It's frustrating to see headlines like, "Senate fails to pass gun control legislation." Not true. The expanded background checks bill was supported 54-46, a clear majority.
Only problem is, under the Senate's stupid filibuster rules and current Republican intransigence, it takes 60 votes -- a supermajority -- to do anything substantial.
So bills "fail" when they really "passed." Why Democrats put up with this crap is beyond me.
If Republicans were in control of the Senate and White House, and Democrats were preventing presidential nominees from even being voted on, along with bottling up almost every piece of important legislation by filibustering, I'm pretty damn sure severe limits on the filibuster would have been passed long ago.
But weenie Democrats in the Senate apparently prefer to preserve the illusion of belonging to the "world's greatest deliberative body" (a huge lie), than do what needs to be done to get the Senate doing the people's business, like it should be.
Ezra Klein talked about this in "The gun bill failed because the Senate is wildly undemocratic."
The gun vote didn’t fail because a couple of red-state Democrats bolted, or even because too many senators are afraid of the National Rifle Association, or even because Sen. Pat Toomey couldn’t bring along more Republicans.
Those factors help explain why the gun vote didn’t clear the extraordinary bar set for it to succeed. But they’re not the main reason it failed.
The gun vote failed because of the way the Senate is designed. It failed because the Senate wildly overrepresents small, rural states and, on top of that, requires a 60-vote supermajority to pass most pieces of legislation.
The Manchin-Toomey bill received 54 aye votes and 46 nay votes. That is to say, a solid majority of senators voted for it. In most legislative bodies around the world, that would have been enough. But it wasn’t a sufficient supermajority for the U.S. Senate.
...It’s easy to question the strategies of the gun bill’s architects, but the truth is they compromised repeatedly, sought support widely and openly, worked hard to address criticisms and allay concerns, and did everything in their power to marshal public opinion on their behalf. They did what they were supposed to do.
But then the Senate did what it is built to do. It took a bill supported by most Americans and killed it because it was intensely opposed by a minority who disproportionately live in small, rural states.
“IF?” “IF…Democrats were preventing presidential nominees from even being voted on…”? Don’t you mean WHEN?
Did you speak out against the Democratic filibuster of Bush’s nominees when the shoe was on the other foot? Did you support the 2005 Republican effort to ban judicial nominee filibuster? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster_in_the_United_States_Senate#Recent_U.S._Senate_history
The real question is, why is Obama outraged about failed legislation he knew would never pass a Republican controlled House in the first place? He campaigned repeatedly for an up or down vote and got one – why isn’t that enough? Answer: his demand for an up or down vote and his outrage at the Democratic Senate result have nothing to do with gun background checks and everything to do with the lost opportunity to pin this legislation’s failure on a Republican House. Don’t be fooled. Obama’s outrage isn’t about saving just one child from gun violence. It’s about lost leverage for the 2014 House mid-term elections.
Posted by: Richard Windsor | April 19, 2013 at 09:51 AM