Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Well-Beaten Drum: The Myth Of 60 Votes

To the general displeasure of the myriad emanations of Obamania, I have tried on a number of occasions to explain why the Obama presidency is doomed from the outset to failure and disappointment.

It's not from lack of good intentions or good will. It's a matter of sheer power. The CorpoRats are NEVER goiing to relinquish their hold on their effective veto in the Senate, no matter how many Dims hold seats. Today one of the Editors at Buzzflash has taken up the torch:
The Myth of the Democratic Filibuster Proof Senate


The corporate media and even progressive Internet sites are holding out the possibility that the Democrats, with three undecided senate races, may still reach the magical number of 60 Dems in the Senate to attain a "filibuster proof" majority.

There's only one problem with this universally-held assumption that 60 Democratic votes would give them the power to stop obstructive and destructive Republican filibusters: it's wrong.

Sometimes math triumphs common sense and this is one case that illustrates this. Yes, technically with 60 votes, the Democrats could prevent ongoing GOP filibusters to prevent America from progressing forward. But there is a difference between a technical threshold and the reality of how Democratic senators vote.

Take the infamous Benedict Arnold Joe Lieberman. He's included in that 60 threshold, and whether he remains in or out of the Democratic caucus, he is not going to vote the party line depending upon his whim. And then you have the Ben Nelsons of Nebraska, Max Baucuses of Montana, Evan Bayhs of Indiana, and Blanche Lincolns of Arkansas, for example, who often desert the majority of Democrats on key votes where they want to be aligned with the mythical "center."

If you recall, seven Democratic senators and seven Republican senators teamed up to prevent former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist from implementing an effort to eliminate the filibuster by exercising the so-called "nuclear option." These seven Democratic senators basically agreed with seven Republican counterparts that they would vote for Bush appointments to the federal bench unless they were proven child molesters or murderers, but wouldn't take their partisanship or bigotry into account. In short, the seven Dems gave Bush a pass to continue packing the federal bench with GOP hacks. The ad hoc bi-partisan coalition to enable Bush judicial appointments was known as the "Gang of 14."

Which Democratic Senators were in the Gang of 14? Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (officially an Independent), Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ken Salazar of Colorado. Guess what, all seven will be in the Senate in 2009.

And there are other Democratic senators who frequently defect on party line votes, in large part because Harry Reid doesn't punish Democrats who stray from the caucus position. On the Republican side, you feel the heat and retribution if you betray the party leadership. But none of that among the lenient Dems.

What that means, in essence, is that Harry Reid is unlikely to corral 60 Dems into voting to defeat a GOP filibuster, even if the Dems should miraculously win the three outstanding senate races. Oh, it could happen occasionally -- particularly if one or two Republicans defect -- but don't count on it as a regular occurrence.

Reid just doesn't enforce party discipline, and the Dems in the Senate from red states are concerned about preserving their "centrist" credentials.

So just remember that if the Dems somehow get to 60 votes, it doesn't by any means indicate that they will regularly stop Republican filibusters aimed at making the new administration's legislative agenda dysfunctional.

For that, the Dems would have to grow a spine and replace Reid with a leader who could instill party discipline.

But don't expect that to happen anytime soon.

As a result, just remember that 60 Democratic votes will not mean a filibuster proof senate.

That concept -- given the lack of Senate Democratic party line discipline -- is just a myth.
In addition to the 'center-rightists' of the Gang of Seven, other malleable Dims include the "other" Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Tom Carper, Jay Rockefeller, Max Baucus, and Diane Feinstein. Those, along with the previously named "Gang," result in 13-15 "dubious" votes on ANY 'progressive' legislative initiatives or judicial nominations.

The Pukes are both right and rong about the political cast of the country. The people ARE left-center, and growing more so almost daily. But the Congress, not so much. Obama, being himself a cautious, careful, bought-and-paid-for CorpoRat lap monkey, will not upset the apple-cart, I gauran-fuukin-TEE, chers...

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