About time

Cenk Uygur, How Progressives Can Move Obama to the Left, and, Mark Schmitt, Victory at What Cost?

If those of us that want progressive change are able to wrap our minds around how both Mark and Cenk are right, then we'll have gained something of insight and practical advice going forward. If not, then we'll continue to see the populists and pragmatists, the activists and the wonks, fight till we are done losing together (which shouldn't take more than a couple of cycles at most).

Tags: obama (all tags)



Re: About time

I think Cenk's point about the center of DC being to the right of the nation's center is a good one that isn't made nearly often enough. I like the way he put it. That said, while getting Obama and the White House to exert more progressive pressure on Congress matters, it's not the national polls that really matter. As Charles often points out, a vast majority of the Senate represents a vast minority of the population. (Even Dan Schorr is now bashing the filibuster.) We can move Obama to the left, but that doesn't mean we'll move Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln, or Lieberman that way, and budget reconciliation isn't an option on most bills.

Cenk raises great points and you're right, we ought to heed his advice. But I think he vastly overestimates the importance of that point - there's far more to the DC calculus than President Obama. I'm with Charles: the nature of the Senate needs some adjustments. I think the use of the filibuster should be limited to certain types of bills only and that cloture should take 55, rather than 60, votes. Than progressive pressure would have more room to maneuver.

But I'm just thinking out loud here. Back to White Christmas on TV now.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-12-24 11:57AM | 0 recs
I like Harkin's proposal

to bring the filibuster back to its original intent, which was to slow down debate (so senators couldn't pass a bill before most colleagues could travel back to Washington).

Harkin's idea was to have a 60-vote threshold at first, dropping to a 57-vote threshold after one week, followed by a 54-vote threshold one week later, and finally a 51-vote majority needed thereafter. It would give the minority time to generate more debate and media attention without imposing a supermajority requirement on all bills coming out of the Senate.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-24 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: I like Harkin's proposal

This makes sense to me. I still think another option would be to require the filibuster to actually be a filibuster...maybe I am wrong, but I don't think it was until fairly recently that battles for cloture worked the way they do now.

by JDF 2009-12-24 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: I like Harkin's proposal

Before 1975, cloture require 3/5 of those present and voting, rather than duly sworn in.

by bay of arizona 2009-12-26 04:15PM | 0 recs
We should not waste our time on Obama

I think Obama is a trickle down corporatist and his only goal is to make himself look good. I think we should ignore him. He is not going to lead us to the promised land.

We should totally focus all our energies on influencing the Senate and the house. We must make sure that Senate rules are changed so we would not need 60 votes.

HCR has proved beyond any doubt that Speaker Pelosi and majority leader Reid are extremely capable leaders.

by Joshuagen 2009-12-24 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: We should not waste our time on Obama

Capable, maybe, but not extremely capable. If Reid were extremely capable, he would have told Lieberman that no public option also means no committee chair.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-12-24 03:10PM | 0 recs
Reid at least tried Obama never did

by Joshuagen 2009-12-25 02:03AM | 0 recs
Re: About time

Remember the "nuclear option", called by those who threaten it the "constitutional option". Its a pretty easy parliamentary trick that cancels Senate Rule 22, the cloture requirement. It was used to reduce the cloture vote from 66 to 60. Once used the Senate does simple majority until the first day of the next congress when the rule can be rewritten. If you use it you risk having a bare majority of the other party exploiting that in another congress. I think, and Daniel Schorr thinks, its time to do it, but its a roll of the dice. We might get a progressive revolution or we might get a conservative congress that makes W's tragedy look like a cake walk.

by johnmorris 2009-12-25 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: About time

the precedent is already set, with the 66 to 60 move, so what you do is move it to 55.  It's got a good shot of happening.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-25 04:32PM | 0 recs


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