JOE KNOWS THE PROBLEM…. Vice President Joe Biden appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live” last night, and there was a noteworthy exchange that stood out.
KING: You’re the majority party.
BIDEN: We are the majority party.
KING: You’ve got all of the balls in your court.
BIDEN: Well — well, that’s true, Larry, except take a look at that. I was a senator for 36 years. I got there when I was 29 years old. So I’ve been through seven presidents — eight now. And I’ve never seen a time when the operating norm to get anything passed was a super majority of 60 votes. No matter what — no matter what the bill is, it’s filibustered. It’s required to get 60 votes.
That’s true. Indeed, I completely share Biden’s frustration. It seems overly simplistic, and everyone has a “if it weren’t for (fill in the blank), everything would be fine,” but the single biggest obstacle to a functioning and effective federal government right now is the Republicans’ unprecedented abuse of filibuster rules. If the Senate were allowed to vote on legislation by majority rule — the way the chamber was designed to operate, the way the chamber used to operate — this Congress would be among the most successful in generations.
That’s really all it takes — majority rule in the Senate. Its absence is the one unnecessary, undemocratic, and arguably unconstitutional hurdle that prevents the political process from working.
The question is what Biden and/or anyone else intends to do about it. Dems can and should shine a light on the truly outrageous obstructionism that has no precedent in American history. It’s a scandal and a disgrace, which severely undermines our political system, but most of the country has no idea that it’s happening.
But it’s not enough. If Dems go into the midterms saying, “Well, we would have governed, but Republicans wouldn’t let us,” voters won’t be impressed. The country expects results. If that means more use of reconciliation, or execution of the nuclear option, the avenues have to at least be explored. Complaints, even accurate ones, aren’t enough.