At the start of each session (or Congress, I forget which), the Senate votes on adopting its rules for the coming session. That is a majority rule vote. But the Senate rules have long (always?) included a provision that a 2/3 vote is required to change the rules mid-session. So it would take 67 votes to change it now, 51 votes to change it next January when the new Senate adopts its rules.
The so-called nuclear option is where the president of the Senate (Joe Biden) asks the Senate parliamentarian to rule on whether the filibuster is constitutional, the parliamentarian declares it is not, and the Senate then holds a vote to decide if he is right. Since the parliamentarian has said the filibuster is illegal, that vote cannot be filibustered. That would require a lot of "intellectual suppleness" on the part of the parliamentarian, plus 50 Senators (plus Biden) with the balls to vote for it.
Use of the nuclear option is unlikely, and could create even more chaos. There are lots more ways for Republicans to gum up the works. Practically everything requires "unanimous consent", and they would probably object to every jot and tittle of every proceeding, require every bill to be read out in full, force endless quorum calls, etc. etc.
I should add that not getting SOME kind of healthcare reform would be the worst of all. But I am pretty confident we will get something passed, and 2010 will be too soon to see the effectiveness of whatever it is. Maybe by 2012, once the program has spun up, we will see some bragging/backlash.
Definitely jobs. The average voter will not feel the recession is over until the job market improves. Not the second derivative of unemployment, but the actual numbers. People understand that Obama was handed a big steamin' pile of - uh - rubble by the previous administration, so they are inclined to give him some slack for now. But by election day 2010, Obama will own the economic numbers, however unfairly.
I strongly disagree that people are going to care deeply about the deficits until after the economy starts to improve. The only way they will start to get notice if if inflation takes off, and right now DEflation is a bigger danger to the economy.
The only other issue that could reach albatrossitude is Afghanistan. If we are still stravaging along there, even with more troops on station, progressives will be unhappy, but will still vote Democratic. If we have a major debacle there, like a large troop loss from some catastrophic security breach, the moderates and independents will start muttering about Vietnam. That will be bad. And the Repubs will suddenly recall that they were against the whole thing from the start. McCain will go on every news show to reflip his position yet again, to uncritical amplification by the bobbleheads.
It also is yet another reminder (as if we needed one) of the reason for my screen name.
Even though there is no way Medical Loss Ratios and public option triggers will ever compete with death panels for media attention, the subject of your diary gets to some of the real substance of policy proposals that will actually affect real people's real lives.
Why is our public so uninformed and misinformed about public policies that affect them profoundly? Why can we never seem to have an honest public discourse about the tough decisions we have to make as a nation? To a very large extent, it's the media.
Heh, more likely, we would both be disappointed by something, because we both saw things we liked that are real aspects of Clinton's personality. Lori would see some of Hillary's more aggressive moves as missed chances to bring Republicans into the fold, and I would see some of her attempts at consensus building as capitulation.
Same holds true on the Obama side, although I would not put it in the harsh terms you did. Many admired his unifying vision, while others saw him as an agent of change. They were not wrong - those are real aspects of the man. It is just that - as the saying goes - the difference between theory and practice in theory is different than the difference between theory and practice in practice.
I'm with you Steve. It is amazing how different people can see nearly opposite qualities in a candidate. Lori saw Hillary Clinton as a consensus maker. I backed Clinton for the opposite reason - I thought she was the major candidate least inclined to take any more of their crap.
Rachel commented on the news from Ezra Klein of the WaPo that Grassley is now openly fund raising based on his efforts to stop HC reform. Here is a link to Klein's piece, which links to a PDF of the letter:
So if the guy in the ad you posted above is right, Grassley may be shooting himself in the foot with this tack, right? I suspect Chuck is tossing the red meat to the hard right here, and hoping the mainstream R's in Iowa will come home to him in the general. Iowa Dems had better be coming up with a plan to make sure Grassley cannot wipe his fingerprints off the murder weapon come next fall, after bragging this fall about having done the deed.
At the risk of being called hypercritical, I have to say Jonathan, this post is nowhere near up to your usual standards.
[quote]... this smattering of polling culled from some quick googling is likely not unrepresentative of the general dislike ... [/quote]
This is the kind of statement I would expect from some lazy MSM "journalist" looking to meet a deadline with minimal work. You say you are sure there are some more numbers. You seem to imply that those numbers are more recent, or more directly applicable to the Senate race, but you don't really say. Then, rather than go find those "more numbers", you gave us two year old gubernatorial performance numbers, and the above quoted mega-equivocation.
... but your Senator is just running legislative and political circles around MtnSpirit's Senator. Look at what Grassley has been able to do, with Bauchus' (witting or unwitting) help:
1) Instead of the health subcommittee, chaired by Jay Rockefeller, with 11 Dems including liberals like John Kerry, Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden vs 8 Repubs, work on the bill was delegated to a special panel with nominal partisan balance, but which actually has a conservative tilt.
2) Took the negotiations in enough of a different direction to capture media attention. Even though 5 other committees in both houses have versions of the bill more to the Dems liking, the Finance committee bill is treated like the "real" version.
3) Possibly most important, he managed to drag out negotiations to prevent any action from the Finance Committee before the break.
In short, Max should probably just hand his gavel to Chuck and take a vacation. It is abundantly clear who is running the show on health care reform.
Still 5 mormon senators then. But I hope you agree with my basic point that mormonism does not remotely resemble a cult, unless you use a definition that would also qualify a number of other mainstream religions as cults.