“The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”
—James Madison, Federalist 58.
It is being reported today that Harry Reid is demanding major Senate procedural concessions from minority Republicans designed to ensure simple majority passage of highly controversial legislation traditionally vulnerable to being blocked or delayed by the filibuster.
A coalition of liberal groups met at the headquarters of the National Education Association (NEA) shortly after Obama won reelection to set strategy for advancing his second-term agenda. One of the primary goals emerging from the meeting was enacting filibuster reform. ...
[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid has begun to show signs of impatience with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), with whom he has been negotiating for weeks. He said Tuesday that he and McConnell have made progress, but added, “[W]e’ve got a long way to go.”
The Nevada Democrat said he would give Republicans another 24 to 36 hours to agree to filibuster reform and then trigger the so-called nuclear option. This controversial tactic would allow him to change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote.
“I hope within the next 24 to 36 hours we can get something we agree on. If not, we’re going to move forward on what I think needs to be done. The caucus will support me on that,” Reid told reporters.
Although its use has been threatened in the past to spur the minority party to agree to reforms, the nuclear option has never been used to change the standing rules, say parliamentary experts.
Reid has come under heavy pressure from liberal advocacy groups to drastically limit the minority party’s power to filibuster and delay legislation.
This is the same Harry Reid who, in 2005, back when Republicans had a majority in the Senate and democrats were using the filibuster to block confirmation of nominations (like John Bolton for UN Ambassador) that they didn’t like, and Republicans threatened to change the Senate rules, accused Republicans excessive partisanship and of bending to “the whispered wishes of a few right wing activists,” and desperately demanded the preservation of the filibuster as an affirmation of bipartisanship.
If Reid uses the nuclear option, he is going to be very sorry in 2014 or 2016 when majority control of the Senate returns to Republicans.
Paul Ryan debunks a standard kind of fraudulent budget-cutting which figures prominently in the democrat proposals. It is his ability, and willingness, to cut through the conventional financial obfuscations relied upon by professional politicians that makes Rep. Paul Ryan such a desirable choice for next year’s GOP nomination. I wish he’d run.
You couldn’t hope to frame a better demonstration of the characteristic intellectual and moral confusion of the Western establishment leadership class than occurred over the last weekend.
In the United States, an absolute nobody, the Rev. Terry Jones of the ludicrously named “World Dove Outreach Center” in Gainesville, Florida, obviously feeling neglected since he had graciously canceled a burning of the Koran last year, got himself back into the news by putting the Islamic holy book on trial, finding it guilty, sentencing it, and carrying out his own Koran barbecue.
In the aftermath, in a variety of locations in Afghanistan, mobs of howling savages threw temper tantrums in response, blocking a main highway with burning tires, attacking US soldiers, storming a UN compound and brutally murdering seven innocent people with no connection whatsoever to Reverend Hookworms, and even immolating a effigy of Barack Obama.
The Afghans, inured to bloodshed from childhood, are familiar with death, and audacious in attack, but easily discouraged by failure; excessively turbulent and unsubmissive to law or discipline; apparently frank and affable in manner, especially when they hope to gain some object, but capable of the grossest brutality when that hope ceases. They are unscrupulous in perjury, treacherous, vain and insatiable, passionate in vindictiveness, which they will satisfy at the cost of their own lives and in the most cruel manner. Nowhere is crime committed on such trifling grounds, or with such general impunity, though when it is punished the punishment is atrocious. Among themselves the Afghans are quarrelsome, intriguing and distrustful; estrangements and affrays are of constant occurrence; the traveller conceals and misrepresents the time and direction of his journey. The Afghan is by breed and nature a bird of prey. If from habit and tradition he respects a stranger within his threshold, he yet considers it legitimate to warn a neighbour of the prey that is afoot, or even to overtake and plunder his guest after he has quitted his roof. The repression of crime and the demand of taxation he regards alike as tyranny.
The British of a century ago did not apologize for outbreaks of insane violence on the part of hirsute barbarians. They punished them and got on with it.
Today, any occurrence of native violence, proving all over again that we are dealing with the kind of people who are half-devil and half-child, instead of prompting the despatch of a useful punitive expedition to set an example long remembered among the hills instead produces a epidemic among our own elite of chin-stroking, grovelling, and bed-wetting.
In a series of disgraceful statements, Sens. Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham, along with Gen. David Petraeus, have laid the blame for the unrest where it doesn’t belong: at the feet of the US Constitution.
Reid, the feckless Senate majority leader, said the body would “take a look” at Terry Jones’ actions in burning a copy of the Islamic holy book, and threatened hearings, as if the Senate didn’t have far more pressing issues—such as passing a budget and tackling the country’s fiscal problems.
Even more disgraceful was Graham, who said on “Face the Nation”: “I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable,” referring to Pastor Jones. “Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war. During World War II, we had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy.”
This is jaw-dropping in its ignorance and stupidity. Graham is arguing against freedom of speech—why else should an American citizen exercising his First Amendment rights, however offensive to some, be “held accountable” for the reactions of superstitious goatherds half a world away?—and equating an insult toward the religion that explicitly animated the 9/11 hijackers with the Bund marchers who supported Hitler.
But the prize for disappointment goes to Petraeus and NATO Ambassador Mark Sedwill, whose statement read in part: “In view of the events of recent days, we feel it is important . . . to reiterate our condemnation of any disrespect to the Holy Koran and the Muslim faith. We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Koran.
“We further hope the Afghan people understand that the actions of a small number of individuals, who have been extremely disrespectful to the Holy Koran, are not representative of any of the countries of the international community who are in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people.”
To this we’ve come: Bogged down in an increasingly ineffectual military operation in Afghanistan that should have ended years ago after we defeated the Taliban and routed al Qaeda, we are instead apologizing to the very people who are killing American soldiers, and treating their holy book better than we do any other.
Petraeus’ statement can perhaps be excused on the grounds that his job is as much diplomatic as martial—but that, of course, is precisely what’s wrong with his current mission. He shouldn’t be “helping the Afghan people.” That’s a task for after the Islamist threat to the West has been eliminated.
Byron York explains in the Washington Examiner that union money and gambling industry muscle allowed an extremely unpopular senator to survive a weak challenge.
Funded by millions of dollars from public-sector unions, Reid relentlessly attacked Angle from the moment she won the GOP nomination. Many of the earliest attacks went unanswered, forming impressions of Angle so negative that they outweighed the voters’ negative opinion of Reid.
And then there was Reid’s organizational strength. Both Reid and Angle held their election-night parties in Las Vegas casinos, Reid in the new Aria complex and Angle at the Venetian. That’s nothing out of the ordinary in Nevada, but the difference between them was that Reid was entirely at home, with the enormous financial power and organizing muscle of the gambling industry and its union allies in his corner, while Angle was relying on votes from people who live far from Las Vegas. Republicans across the country who were hoping for a miracle in this race discovered that raw power wins the day.
And bending the rules, too. On election day there were reports that casino giant Harrah’s had worked with the Reid campaign and the unions, particularly the Culinary Workers Union, to herd virtually all unionized employees to early voting stations to vote for Reid. According to a report in National Review Online, one Reid staffer told Harrah’s officials that he would do anything—for emphasis, he wrote it ANYTHING —to get those workers to the polls.
By mid-day Tuesday, the Nevada Republican Party had filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office. “Employees’ votes were being tracked and supervisors were instructed by top management to personally confront employees to find out why they had not voted,” the complaint said. “Further, the evidence shows that Harrah’s management has continually communicated to employees their concern with electing Harry Reid and not just to ensure that the employees voted for the candidates of their choice.” Such conduct, the complaint argued, violates Nevada law.
Things are really not looking good for Harry Reid in his home state.
This obituary appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on July 13, 2010:
CHARLOTTE MCCOURT Charlotte M. Tidwell McCourt, 84, of Pahrump, passed away July 8, 2010, after a long illness. She was born Dec. 25, 1925, in Wellington, Utah, and was a 40-year resident of Nevada. Charlotte held a zest for life and loved serving her family of five children; 20 grandchildren; and 65 great-grandchildren. She had been the wife of Patrick L. McCourt for 67 happy years. Active in her community, she assisted in many political figures’ campaign efforts. As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Charlotte served as a leader in the Relief Society for over 20 years. She and her beloved husband also served a full-time mission in the Cabanatuan Mission in the Phillipines. Charlotte is survived by her husband, Patrick; children, Pat and Nellie McCourt, Dan and Lanny Shea, Bill and Marsha Sortor, David and Sherry d’Hulst, and Tom and Ann McMullin; and many grandchildren. A memorial service was held Saturday, July 10, at the LDS Chapel, 921 E. Wilson, in Pahrump. We believe that Mom would say she was mortified to have taken a large role in the election of Harry Reid to U.S. Congress. Let the record show Charlotte was displeased with his work. Please, in lieu of flowers, vote for another more worthy candidate.
Dick Armey thinks the democrats will succeed in ramming through a health care bill somehow, by hook or by crook, and he tells us that Americans are wrong about Nancy Pelosi.
Former Republican House Majority Leader and current Tea Party leader Dick Armey said today that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “inept” but that Congress would likely still pass health care reform.
“What has probably surprised me more than anything else about Speaker Pelosi is her ineptness,” Armey said at luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. “I didn’t realize anyone could rise to the position of Speaker and be that inept.”
Despite his harsh criticism of the Speaker, Armey said that he personally liked Pelosi and he defended her from people who say she’s mean.
“She’s more inept than I thought she was, but she’s not as mean as people think she is,” Armey said.
But even with Pelosi’s “inept” leadership, Armey says Democrats will most likely pass health care reform legislation that has been debated for the last year and is expected to come to a vote this week.
“They’ll probably force this through,” he said. “But you can’t discount the number of people who can be moved by a ruthless and powerful political leader or group of political leaders.”
The Freedom Works chairman also had harsh word for the rest of Congress – the “self-serving” people he suggests are equally to blame for the passage of health care legislation.
“The average member Congress – House and Senate – is first and foremost only a self-serving inconvenience-minimizer who doesn’t have a lot of principle they stand on the first place,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to move a jellied spine, so they’ll probably get their votes.”
Asked if Democrats will get a bounce in poll numbers if they pass health care reform, Armey said Democrats “will get politically bounced” from office. Armey is confident that Harry Reid will lose his Senate seat in November and that Republicans will regain a majority in both houses of Congress either this election cycle or the next.
Back in 2005, when democrats held up George W. Bush’s judicial appointments in an unprecedented display of partisanship, the Republican majority in the Senate threatened to use the so-called “nuclear option,” i.e., to use reconciliation to overcome the filibuster to achieve judicial confirmations.
Diane Feinstein warns: “It begins with judicial nominations, next will be executive appointments, and then legislation.”
After the monster is finally dispatched in the dramatic climax of the conventional exemplar of Hollywood’s scary movie genre, when the nerves of the mass audience begin to relax, pulse rates slowdown, and theater-goers are expecting the final credits to arrive any moment on the screen, it has become traditional for directors to have a little fun by confounding expectations, setting aside all considerations of plausibility, and having the recently slain monster come right back to life and attack (and be dispatched) all over again.
One of the most impressive riffs on this by-now only too familiar trope is performed by Jon Voight, playing a murderous hunter in Anaconda (1997). Voight’s Paul Sarone comes a cropper, winding up in the coils of the giant anaconda. He is squeezed until his bones audibly break, and then ingested while the audience gets a view right down the alimentary passage of the giant reptile. We think we’ve seen the last of the heartless and relentless Sarone, but no, moments later, the snake regurgitates the villain, all covered with digestive juices, who—in one of trash cinema’s moments of genius, proceeds to wink at a truly horrified Jennifer Lopez.
President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week, senior administration officials and Congressional aides said Thursday.
Democratic officials said the president’s proposal was being written so that it could be attached to a budget bill as a way of averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate. The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority.
Congressional Democrats, however, have not yet seen the proposal or signed on.
I don’t agree one bit with Ezra Klein’s claim of the public option being popular in the country, but here you see what the democrat party left is telling itself as it winks (from its current moribund position) at a horrified American voting public.
What you’re seeing here are the weird politics of the public option at play. It’s popular in the country. It’s wildly popular among the base. It’s the subject of obsessive interest in the media. There is little downside to supporting it publicly, huge downside to opposing it, and no one is allowed to ignore the issue, or even take a few days to see where the votes are.
But it’s divisive on the Hill. Bringing it back energizes all the narratives that Democrats fear most: That they’re cutting secret deals without Republicans in the room, that they’re building an extremist bill, that health-care reform is a government takeover. And this is all happening without 60 votes in the Senate or even certainty of simple majorities in the Congress. Democrats have spent the last month in a state of agonized confusion, and just as matters were clarifying, now this battle threatens to start up again.
No one I’ve spoken to—even when they support the public option—thinks that its reemergence is good news for health-care reform. It won’t be present in the package that the White House will unveil Monday. Everyone seems to be hoping this bubble will be short-lived.
But it might not be. The media is talking about it, liberals are organizing around it, none of the major actors feels politically capable of playing executioner, and Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson don’t have the power to do the job on their own. As of now, the strategy only has 20 or so supporters, and it’ll need at least another 20 or 25 to really be viable. But if it gets there, White House and Senate leadership are going to have some hard calls to make.
So, there you are. The democrat party base sees no downside, in ramming through a health care bill opposed by 58% of the American public via an unprecedented ultra-partisan maneuver around the conventional rules and procedures of the United States Senate.
If the democrats have the hubris to do all this, well, we will see just how well they like being in the minority in a Republican-controlled Senate with no filibuster. The first thing we should do is to repeal Obamacare, and kill the monster of socialism permanently and for the last time.
All sorts of people, several I’d never have suspected of being quite so racially sensitive, gleefully piled onto Harry Reid yesterday taking advantage of the scandalous revelation in Game Change, a new book about the 2008 presidential election contest, that Reid had expressed the opinion that Obama was electable because he was “light-skinned” with “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
“Negro” was suddenly discovered to be a vulgar and nasty pejorative, off limits in respectable society. And GOP Chairman (and opportunistic African-American) Michael Steele promptly called for Reid’s resignation from his Senate leadership post on grounds of PC taboo violation.
[It’s] hard not to bathe in schadenfreude at the hammering [Harry Reid] is now getting over an interview he gave to John Heilemann and Mark Haperin during 2008 for their new book… But it is also hard not to be disgusted by the politically correct sanctimony of Republicans like the RNC’s Michael Steele who are acting as if they just caught the Nevada senator in a Klan costume.
“Negro” is the new n-word now? And is it not true that Obama’s light skin color and the half-white background that produced it was indeed an electoral asset? And didn’t the ability to talk like a brother as well as a Harvard grad sharpen the President’s ineffable hipness and post-racial appeal? Can the lexicon of the politically taboo have become such a fat book as this?
Instead of standing back with folded arms and watch the Democrats wallow in the squalor they created by forcing Reid to grovel for redemption from Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, the execrable Cong. Barbara Lee, and other race hustlers, Steele has demanded a leading role in this nasty spectacle. He says that the situation Reid created is similar to the one in 2002 when Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott was forced out of his leadership position for praising Strom Thurmond. Right. No doubt about it. But it was also the Republicans, cowering under the Democrats ludicrous charges of “racism,” who caved and forced Lott out. And while there is obviously a gleeful temptation to require Reid and the Democrats to endure the same standards now that took Lott down back then, Steele and the Republicans are taking the shabby way out again. If they don’t know that getting leverage by calling an opponent a racist (a term like “McCarthyite,” which no longer describes a pathology but is no more than a way of stigmatizing someone on the cheap) debases our political culture, who does? How many times have they been hit over the head with this charge? How can they not know that this is a game in which Republicans might score a run now and then but can never win. Nobody beats the Democrats at race-baiting!
By pointedly not doing to Reid what was done to Lott and making it into one of those “teachable moments” our President likes to talk about, Steele could have done the country a service. Instead, he supported a status quo in our politics in which the race card is always the first one dealt and always from the bottom of the deck.
Patterico favors proceeding with the un-PC hunt, pointing out how often Harry Reid has played this game himself.
You can’t resign from being a former president, so William Jefferson Clinton will have to be allowed to get away with revealing his true racial perspective to the late Senator Edward Kennedy, remarking upon the incongruity of the upstart Obama challenging Mrs. Clinton for the democrat party nomination by noting: “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”
Disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (who resigned after trying to sell Obama’s senate seat) chimed in, too, with the following comparison.
I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up.”
Surprise! Harry Reid’s amendment contains some tricky little provisions performing an end-run around the requirement of a two-thirds majority being needed to modify the Rules of the Senate.
Erik Erikson, at Red State, breaks the news that we don’t get to repeal Socialism.
Upon examination of Senator Harry Reid’s amendment to the health care legislation, Senators discovered section 3403. That section changes the rules of the United States Senate.
To change the rules of the United States Senate, there must be sixty-seven votes.
Section 3403 of Senator Harry Reid’s amendment requires that “it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.” The good news is that this only applies to one section of the Obamacare legislation. The bad news is that it applies to regulations imposed on doctors and patients by the Independent Medicare Advisory Boards a/k/a the Death Panels.
Frozen Hell: Senator Ugolino gnawing on the skull of Senator Ruggieri
The late Dorothy Parker reputedly answered her telephone with the phrase, “What fresh hell is this?”
In the Age of Obama, Americans in general can greet any news from Washington with the same alarmed interrogative.
Michael Goodwin celebrates Harry Reid’s purchase of his 60th vote (using our tax dollars) by repenting for his vote last year.
President Obama, for whom I voted because I believed he was the best choice available, is a profound disappointment. I now regard his campaign as a sly bait-and-switch operation, promising one thing and delivering another. Shame on me.
Equally surprising, he has become an insufferable bore. The grace notes and charm have vanished, with peevishness and petty spite his default emotions. His rhetorical gifts now serve his loathsome habit of fear-mongering.
“Time is running out,” he says, over and again. He said it on health care, on the stimulus, in Copenhagen, on Iran.
Instead of provoking thought and inspiring ideas, the man hailed for his Ivy League nuance insists we stop thinking and do what he says. Now.
His assertion we will go bankrupt unless Congress immediately adopts the health monstrosity marks a new low. ...
It is a myth the fight is over health care at all. It is a vulgar power dispute between liberals and extreme liberals, with health care a convenient portal for command-and-control of 17 percent of the economy.
It’s definitely not reform.
Notice how little Obama talks about sick people or medicine or suffering or any of the realities of illness and death. There is almost no mention of the moral dimension that supposedly animates the demand for universal coverage.
The public intuitively understands the con, which is why it prefers the flawed status quo. Voters tell pollsters by as much as 3-to-1 they think a federal takeover will cost them and the country more money and will produce more red tape instead of better care.
Yet, because power corrupts, and one-party rule corrupts absolutely, dissenters are considered heretics. Until the next election.
Meanwhile, Mother Nature delivered her verdict with yesterday’s blizzard in Washington. I am cheered by the thought that finally, hell has frozen over.