Ending filibuster bad for America. Plus: Biden gets a pass Trump didn't. Baldwin hypocrisy.
By Gary Abernathy
Ending filibuster good for Dems, disastrous for America
Many Democrats are urging President Biden to support an end the Senate filibuster, with the goal of pushing through numerous controversial issues with only majority votes rather than the 60 votes currently needed under filibuster rules.
With a 50-50 Senate, 60 votes currently means that all Democrats and 10 Republicans must vote for bills being filibustered to pass the Senate, although there are exceptions for budget-related bills under “reconciliation” rules. Under a majority-only system, 50 united Democrats plus Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker could theoretically fast track legislation, although in practice it wouldn’t be that easy with a couple of moderate to conservative Democrats in the Senate.
The Washington Post reports, “Liberals have long pushed for sweeping changes like expanding the Supreme Court, ending the electoral college and banning gerrymandering. But as Biden faces a critical stretch of his presidency, even moderate Democrats are urging more immediate changes — particularly rewriting the filibuster, so that at the very least fewer bills need 60 votes to pass the Senate.”
Between the House and Senate, the Senate has always served in the role as the more moderate branch of Congress. Every year, numerous bills pass the House but die in the Senate, where a deliberative, go-slow approach is meant to ensure that proposals are well thought out and, ideally, draw bipartisan support. But in our increasingly polarized political environment, bipartisanship is nearly dormant. Both parties have passed bills with only, or nearly only, one party support in recent years.
Both parties are guilty of extreme partisanship, which has stymied progress. But ending the filibuster would be a momentous decision with long-lasting consequences for both parties in the coming years. It would make the Senate much less responsible and deliberative. It would be an unfortunate development for the branch of Congress that is intended to be the adult in the room, and where the filibuster is designed to almost demand bipartisan support.
Different standards covering Biden versus Trump
As noted here yesterday, President Biden referred to governors who are ending mask mandates as engaging in “Neanderthal thinking.” He is apparently taking some heat for that comment, but it’s interesting to see the pass he’s getting, compared to when President Trump would say things considered rude or insulting.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s comment was “a reflection of his frustration and exasperation,” according to USA Today, which also quoted Democratic strategist Isaac Baker as saying Biden’s comments were a “visceral gut reaction.”
When Trump used insulting language, he was a bully, not to mention racist, sexist, anti-Semite, you name it. Biden is “frustrated,” and most in the media will accept that. It’s an example of how differently these presidents will be treated.
Along those lines, someone showed me a meme a couple of days ago that said, “Gas prices are up 30 cents a gallon, but at least the president doesn’t send mean tweets.” Yes, there’s that.
Alec Baldwin complains that U.S. is ‘unpleasant.’ Seriously?
Actor Alec Baldwin has reportedly deactivated his Twitter account after taking some heat for a joke he made about actress Gillian Anderson switching between an American and British accent.
But the ironic part of the story is Baldwin’s statement when asked about it. He said,
"Of course you can't do any irony on Twitter. You can't do any irony in the United States anymore, because the United States is such an uptight, stressed-out place and unpleasant place right now."
Has anyone contributed to the country being an “unpleasant place” any more than Baldwin, through his hateful portrayals of President Trump on Saturday Night Live and his rude and hateful comments about Republicans, such as those reflected by this USA Today story from October 2018, and many other examples. Of course, his infamous 2007 voicemail to his daughter, who was 11, was revealing. Entire lists have been compiled of Baldwin’s public rants over the years.
But even giving Baldwin the benefit of the doubt that, hey, anyone can have bad days, it’s hypocritical of him to complain about America being “an uptight, stressed-out place and unpleasant place right now.” Baldwin has long been a leading contributor to that end result.
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