop. With Big Media to back Republican partisan shenanigans -- gawd forbid if they were to explain what a fricking filibuster is to the American public -- they tow the party line blaming Democrats for "doing nothing."

The Campaign for America's Future report dated Dec. 18, 2007, [PDF] details the carnage. Republicans -- who previously squealed about Democrats preventing up or down votes on judicial nominations -- have hammered obstructionism into a dark art and deployed it like an anti-American bomb across the legislative branch. Think my rhetoric is hot? You're darn tootin'. I mad as hell at the political games the GOP is playing in setting up roadblocks against efforts to change the disastrous course we've embarked under Republican misleadership over six bloody years.

With emphasis:

The new report outlines every bill filibustered, vetoed or threatened to be vetoed by President Bush. Conservatives filibustered bills to end the occupation of Iraq, provide soldiers in Iraq rest time equal to their deployments, support renewable energy and grant residents of the District of Columbia representation in Congress. Today's record-breaker involved a $516 billion budget package passed by the House to fund the federal government in 2008. The conservative minority demanded $20 billion additional funding for the war and opposed House language to bring troops home, and threatened a filibuster to prevent the bill from getting an up or down vote.
"In just one session, a minority in Congress has prevented a mind-blowing 62 pieces of legislation from going to the floor for an up or down vote," said Campaign for America's Future co-director Roger Hickey. "Our report shows how over and over again, the uncompromising minority has thwarted the will of majorities in Congress and of the American people, holding the Senate floor hostage to a radical right-wing agenda." ...
...Even pieces of legislation that have made it past the Senate filibuster blockade have been obstructed by President Bush. Last week the President vetoed for the second time a popular bill that would expand health coverage for 10 million American children. According to the Campaign for America's Future report, Bush has threatened to veto 84 bills and has vetoed six as of December 17. In contrast, during the period when the Republicans were in the congressional majority, Bush went the longest time without vetoing a bill since President Arthur Garfield.
These are dangerous times requiring unprecedented measures to break loose the death grip that Republicans have seized around the throat of American progress. With another year ahead -- they broke the record in just one session of Congress! -- Republican obstructionism with their stubborn, incompetent preznut promises more gridlock down the road.

Provided that Cheney can be contained, now is the time to exercise the nuclear option and shove the filibuster up the GOP bastard ass. With American lives and the livelihood of millions at stake, these auspicious days demand extraordinary action.

Are you listening Harry Reid? No more Mr. Nice Guy. Load the big gun for the sake of your country. You have the justification -- Republicans have repetitively abused the filibuster.

And here's the challenge to the Netroots. First, it's up to us -- You and me, Bubba -- to inform the electorate. The excellent work of Campaign for America's Future is to be praised and shared. We can also continue to pressure the media to report who is obstructing forward progress -- no small feat. Big Media is no friend to Democrats and the stenographers have their approved scripts to follow. Another thought: How many of us are willing to tune out and turn off TV and radio, take a bold step to hit them where it hurts, give up something that gets big ratings like the Super Bowl?

Second, if Reid gets gutsy and goes nuclear (Yeah, I know... what are the chances?), we must counterattack the media outlets that will reflexively cry foul, writing letters of complaint to editors, canceling subscriptions, boycotting the offending radio and TV stations, and if necessary, take the fight to the advertisers who are the life's blood of media revenues.

If you think what I've suggested goes too far, consider the ground we have to sprint in pushing back a rogue government into resembling one that works for all of us.

WTF else can we do but fight these bastards? Besides electing real Democrats?

[That's all. No more after the jump.]