Dan Farber: In the short run, limiting the filibuster will strengthen the hands of environmental regulators. What about the long run effects?
Peter Laarman: Bob Edgar had to contend with timidity among the good and the great especially during his years with the NCC, where denominational bigwigs (Bob’s bosses on the governing body) were privately horrified that their point person should actually seek to change oppressive systems rather than simply make mewling noises about them.
Joyce Appleby: Senators are pondering partial reform of the filibuster, which is now routinely used to block Senate action. Historian Joyce Appleby suggests that if they want to bring the Senate in line with the founders’ original intent they might follow the lead of the Tea Party and go back to the beginning. In its early decades the U.S. Senate operated on the simple majority principle: no supermajorities, no filibusters.
Joyce Appleby: More than 300 historians, political scientists, and law profs from colleges and universities throughout the country have signed a petition calling upon their Senators “to restore majority rule to the United States Senate by revising the rules that now require the concurrence of 60 members before legislation can be brought to the floor.”
Robert Reich: John Boehner, the Republican House leader who will become Speaker if Democrats lose control of the House in the upcoming midterms, recently offered his solution to the current economic crisis: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmer, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, lead a more moral life.”
Irene Monroe: The volleying back and forth on DADT can come to an end simply by Obama using his presidential pen and single-handedly signing an executive order. That is, of course, if he really wants to.
A study released by the Migration Policy Institute this summer estimated that out of the 2.1 million potential beneficiaries of DREAM Act legislation, 38 percent (825,000 people) would actually obtain permanent legal status due to the bill’s strict requirements.
Paul Hogarth: For years, House Democrats have joked that House Republicans are the “opposition” but the Senate is the “enemy” – and it’s easy to understand why.
Robert Reich: My free advice to the President: If you want to get healthcare enacted you must use reconciliation and quickly. Host your bipartisan gab fest at the White House on Thursday. Then tell the House and Senate to get to work on putting their bills together (or tell the House Dems to enact the Senate bill and then save their disagreements for reconciliation), and tell Harry Reid you want the Senate bill on a fast track of reconciliation.
Paul Hogarth: The filibuster means that progressive legislation requires 72 Senate Democrats – but you only need 54 Republicans to ram through the most awful right-wing agenda. Why? Because “Democrats vote with Republicans significantly more often than Republicans vote with Democrats, making it much easier for Republicans to pass the kind of legislation they want.
Joseph Palermo: The Democrats must pass a lot of legislation before the midterms or they’re going to be very sorry. Soon enough, given the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, we’re going to see campaigns where our choice for U.S. Senator will be between the “Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips” candidate and the “Pepsi/Pizza Hut/KFC/Frito Lay/Taco Bell” candidate. Former President George W. Bush is raking in the bucks speaking at the National Grocers’ Association. First he defiled the presidency by getting John Yoo to turn the Justice Department into a law factory for monarchical presidential powers, now he shares the stage as an inspirational speaker with Terry Bradshaw. Our elections are about to become a satirical skit that Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report did a long time ago.
Paul Hogarth: In the past year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats have made major strides passing progressive legislation – only to see it die or lull in the Senate, with the President barely lifting a finger. Voters are getting restless, Obama’s approval ratings are down and Democrats are in trouble because they haven’t gotten much done. Now with the Senate acting like a House of Lords, it’s time for House Democrats to get a little respect – and give Obama a piece of their mind.