Senate Republicans double down on obstructionism

John Avlon NAILS IT:

Since the election, Republican talking points have reflected the fact that they need to reach out beyond their base: to be positive rather than negative; appear more reasonable, less obstructionist.

But how you act speaks more loudly than what you say, and Senate Republicans have doubled down on obstructionism with their shameful filibusterof secretary-of-defense nominee Chuck Hagel. Add to this fresh insult the hold Sen. Rand Paul put on Obama’s nominee to be CIA director, John Brennan, and it looks like Republicans are backing a cynical political strategy that could compromise national security while proliferating hyperpartisanship even further in the future.

Let’s put this in perspective—Republicans decided to filibuster a Republican secretary-of-defense nominee, someone Mitch McConnell once called one of the most respected foreign-policy voices in the Senate, someone John McCain  said would make an excellent secretary of state.

The Senate, of course, is entrusted with the ability to advise and consent—but filibustering a cabinet nominee is virtually unprecedented, because it violates the time-honored principle that presidents should be able to pick their cabinet. In the process, Republicans are creating a dangerous precedent that could impact presidents of both parties for decades to come.



  1. This works best for both parties. The goal is not to do any actual work. Both sides just want to appear busy. If they actually solved problems then what would they have to campaign about?

  2. John Avlon says:

    “Republicans decided to filibuster ….”

    “A filibuster in the United States Senate usually refers to any dilatory or obstructive tactics used to prevent a measure from being brought to a vote. The most common form of filibuster occurs when a senator attempts to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a bill by extending the debate on the measure, but other dilatory tactics exist. The rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless “three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn”[1] (usually 60 out of 100 senators) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII.”

    They did take the vote and did not get the 60 votes but nobody from the republican side did anything other than vote so NO FILIBUSTER!

    The last actual filibuster was done by democrats in 1992!


  3. Big Dave’s intelligence (or lack thereof) is such that he doesn’t understand the Fox News story to which he has linked.

    He says: “The last actual filibuster was done by democrats in 1992!”

    Wrong. The article clearly states that Republican Sen. Alfonse D’Amato led that filibuster.

    Poor Dave. His readings skills are as good as his political acumen.

  4. What’s even worse is that Big Dave implies that the vote taken on Thursday in the Senate was a vote on the Hagel nomination. But it wasn’t. It was a vote on whether to bring the nomination to a final vote — in other words a vote to end what Big Dave himself calls “dilatory or obstructive tactics used to prevent a measure from being brought to a vote.”

    I would recommend that Big Dave read this (but I doubt that he’ll understand it):


  5. Hagel has some real issues. His confirmation testimony to the Senate was widely regarded as one of the worst ever. This isn’t the usual GOP obstruction, like a few years ago when Coburn was holding up Obama appointments just because he felt like it. Even moderate Republicans like Graham and Kirk, both of whom voted for Sotomayor and Kagan, voted against Hagel.

    The only reason that guy was nominated in the first place was he was a Republican who actively sought to massively decrease the size of the military. So Democrats thought by nominating him there would be an easier time getting approved. Problem is the Democrats didn’t count on Hagel being unable to effectively overcome his torrid background of questionable comments.

    From a Democratic viewpoint, this will probably work out for the best for them in the end anyway. Now they can nominate someone who is inherently more liberal, yet has much more of a “clean” background which will gather enough votes from Republican moderates to get nominated. And yes, there was even 4 Republicans who did vote for Hagel.

  6. Just another swift boat attack to preserve the cold war military industrial complex. We have way too many guys playing army at the expense of American taxpayers when we could do so much for our infrastructure and public safety here at home.


    I knew he go for this and I was right, since I said it was a ‘democrat”!!!!

    Pat for your information the vote was on closing debate, something you should have known before going on your rant. It was not on approving Hagel as Sec. of Defense.

    “What’s even worse is that Big Dave implies that the vote taken on Thursday in the Senate was a vote on the Hagel nomination.”

    No I did not and you know it!

    From your link:

    “In a result that broke down almost strictly along party lines, Democratic senators could not muster the support to advance the nomination of Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, to a final vote. The vote was 58 to 40, falling short of the 60 that were needed.”

    See Pat if this vote would have passed Hagel on then the next vote would have gotten him the Sec. of Defense job. Not this vote! I keep wondering how you ever made it in journalism making this type of mistake?

    Then this gaff by Pat:

    I said they did take a vote but why would you try to inject that I said it was for the Hagel nomination as I did not. I said the vote was taken and there was NO FILIBUSTER. But again some lame liberal media person tries to distort what someone “he doesn’t like” says.

    Did I mention this Pat:

    “In 1975, the Democratic Senate majority, having achieved a net gain of four seats in the 1974 Senate elections to a strength of 61 (with an additional Independent caucusing with them for a total of 62), reduced the necessary supermajority to three-fifths (60 out of 100). However, as a compromise to those who were against the revision, the new rule also changed the requirement for determining the number of votes needed for a cloture motion’s passage from those Senators “present and voting” to those Senators “duly chosen and sworn”. Thus, 60 votes for cloture would be necessary regardless of whether every Senator voted. The only time a lesser number would become acceptable is when a Senate seat is vacant. (For example, if there were two vacancies in the Senate, thereby making 98 Senators “duly chosen and sworn”, it would only take 59 votes for a cloture motion to pass.
    The new version of the cloture rule, which has remained in place since 1975, makes it considerably easier for the Senate majority to invoke cloture. This has considerably strengthened the power of the majority, and allowed it to pass many bills that would otherwise have been filibustered. The Democratic Party held a two-thirds majority in the 89th Congress of 1965, but regional divisions among Democrats meant that many filibusters were invoked by Southern Democrats against civil rights bills supported by the Northern wing of the party). Some senators wanted to reduce it to a simple majority (51 out of 100) but this was rejected, as it would greatly diminish the ability of the minority to check the majority.”


    Just think, did Pat tell anyone democrats created this vote process 1975! No he didn’t, why?

  8. Maybe Steverino should read this and then ask himself why!

    BOB wants to send troops to Africa! I wonder if Congress voted on this?


  9. No question Pat is a liberal. Name calling and insults when facts interfere with Pats hate mongering.
    No wonder every publication that prints Pat’s psychosis is losing readers faster than Obama raises the deficit.

  10. Ian,

    Don’t worry about Pat he’s not all that bad but he does have a problem with debating anyone who disagrees wit him. See all you need to now is “his liberal stance is always right and anyone who disagrees with it is wrong”!

    He cannot help the name calling as its inbred with liberals. An never wait for Pat to answer a question posed as he will not answer.

    Example from my link above:

    “Some senators wanted to reduce it to a simple majority (51 out of 100) but this was rejected, as it would greatly diminish the ability of the minority to check the majority.”

    The Democrat Party did this in 1975, now if Republicans had done this Pat would have let all know how evil this was. This is the same with the deficit: Bush spending = BAD while Obama spending = GOOD. So when Obama took office the deficit was around $10.5 Trillion now (only 4 years later) it’s at $16.5 Trillion and all the liberals on this blog will tell you there is NO problem with this now that Obama is President.


    Soon Obama will have spent us into more debt that all other Presidents combined. But Pat will never tell you this, why?

  11. Ian: But my blog is more popular than ever. ‘Splain that, Dude!

    Oh, and you might also try ‘splainin’ how you know about the circulation figures of the scores of newspapers that carry my blog on their Web sites.

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