Scandals: Real and Imagined
It can be debated as to whether the filibuster came about as a political accident or was created to give minority parties a stronger say in opposing specific legislation they deeply opposed. Whatever the case, in the hands of Republicans, the filibuster has now become a destructive force being used with the single intent of bringing the Obama agenda (and with it normal governance) to a grinding halt.
Want a real Washington scandal — one worse than the (phony) Benghazi scandal and the (apparently real, but apparently limited) IRS scandals combined? Try the continuing, and possibly accelerating, obstruction of executive branch nominees by Senate Republicans.
Don’t think it’s a scandal? It’s pretty basic: Republicans, by abusing their Constitutional powers, are — deliberately, in several cases — preventing the government from carrying out duly passed laws.
…with virtually all nominees required to have 60 votes, one can accurately say that Republicans are filibustering every nomination…the worst are the “nullification” filibusters, in which Republicans simply refuse to approve any nominee at all for some positions — the National Labor Relations Board, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — because they don’t want those agencies to carry out their statutory obligations.In doing so, Republicans are not breaking the rules of the Senate. They are, however, breaking the Senate itself, and harming the government.
From the beginning, Republicans were clear in their intent to obstruct Obama and Democrats by every legislative means at their disposal. Mitch McConnell speaking two weeks before the 2010 midterm election:
“[W]e need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, ‘Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.’ […]
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president…. Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful.”
That’s as clear an admission of guilt as you’re likely to find. Writing the day after McConnell’s 2010 statement, Steve Benen peeked into the future with what turns out to be astonishing foresight.
The obvious takeaway here is that GOP leaders have literally no interest in actually solving problems or passing legislation. None. But the larger truth is that President Obama, who’s spoken a bit lately about the need for “humility,” needs to realize that Republican obstinacy and extremist tactics aren’t going to get better after the midterms; they’re going to get worse.
McConnell and his cohorts have made abundantly clear that Americans’ welfare and the nation’s future pale in comparison to the Republican quest for power. The president stands in the way. If he’s not prepared for what they intend to bring, the showdown isn’t going to go well.
Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!