Thursday, November 21, 2013


I really feel like it's worth breaking this blog's employment-induced hiatus to note...

the filibuster is dead

dead dead dead

it actually happened

after all these years

the filibuster is gone






...not completely dead.  But a big chunk of it is, and the life expectancy of the remainder has got to be pretty short at this point.

Today's vote only eliminates the filibuster with regards to non-Supreme Court judicial nominations, so executive appointments can still be vetoed by a Senate minority, as can, you know, actual legislation.  But: the biggest obstacle to removing the filibuster was the taboo against removing the filibuster.  As today's vote proved, the Senate, if it felt sufficiently motivated, could override that taboo any time it pleased.  And now the taboo is broken.  That means, almost certainly, one of the parties will, in the future, break it again, and with even less fuss. And again, and again, until every vestige of the whole dumb rule is thoroughly expunged from the legislative process.

And there are a lot of factors speeding that day along.  Democrats know that the increasingly polarized GOP probably won't hesitate to deploy the nuclear option if they recapture the Senate, so they have a real incentive to go ahead and fire first, as it were.  (Indeed, that calculation seems to be largely responsible for today's vote.)  And today's vote isn't likely to cow Republicans into cooperating on legislation or appointments--though cooperation would probably better preserve their influence for the time being--but might well induce even more intransigence.  Now that the Senate majority has discovered its own strength, the further breakdown of trust and cooperation can only lead inexorably towards true majority rule in the chamber.

This is just fantastic, guys.  Really.  Congratulations!  America is 30% more democratic than when you woke up this morning.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The lie on Times front page

The headline and first half of the blurb are true.  The last bit--"in part because the plans come with serious trade-offs"--simply isn't.  To the extent that the subsidies have been ignored, it's because the problems with the federal exchanges, and then Republican hysteria over the individual market, have attracted all the media attention and drowned out anyone who points out the law's many positive features.  Most signs suggest the media doesn't actually understand the law very well and tends to report on it by looking at whatever aspect is generating the most heat at any given moment.

It's a tiny thing but it's irritating because the Times is straight-out lying.  It's lying to give itself cover for a journalistic omission.  What really happened is that the paper, like the rest of the media, first focused on the (justifiable) bipartisan anger over the broken exchanges, and then focused on the (unjustifable) GOP anger over cancelled individual policies, and finally seems to be catching up with reality.  But it won't say that, so instead it's made up a completely fictional policy rationale for a political phenomenon.