As every three-year-old in the country now knows, the Democrats are getting ready for a breathtaking betrayal of the labor movement on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), otherwise known as "card check", a measure that makes it easier to organize unions. The filibuster will be their excuse.
Shown above is Strom Thurmond in his glory days, a man with whose
execrable name the splendid Senatorial institution of the filibuster will be forever linked.
Let's take a quick Wayback trip to 2005, when Pwogs were eager to defend Senator Thurmond's favorite -- well, second-favorite -- institution against those mean ole Bushies. Here's The Nation:
Fight for the Filibuster
posted by Peter Rothberg on 05/23/2005
A vote to end debate on the nomination of extreme conservative Priscilla Owen to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24--the first strike in the so-called "nuclear option" to eliminate the use of the filibuster in judicial nominations. Now is the time to tell your senators that you oppose eliminating the filibuster.
The filibuster, which Peter and his friends loved so much back then,
is now deployable by the mean ole Republicans. And so it's the Democrats' handy excuse for not passing EFCA. No wonder the old pros wanted to hang onto it -- though what was the pwogs' excuse?
The Democrats were all strongly behind EFCA as long as it had no chance of passing. But now that they have a majority in both houses, they must find a face-saving way to lose the fight (except Dianne Feinstein -- shown left, with another fox in the hencoop -- who apparently needs no excuse and has thrown EFCA overboard with a shameless barefaced fuck-you grin.)
Enter the filibuster! Those mean ole Republicans who wanted to take the filibuster away are now going to... use it! (This is a nice mirror image of the Democrats, who fought to keep it and didn't use it. Anybody see a pattern here?)
This is the burden of the donkeys' song: Since us good-hearted well-meaning Democrats only have a majority, not a filibuster-proof supermajority... ah well, we fought the good fight. Better luck in the next life, toilers of America. Oh and don't forget to vote for us in the next Most Important Elections In History, scheduled for 2010. Give us a filibuster-proof supermajority! And then we'll find some brand-new way to sell you out!
So far, we're wading hip-deep in bullshit, right? Well, hold your breath, because we're about to step off a ledge right into the bottomless Marianas Trench of bullshit.
The filibuster is a straw man. There is an arcane provision in the Senate's rules that any measure covered under what's called "reconciliation" can't be filibustered. It's a long story, but the short of it is that what is and what isn't covered by "reconciliation" is ultimately determined by the presiding officer of the Senate. And that would, of course, be Vice President Joe Biden.
The Republicans used this "reconciliation" dodge a lot back when they were the majority. I think we can safely predict that the Democrats will not -- and most especially, that they will not on the EFCA bill. Obie could put a stop to this treachery with a couple of phone calls, but he will not make them.
Obie, and the congressional Democrats, climbed labor's support for EFCA into office, and now they'll kick it away -- as they did with the public's warsickness. And no doubt labor, just like the so-called antiwar movement, will take the kick with a shit-eating grin and ask, Please sir, may I have another?
* * * * *
: Owen and I were thinking along the same lines. He writes:
Who sez there ain't no way to beat the fillibuster?
"Senate Democrats are increasingly receptive to using a controversial budget shortcut to ease passage of health-care reform legislation, a shift in stance encouraged by the White House but denounced by Republicans, who say the maneuver is an unfair partisan trick."
My personal GOP idol, Phil Specter's older brother Arlen, seems ticked:
"There are those of us on this side of the aisle who have cooperated," Specter said. "I think it fair to say that to misuse the reconciliation process would be a very strong blow against bipartisanship and cooperation. Obviously, it would impede future activity by the Obama administration in reaching across the aisle to get necessary Republican votes."
As a friend of demo-muppet fellow aisle-squatters like Bridgeport Joe, this must come as a deep disappointment to Senator Specter.
But of course it's how the repugs got their donors' tenderloin of a tax cut past a prostrate deadlocked Senate in '01.
I wonder -- can card check slip through this loophole too? I bet not -- eh?
Hell, even cap-and-trade is a bridge too far,
so firing shots in the class war? Heavens!