Filibuster This!

So Chuck the Schmuck Schumer says that he is going to filibuster pro-Second Amendment Judge  Neil Gorsuch. I think that’s a fine idea for turning the Senate more Republican. But his filibuster needs a bit of tweaking.  In fact, Republicans should cooperate… sorta.

First, under the current rules, a filibuster does not shut down all Senate business. So long as the Majority and Minority leaders agree, business can continue on a two track plan. So our Majority Leader, that tower of Jello Mitch McConnell, should simply say “No.” Shut down the Senate while Schumer filibusters. All business stops. No two-tracking.  Nothing is more important than the Supreme Court.  If you want to filibuster, then by golly, do it the old fashioned way.  Moreover, instead of allowing this silent filibuster nonsense, make those democrats go to the floor and speak.  Make them do it the way their predecessors did.  When you make it easy to filibuster, you get more filibusters.

Then, while Democrats are making a mockery of oratory on the Senate floor, our President should identify all the 2018 Democratic senators, like Claire McCaskill in Missouri, and he should start holding big rallies in thin places like Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield, Missouri. Doing so would let McCaskill know that there are risks in opposing our president, particularly when her margin of victory the last time was the result of her opponent not being bright enough to keep his mouth shut.

She won’t be that lucky this time, and she’ll face formidable opposition from Republicans renewed in strength in Missouri. At this time, just in Missouri, Republicans control the House, Senate, and Executive branches. Only in cities like St. Louis and Kansas City with large numbers of urban voters do Democrats have any seats at all. And in the middle of the state, excluding the bastion of liberal thought that is the University of Missouri, support for Republican ideals is at an all time high. Missouri Republicans can field a great candidate for 2018, and McCaskill must already understand this. Holding rallies would, in the end, force her to cave.

Similarly, in New Mexico, Martin Heinrich won election in 2012 with only 51% of the vote. He currently has only a 46% approval rating. Given that Hillary won the state in 2016 with an 8% margin of victory Martin might feel pretty confident. But when Libertarian votes are thrown in – as they are apt to be in a Senate race – the state is pretty evenly split. A pro-Trump Republican has more than an even chance in New Mexico, and rallies in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, might generate enough pressure to force Heinrich to put his political survival ahead of his party loyalty.  That’s especially true where terrorism and immigration are getting as much play as they obviously are.

Bob Casey in Pennsylvania also might feel the heat, especially since Pennsylvania turned out for Trump in 2016. Trump doesn’t need to flip all the votes, just create enough pressure that the Democratic contingent calls “Uncle” and lets the up-or-down vote proceed. It would be a huge victory for our President and it would be the exact right way to handle a bunch of bullies in elected office.

As Gorsuch as demonstrated in his confirmation hearings he is a learned and fair justice, with strong beliefs in the Constitution. That seems to me to be exactly the right kind of guy to have on the Supreme Court.

Of course, the majority of Republicans want the Senate to kill the filibuster option altogether. That’s a bad idea. The process protects the minority, and even though the Democrats need more protection from themselves than they do from the political process (their instincts on where the country should be headed being clearly wrong), at some point Republicans could find themselves in the minority and that would be a bad time to whine about a process that they obliterated.

However, if after a month of the shutdown and the back-to-back rallies, cloture could not be obtained, then it would be necessary to nuke the rule and push Gorsuch through. If you don’t respect the limits of the protections offered by the filibuster, then you shouldn’t get to use the filibuster.

It’s pretty clear at this point that the country wants this judge. His popularity is through the roof, and his humble demeanor during the confirmation hearings is testament to the fact that he belongs on the high court.

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