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Senate Dems think Harry Reid should revisit filibuster reform if GOP continues to block Chuck Hagel

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filibuster reform

“How’s that ‘gentleman’s agreement’ going now that we’ve just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?”

Rachel Maddow: “Harry Reid decided he would… make a handshake deal with the Republican’s top senator, Mitch McConnell. He said he was ‘satisfied’ with the Republicans just ‘agreeing’ to be more reasonable… Remember? …  They would just agree as ‘gentlemen’ that the Republicans would ‘curtail the excesses’ of filibustering everything, and effectively ruling from the minority. … They said, you know, at a minimum this will at least improve the confirmation process for the administration’s nominees. How’s that working out now?How’s that ‘gentleman’s agreement’ going now that we’ve just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?

Apparently, some Senate Democrats are asking themselves and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the same question.

Again, under Merkley's plan for reform, the filibuster wouldn’t have ended and the Dems would still be able to use the option to filibuster when they are the minority party. It would have taken more effort and transparency to voice opposition, but the filibuster would have remained intact.

The Hill:

Some Senate Democrats think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) should revisit filibuster reform if Republicans continue to block Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s pick for secretary of Defense. [...]

[S]ome Democrats say Reid still has the option of changing the rules for the 113th Congress and should consider doing so if Republicans continue to hold up what in past years would have been considered routine business.

The Senate has never used a filibuster to reject a cabinet nominee-- and the GOP also threatened to filibuster Richard Cordray, the president's pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau-- so why shouldn't the "nuclear option" be considered? One "first" to counter another, tit for tat. As for Reid breaking his word to Mitch McConnell, it's pretty obvious that McConnell has already abused their handshake agreement.

George Kohl, senior director at Communications Workers of America, said Reid "reserved the right to reconsider the rules if they continue to obstruct. If they continue to go down that path I think he’ll have to reconsider options he would like not to exercise."

I'm not holding my breath.

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The 112th Congressional Fool awards or as it's better known, The Jerkies

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award goes to

Today’s guest post is by our pal and regular TPC contributor, David Garber.

IT'S AWARD SEASON

Okay. Tonight's the night. I have my copy of the 85th Academy Awards ballot in front of me and I'm about to make my predictions. Oh, wait, what's this? Stuck to the back of my ballot is another one. Why it's the 112th Congressional Fool awards or as it's better known, The Jerkies. How'd that get there? Better yet, let's see who's made the cut.

Best Bonehead Quote of the Year. The Nominees are:

1. Todd Akin for "Legitimate Rape"
2. Mitt Romney for "The 47 % Solution"
3. The GOP for "You Didn't Build that..." intentional misquote
4. Newt Gingrich for "We will have the first base on the moon."
5. Eric Ferhnstrom: "It's almost like an Etch-A-Sketch."

2012 Idiot of the Year. The Nominees are:

1. John Boehner for insisting his name is pronounced 'Baner'.
2. Mitch McConnell for still trying to make Obama a one term president.
3. Eric Cantor for trying to convince the GOP he's not after Boehner's SOTH position
4. Chief Justice Roberts for leading the SCOTUS into believeing corporations are people
5. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for signing the forced vaginal medical rape he calls an ultra sound test.

The Most Deserved Spanking of the Year Award". The Nominees are:

1. The GOP led Congress for it's obstructionism and anti-populist positions
2. The Democratic led Senate for cowardliness in settling on a handshake agreement on the flilibuster
3. The entire Congress for being scared poopless of the NRA
4. Rush Limbaugh for being Rush Limbaugh
5. Fox News for everything

Wow, that final category was pretty tough. They're all so deserving. How do I choose? Wait, what's this box I can check off over here:

Choice solutions for 2013: Best way to show our disgust with the current government:

1. Write/call your congress person and put them on notice that you're watching them.
2. Attend political gatherings and speak up.
3. Educate yourself about the facts, not just accept what you hear on the TV faux news.
4. Speak out with your vote. Don't take your eye off the ball and don't let them take your vote away.
5. Dump the Chump -- vote out all incumbents and replace them with new, responsive representation.

Boy, I better get my ballot filled out. This is really going to be a big award's night. I can't wait to see who wins.

Is the 113th Congress really nicknamed, "Django Unchainged?"

For the past 25 years, David Garber has been serving as the show runner and or writer on some of television’s biggest hits… Saved By The Bell, Power Rangers, 227, Bill Cosby Show and many other network series. His writing and producing have also netted David two very prestigious awards:the PRISM AWARD and the TV CRITICS AWARD – TV SPECIAL OF THE YEAR. Currently he’s authoring a short story series called “A Few Minutes With…”

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VIDEO: "How's that 'gentleman's agreement' going now that we've just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?"

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filibuster hagel

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Rachel Maddow:

"This has never happened before. To anyone. Ever."

"Chuck Hagel does have majority support in the Senate... A minority of that body, the Republicans decided they were going to block him anyway. They filibustered a cabinet nomination."

"This is a fresh hell in American politics."

"They 'might vote no'... but they wouldn't block a vote!... They wouldn't filibuster! ...Well today... only Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski... kept their word. All the others said they would not filibuster, that that would be wrong. And then they did it anyway."

"Sen. Graham... says he does not want his filibuster today to be thought of as a filibuster, even though that's what it is. ...He wants to use it as leverage to get more information out of the administration on the president's birth certificate. I'm sorry I mean Fast and Furious. I'm sorry I mean aliens in Area 51. I'm sorry I mean his theories about what happened in Benghazi. What does nominee Chuck Hagel know about Benghazi? Precisely nothing. He has nothing to do with hit, he HAD nothing to do with it."

"Why block his nomination?... Dunno. Why not? Wrecking stuff is fun maybe?"

"Harry Reid decided he would... make a handshake deal with the Republican's top senator, Mitch McConnell. He said he was 'satisfied' with the Republicans just 'agreeing' to be more reasonable... Remember? ...  They would just agree as 'gentlemen' that the Republicans would 'curtail the excesses' of filibustering everything, and effectively ruling from the minority. ... They said, you know, at a minimum this will at least improve the confirmation process for the administration's nominees. How's that working out now?... How's that 'gentleman's agreement' going now that we've just had a filibuster of a cabinet nominee for the first time in American history?"

Via Christine Pelosi, daughter of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a response to Nicole Sandler's tweet that the "filibuster rule can be changed any time":

tweet filibuster reform now sfpelosi

Now is good for me too, Christine (and nobody is saying get rid of the filibuster, as you may recall):

Remember, the filibuster wouldn’t have ended, and the Dems would still be able to use the option to filibuster when they are the minority party. The only difference is that it would have taken more effort and transparency to voice opposition. But because Democrats (and of course, Republicans) voted against the Merkley plan, the silent filibuster is still in place.

Christine Pelosi is an author, Campaign Boot Camp 2.0; Chair, #CADEMWOMEN; #SFGiants fan & volunteer; Yogamom

San Francisco · http://www.PelosiBootCamp.com

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Dick Durbin on filibuster deal: "It requires good will [and] good faith." You can stop laughing now.

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now that's funny laugh

As Rachel Maddow said about the toothless filibuster deal Harry Reid made with Mitch McConnell:

“The improvement … today is that now they’re not going to be able to get anything done faster.”

And Ed Schultz nailed it:

“How many elections, Harry do the Democrats have to win? How many mandates from the people have to be sent to Washington that we need to move forward on this? Why is the minority party running this country?”

Reid had promised publicly, for two years, that he would do away with the 60-vote requirement that Republicans use to obstruct just about every Democratic proposal. He said repeatedly that he regretted not fixing this recurring problem when he'd had the chance, and that Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley was right, he was wrong. However, Harry Reid never really wanted to change the filibuster. He is apparently more beholden to his own supporters' interests than he is to America's.

As I've said before, there will now be more endless obstruction of every bill, more obstruction of every Obama nominee, of everything and anything that Democrats would like to do to help this country move forward. More years of Republicans making a mockery of what is supposed to be a democracy and a functioning government.

Remember, the filibuster wouldn't have ended, and the Dems would still be able to use the option to filibuster when they are the minority party. The only difference is that it would have taken more effort and transparency to voice opposition. But because Democrats (and of course, Republicans) voted against the Merkley plan, the silent filibuster is still in place. For the record, I did call my Senator, Barbara Boxer, to register my disappointment. I love her to death, but when I disagree with her, I politely let her know.

In that call, I also let her know that I am aware and appreciative of the improvements.

But still, we have yet another frustrating Democratic cave compromise.

Which leads me to this HuffPo update:

Durbin said there was overwhelming support for the deal among Senate Democrats, though he conceded that he was uncertain whether it would make it easier to pass bills.

"It can," he said. "It requires good will [and] good faith."

Oy.

As DKos's Joan McCarter wrote after Mitch McConnell fundraised on killing filibuster reform:

"So much for comity and bipartisanship and a new era in the Senate... In other words, "keep me in the Senate, and I'll keep that Muslim Kenyan president from getting anything done." That's the way to hold off a teabagger primary challenge, I guess. And to assess how serious McConnell is about working with Harry Reid."

Here's more from Durbin. Get your Pepto ready:

Durbin also backed up Reid's claim that he had the 51 votes necessary to use the so-called nuclear, or constitutional, option, but he said the goal was always to avoid using extreme measures and instead reach a compromise that both the majority and minority would be comfortable with.

And by compromise he means Dems will continue to be blocked at every turn.

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Chambliss couldn't stand the gridlock, so he's retiring. Reid's "failibuster" retreat didn't help (VIDEO).

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roadblock brick wall

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Republican Senator Johnny Isakson on the "failibuster" deal:

"The rules change doesn't really change a lot."

Hey Harry Reid, thank you for perpetuating the gridlock by blowing off the Merkley-Udall filibuster reform proposal. Way to go! Now the GOP can keep on obstructing, and we can keep on pulling out hair out. What's left of it.

After putting himself on record for years claiming he'd support real filibuster reform because Republicans were "abusing the system," Reid caved.

As Rachel Maddow said in the video above:

"The improvement ... today is that now they're not going to be able to get anything done faster."

And now, as Paddy posted in her Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) Gives Up, Running Back To Georgia story, he has expressed his own frustration with all the congressional brick walls by getting the hell outta Dodge. He will not be seeking re-election in 2014:

(CNN) - "This is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress, especially on issues that are the foundation of our nation's economic health," Chambliss wrote in a statement announcing his retirement. He pointed to partisan haggling over raising the debt ceiling in 2011, and more recently to the bickering that transpired over a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. [...]

"I don't see the legislative gridlock and partisan posturing improving anytime soon," he wrote. "For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy."

Had Harry Reid shown some spine and gone beyond what Ed Schultz notes below, maybe some of that gridlock could have been eased:

"Harry Reid knows that 51 votes would be available for the assault weapons ban, but he knows damn well there won't be 60, and he doesn't want to hang this on the Democratic party at all, to all these rural senators. That's who he's protecting in this. But he is not standing up for the people at all."

He sure isn't.

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VIDEO: "Democrats cannot count on New York’s supposedly Democratic governor,” Andrew Cuomo

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:

Chris Hayes on what Democratic voters nationwide should remember about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2016. (11/18/2012)

File under food for thought.

Chris Hayes:

“So what do we know that we didn’t know last week? We now know that Democrats cannot count on New York’s supposedly Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo as an ally and every Democratic primary voter in the entire country should know that too. We already knew that in the run up to the election, Andrew Cuomo, whose aspirations for national office are well-known, did essentially nothing to aid the Democratic Party in its quest to take back the the State Senate from Republicans.

“Despite the fact that he’s the leader of the Democratic Party in the state, and wishes someday to be the Democratic nominee for President, Cuomo has refused to intervene with Felder, saying he won’t insert himself into the controversy. And watching all this unfold, one can’t help but suspect Andrew Cuomo actually does not want a Democratic majority in the State Senate because a Republican majority gives him more of an opportunity to burnish his bipartisan compromiser bona fides before launching his presidential campaign. And much, much, much more insidiously, we suspect he doesn’t want a Democratic majority because said majority stands ready to pass a whole raft of incredibly important, ground-breaking progressive legislation, including public financing for elections, marijuana decriminalization, and a minimum wage hike, among others. The governor says he favors all those policies, but in this case, he sure is not acting like it. We’re almost entirely sure that very soon Andrew Cuomo will be coming before many of the people watching this show, asking for your support in a Democratic primary race to be the next president. You should remember this remarkably cynical display when he does.”

Salon:

And if Republicans get their majority, with the tacit support of Cuomo, the governor will have once again shown that he is not the progressive figure he will likely try to sell himself as if he runs for president. His tenure so far has been marked by flashy liberal victories on issues like gay marriage, along with a quietly conservative economic agenda: A property tax cap, total neglect of mass transit, and (partial) support for fracking. Even on economic issues where Cuomo has more liberal priorities, he rarely pushes his Republican friends particularly hard. (A Republican-controlled state Senate will almost certainly block a minimum wage increase Cuomo ostensibly supports.) There’s a reason, in other words, that the National Review loves him.

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The Chrisanator has spoken

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Massachusetts special election results

Update from Chris (9:10 p.m.): I am pretty sure, based on current returns, that Brown will win. Expect the race to be called for him shortly.

(1,357 of 2168 precincts reporting - 62.6%)

I'm going to go read up on the Libertarian Party and get drunk. See you guys in the am. (PS- I hope I wake up with a hangover and completely wrong.)

ADDED- 9:22MSNBC just reported AP called it for Brown, Coakley has called and conceded to Brown.

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